I write Young Adult (YA) fiction and take it personally when the category gets slammed. It especially irks me when the person doing the slamming is from within the industry (publishing—whether writer, agent, editor, publisher) because I think anyone within the industry should be happy for people to read.
When I decided to put Diary of a Misfit together, I earmarked the article on Amanda Cummings for inclusion to the collection. It initially caught my attention because the family believed repetitive bullying had been responsible for her decision to kill herself.
When I ran across the photo of the rose, I knew immediately it summed up everything I needed for the piece named, Daddy’s Death. The bud, wilted and drooping, yet the stalk still straight and the leaves green. When we lose a loved one, it is how we feel; as if our essence has been sapped, we’re wilted, our life is crumpling around the edges, and yet, there is still life, and it flows around us. It was so perfect to me, I almost left the title and name off the cover—there was no need for anything else.
The mind of a writer is a strange thing. Or maybe I should qualify that and say the mind of some writers …. Because I can’t speak on behalf of all writers, but I know others who deal with some of the same things I do. My mind is kind of like a co-op with my characters. My stories are character driven, and in order to do that, I need to know how my characters would think, act, talk, feel in any given situation. They live in my head and speak to me to tell me the story line. I feel their emotions … sometimes over and over, in order to capture them on the page.