Part Four: Why I Write Young Adult
I’ve always had a passion for writing and reading, but until about 2007, I’d pick up a book, read, and if I liked it, I’d finish it. If I didn’t, I put it down and moved on. I read everything from Timeline by Michael Crichton to Harry Potter to the Bridget Jones books to Shakespeare without any thought to genre. I wrote what I wanted, without any idea of what genre or type of story I was crafting. The genre was whatever my imagination said to write, and I read whatever spoke to my creative mind.
I didn’t find my niche as an author or a reader until the fall of 2007. I remember picking up a copy of Cinda Williams Chima’s The Warrior Heir, and falling in love withChima as an author. I remember thinking when I finished it that I wanted to write a story like it, a story that could capture the attention of the young, as well as the young at heart. In addition, I wanted my stories to appeal to the most important people in my life—my nephews—and it only strengthened what that book helped me to understand about myself. I wanted to write young adult fiction.
Fast forward six months to my walks through the Flagstaff’s woods, when Fire Wolf was taking root for the first time. Thoughts of my nephews were heavy on my mind as I worked through the details of the world. One of my nephews absolutely loved Avatar: The Last Airbender, so I knew I wanted to incorporate magic, especially elemental magic, in some way, as well as action and adventure that would keep him turning the page. As I said in the first Feeding the Wolf post, I’ve toned down or scrapped a lot of the original ideas because so many indie novels focused on elemental magic in resent years, but always, always, I’ve kept in mind the type of story that would make my nephews want to read.