Most of my adult life my bookish leanings were for historical romance, bonnet novels (Amish), or non-fiction how-to-be-the-best-at being a mom, being a wife, cooking, etc…
You get the picture.
So how in the world did I start writing speculative fiction, namely, YA (young adult) dystopian?
Let’s back up a little here. In sixth grade, I promised my teacher that I’d write a book someday. I knew I had some natural, raw talent and I wasn’t planning on wasting it. Fast forward ___ years, marriage and four kids later, and I still hadn’t lost that dream.
I knew I wanted to write a book. I just needed to decide what type of book. I had always been interested in writing nonfiction and was tempted. But I also knew that my healing wasn’t complete, and my knowledge wasn’t yet whole. My story still unfinished. I needed to wait until that story was completed before I could write it. I knew it was not yet time. Maybe someday I’ll still write that story. But today is not that day.
I wanted to make an impact with my writing. Entertain, but more than that. I wanted to help heal the world. This is something we writers can do with our words. I knew somehow if I could weave healing and hope into my story that maybe it would impact others for good.
Maybe I had something to offer the world. Maybe God had given me talents for a reason and didn’t want me smothering them anymore.
I saw the movie The Hunger Games. Instantly I knew. I could do that. I could write a dystopia. Something rang true about it all for me. Something about that genre called my name. It was the perfect fit. I could weave in important themes and messages, and do it under the guise of fiction. It was perfect. I immediately gobbled up The Hunger Games books after viewing the first movie on Redbox. Now I was hooked, and I was excited because the next movie was coming out in theaters in a couple of short months.
Next, I went through the Divergent series and became just as equally obsessed. Dystopia was powerful. It told a story which held morals and hidden messages. This was exciting for me. I knew this was the writing path I needed to pursue.
I knew it was in the realm of possibilities for me to achieve, and one day I just sat down…and did. A couple of months later I had my first draft written at 72k words. It was a mess. But a beautiful mess. I had done it. And I kind of thought it was pretty good.
I self-taught myself over the course of the next couple of years things I needed to know about editing and the publishing world.
And I edited. And edited. And edited some more. I was learning, growing, and expanding my mind and my talents. It was really happening. And it felt so right. I knew I was where God wanted me.
Naturally, I wrote YA dystopia because let’s face it, most dystopias are written for YA, not adults (although that certainly does exist). I knew I wanted a coming-of-age story, and I knew I wanted to write about a female teen. Why? Because I was one, and I knew how they think and act.
It was easy. I didn’t need to write about something I didn’t know about yet, I was just starting off, and wanted to make it simple for myself. I knew I could write about a teen girl. Didn’t know if I could write about a 45-year-old man in the Navy. Ya know? That old saying, “write what you know,” isn’t such a bad saying.
Not that I don’t think people can’t jump out of their comfort zones and write beyond themselves because they can and they should. But I was just starting off, so I digress.
Speaking to teens hearts is something I hope to accomplish by writing YA dystopia. Somehow make a positive impact in their lives. Even if just a small one. Any amount of positive input I can add to someone’s journey is well worth it.
I think I will always write YA. It’s part of me. And let’s face it. I’m just not good at adultish stuff. I am young at heart, and no matter how many wrinkles or smile-lines I get on my face, I think I always will be. Writing for teens is in my blood. I may not always write dystopias, but I’m pretty sure I’ll always write YA.