Opening Doors (Holly Schindler)
After I got my master's, I went all-in on writing. This was (ahem) the summer of '01. I had no student loans (a miracle, I know), but decided to teach music and tutor kids in English and reading (I'd already taught collegiate English courses) to pay my bills. It was the perfect setup: I'd write all day, until the kids got out of school. Then I'd teach music lessons until dinnertime.
I was only interested in drafting work for adults at that point.
Well. Until I got to know my students.
The students' ages ran the gamut. Some were so small, they could sit on the piano bench without their feet touching the floor. Others (mostly the guitar students and those who came for English tutoring) were old enough, at times, to drive themselves.
And I couldn't believe how familiar they were.
The world was completely different--technologically speaking--in the early 2000s than it'd been in the 80s and 90s, when I was growing up. I guess I was expecting these students to be worldier themselves. But they could have been kids I'd gone to school with.
That, of course, was the spark of inspiration. I was suddenly digging into the journals and notebooks I kept in high school. I was listening to music that was important to me during those years. I was going back through yearbooks. Reconnecting with teen me.
And then I was writing YA--my very first published novel, A Blue So Dark, was a YA.
The thing is, I love kids of that age. I love their curiosity and their enthusiasm. I love their passion and their belief that they can make the world a more beautiful place.I love spending time with even fictional people that age.
Trust me--being around them tends to open doors.
Holly Schindler's debut YA, A Blue So Dark, recently re-released. To celebrate, the ebook is $.99: