Tracing YA Inspiration by Sydney Salter

I started out writing picture books - because they're short and easy. (HAHAHAHAHAHA)

When I wanted to tell a more involved story, I remembered how much I had loved the Box Car Children series, so I reread the first book, and while I still enjoyed those independent kids, the story was a bit more simple than the ones I sought to tell.

That's when I returned to YA; I hadn't read one since Judy Blume's Forever, which had been so scandalous in the 70s. I chose Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging solely for its provocative title. YA books used to be heavy on messaging, like the after school specials of my preteen days, so I really loved the new character-driven contemporary YA. I started devouring books by Carolyn Mackler, Sarah Dessen, and local authors I met at conferences like Carol Lynch Williams.

I loved the authenticity of modern YA writing.

And that's why I returned to my true inspiration for my YA writing: teenage me. I reread my old high school diaries. Insecure, boy-obsessed teen me gave me the courage to write the first of my novels that would be published: My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters. 


  1. Well put. Even at 70, I love reading YA and you're right, it does help to reconnect with that teen me, who was incredibly awkward and uncomfortable. I've often imagined what my teen years would have been had they happened after computers became common-I see an unkempt wild eyed hairy beast emerging from a darkened room screaming "Ma, I need another twenty terrabytes of cloud storage and a new mouse."

  2. Louise Rennison was a true treasure. I think I read the first two books in the series in print, but then I discovered the audios that Louise narrated herself and they certainly were something funny to listen to while logging some long hours on the road. My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters sounds like a fun book, Sydney. I have to check it out.


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