Yes, Theo is in the process of posting my new website, and yes, we know that not all features are working yet. Thank you very much to everyone who has written to let us know pages that seem to be empty and the broken links. Consider the current version very much Beta. It will be polished and shiny soon.
Katarina, an 8th grader from NJ, mailed the following questions. I’m on deadline again, so the answers will be pithy.
When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer specifically for young adults?
I haven’t decided that yet. I just try to write good stories.
How do you deal with frustration/writer’s block?
Are there any specific classes that I should take in high school/college?
Keyboarding. I suggest you don’t major in creative writing, either, but take some of the classes if the professor has a good reputation with the other students.
Is this a job that includes more failure or success?
Ha! Buckets of failure, tasty tablespoons of success.
How long does it usually take to get “started,” i.e. find a reputable publisher and editor
How long, on average, does it take for you to write a book including the editing/publishing process?
Two to three years from the beginning of a project until it lands in a bookstore.
What precautions can I take so I don’t fall for publishing scams?
Never pay cash to anyone who claims to be an agent. Learn the difference between vanity presses and trade presses. Your librarian will help you find books that explain the difference.
Should I have a good knowledge of other styles/genres of writing?
Write what is in your heart.
How can I learn to deal with bad reviews and critics?
Smashing your hand in a car door once a week helps. If you don’t have a car, use a hammer. Bad reviews hurt.
When I am just starting out, is the compensation good enough, or is it hard to make a living?
Learn how to waitress so you’ll always be able to eat. Be nice to your parents in case you need to live in their basement until your big break comes.
And a very nice note from Danica, who writes:
I’ve got to let you know how much I truly loved “Speak.” I first read
the novel as part of an Adolescent Literature class, and I enjoyed it
so much that I thought I needed to find a way to work with the novel
on a deeper level. I’ve decided to use it as part of my senior thesis
on reader-response and adolescent literature.
You’ve managed to take a subject like rape and address it in a way
that’s approachable for adolescent readers– the treatment of the
subject is not too intense or explicit, but still clearly demonstrates
the emotional pain of rape. It seems that rape is too often treated
lightly (somehow– something I will never quite understand), and your
book is a wonderful approach to the benefits of speaking out about
Thank you, I look forward to reading more from you!
Thank you very much, Danica. That is exactly the inspiration I needed to go back to my revision!