Today's topic was chosen by Sarah who asked:
How did you discover your particular voice as a writer?
As many of you know, I write young adult fiction. When people ask me why, my answer is simple. My growing up was pretty rough. When I was unable to get away physically I could always count on a book to do the job for me mentally. I don't think I'd be who I am today if it weren't for the likes of Dean Koontz. The trouble was, while I enjoyed adult thrillers, I found that the YA section of the library/book stores held little more than R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, and The Babysitters Club.
Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed those books. But I often wished for the type of selection that is available today. So I set out to write the kind of book I would have loved. (If that makes sense.)
My first hurdle, when I began my first novel at age 26 (I'll be *cough* 30 *cough* next month), was how to tap into my inner teenager. How would I find the voice that knew nothing about house payments, taxes, and toddlers?
The solution was easier than I'd imagined. My first job, at age 16, was working the drive-thru at the local Arby's restaurant. Now, whenever I need to tap into my inner teenager, all I need to do is head down to the local Arby's and munch on a roast beef. Whenever Blister In The Sun by the Violent Femmes comes on the radio, the teenager is there. Whenever I stroll down the wine aisle in the local supermarket and spot a bottle of Boone's Strawberry Fields, she smiles. And whenever I need to draw upon that feeling of hopeless teenage love/obsession, all I need to do is pop in Untamed Hearts. (I don't care how old Edward Cullen is, Christian Slater was sneaking into girls' bedrooms and watching them sleep waaaaaaaay before Robert P.) *Swoon*.
So there's the secret to finding and maintaining my YA voice. How do you find yours? Check out the hilarious Shaun's answer from yesterday (I can't wait to buy his book!!!) and Rebecca's (who never fails to make me laugh, either) answer tomorrow!