Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Guest Blogger - Angela Carlie
Hello Fiction Flurry Peeps.
Writing YA fiction over the last couple of years has come natural to me, probably because I sometimes think I’m still a teenager. It may also have to do with the fact that I totally love the genre and try to gobble up all the YA books I can.
What makes published YA authors so in-tune with teens of this era? I don’t know. What I do know is, as writers for this genre, we need to appreciate our audience in order to speak on their level and without talking down.
We also need to be compassionate and hold our hearts and minds open to the struggles our audience faces. It’s a tough world out there. Many of the most important decisions we make in life happen in our teenage years. Some don’t survive. Lives are altered with a single taste of alcohol, one drag off a joint, one hit, one roll in the sack, one fight, one failed test. That’s all it takes sometimes, just one.
In my journey to present my stories for teens to the world, I’ve learned that living young today is drastically different than it was eighteen…eh…a few years ago. To be aware and make others aware of the issues teens live with, I’ve decided to interview them to find out what it is that they worry about, that haunts them, that makes them happy, and what makes them sad. I’ve tried to keep each interview authentic and real, meaning I’m not going to alter their words, grammar, or punctuation.
Most importantly, the interviews will be posted on my blog to be a resource for teens, too—a place for them to read about others their age struggling with the same situations or worse.
Some interviews are done via email and others, like this one, via chat. The interviewees are informed that they do not have to answer any questions they don’t feel comfortable answering and may end the interview at any time. They also know that these interviews will be posted on the blog. If the interviewee seems upset in anyway, the interview ends and we discuss getting help for him/her.
Today, we meet a 13 (almost 14) year old girl. I call her Denim because she is strong.
Me: What grade are you in?
DENIM: 8th grade and I love it.
Me: What do you like so far about the 8th grade?
DENIM: Seeing friends and I like some classes.
Me: What’s your favorite classes?
Me: What’s that?
DENIM: Where you take pictures of kids and interview kids for the school newspaper.
Me: Awesome! Do you write articles, too?
DENIM: yes I write articles! (: I love taking pictures most though
Me: That’s great to hear. Do you think you might go into photography when you are older?
DENIM: hmm. Im really not sure it’s a possibility but im not sure what im going to do when I get older yet.
Me: Fair enough. Do you have any major accomplishments that you are proud of and you’d like to chat about?
DENIM: like what kind?
Me: Anything. Have you had to overcome any obstacles in school or your life? Or maybe you won a contest or perhaps had to make a big decision. Maybe just passing math was an accomplishment! Haha
DENIM: i was voted most creative writer in the class. And ive been on the honor roll.
Me: I LOVE both those accomplishments! How were you judged about the writing? Did you write a story?
DENIM: yeah. We got judged by ever essay/story we wrote in 7th grade.
Me: Nice. Congratulations.
DENIM: thank you
Me: Do you participate in any extra-curricular activities? Sports, drama, music, dance or anything else?
DENIM: Choir in 6th grade. & ive done soccer for 4 years.
Me: Do you plan on continuing with any of those?
DENIM: yeah I love soccer. But I was late for sign ups this year
Me: Are you participating in anything this year?
DENIM: I don’t know yet
Me: What kind of issues are you most worried about right now? In school or home.
DENIM: At school not really anything. At home is pretty goot too. But im hoping to get a picture of my brother and sister.
Me: So, you don’t worry about anything?
DENIM: well I worry im not going to get a visit with my biological mom.
Me: What do you mean about by a picture of your brother and sister?
Me: That’s a big worry. Do you get to visit her often?
DENIM: they don’t live with me. they live with her
DENIM: And no. I don’t
Me: I’m sorry. How long have you been apart from them?
DENIM: all my life I was adopted. But my biological mom lives in (edited out name of town—same town as Denim). She got to keep her 2 children the rest are adopted
Me: How many brothers and sisters do you have? How old were you when you were adopted?
DENIM: biologically? And (edited out age—when she was a baby)
DENIM: well my brothers and sister who got adopted to other families a had 4.
And I have on brother now
Me: So you have six total biological siblings and one sibling from your adopted family?
Me: May I ask why your mother had to give you up for adoption?
DENIM: yes. And drug problems
Me: Have you known your mother your entire life or did she just recently come back into your life?
DENIM: I haven’t really known her that much but ive seen her around town and talked to her. She sends me letters.
Me: Is she off drugs now?
DENIM: she was clean for about a year but I recently heard she is back on drugs.
Me: I’m sorry. I’m glad you live in a safe environment now, away from drug use.
DENIM: Yeah. Thank you.
Me: Do you worry about the two siblings that still live with her? That must be hard.
DENIM: Yes. I heard that they have drug users living with them like a couple people.
Me: What do your adoptive parents think about you keeping in contact with her?
DENIM: They don’t want me to that much until she is clean. And off drugs
Me: I can understand. Do you know anyone else who has used drugs?
DENIM: yeah I know people that smoke weed
Me: What do you plan on doing if any of your friends ask you to try it?
DENIM: JUST SAY NO! (: hah aim not getting pulled into that stuff.
Me: That’s GREAT!
Me: Do you want to talk to about your cousin?
DENIM: what one
Me: The one with cancer.
Me: Were you very close to him?
DENIM: not super close but pretty close.
Me: Was he sick for very long?
DENIM: yeah he was fighting cancer for 3 years
DENIM: it was all over
Me: I bet that was tough. How old was he?
DENIM: yeah. And in his late 30s. I think 38. Im not sure
Me: I’m sorry. How are you doing with it? Are you okay?
DENIM: yeah im okay. I don’t know why but I never seam to be sad and cry when someone dies. He wasn’t happy with the cancer.
Me: That’s a very mature response. Have you know many people who have died?
DENIM: Not really by Grandma did a few years ago.
Me: Do you have someone you can talk with about it if you need to?
(skipping through several questions/comments)
Me: So now, some important questions…lol
Me: Do you read many books?
DENIM: not that much there are a few books I love.
Me: Which ones?
DENIM: Small Steps. The Outsider
Me: Nice. What makes a good book?
DENIM: im reading now…Charlie St. Cloud
Hmm…a good topic
Me: I’m glad to hear you’re reading. What kind of topics do you like to read about?
DENIM: mystery books
Me: Cool beans
DENIM: haha yeah!
Me: What’s your favorite movie? Favorite food?
DENIM: Charlie St. Cloud. Haha I recently watched it. When it came out. I love Italian food!
Me: I haven’t seen it yet. I’ll have to check it out. I love pasta!
Me: If you could be an object or animal, what would it be and why?
DENIM: probably a dolphin! Hah they r so funny and I love the water
Me: Dolphins are very smart and peaceful creatures, too.
Thank you, Denim. You are a very strong girl and I wish you all the best in life.
Thank you, too, Fiction Flurry for allowing me to be a guest blogger. You Rock!
For all you Fiction Flurry peeps out there, you may check out more interviews as they are posted on my blog: http://www.angelacarlie.blogspot.com/
Thanks, Angela for this informative post on the YA perspective. Tell us, Flurriers, what do you want to know about YA fiction?