If that sounds like a lament, it’s not. I absolutely LOVE being a writer. It just seems that, when I tell people I’ve written a book and signed a publishing contract, “Why?” immediately follows them congratulating me. So, I’m going to answer the question here, where it’s always available.
There are actually many reasons that I wrote this book, but the primary one is my daughters. My eldest is a pre-teen, and she’s a voracious reader. She has my ability to read more than one book at a time, which perpetually baffles my husband. Her mental capacity is ready for advanced books, but she’s not even a teenager yet. It seems like books these days go straight from Dr. Seuss to Stephen King. Okay, maybe not that bad, but it seems like it. Kids’ books seem to go from counting fish and identifying colors to reading about sex and drugs and profanity. I don’t want that for my daughters.
I wanted my daughters, and my nieces/nephews/Goddaughter, to have books they could read that would be advanced in language and theme, but not include all of the content that I find objectionable. We live in a society that seems to want to shove sex down our throats. (I dare you to watch network television for one hour and count the number of times that you hear the word “sex,” or see a commercial for a medication to deal with erectile dysfunction. It’s mind-boggling.) I don’t want the books that they’re reading to be the same way.
Please don’t get me wrong: there are many young-adult novels out there that I’ve read and very much enjoyed. But they all have something in them that I don’t agree with. The Hunger Games? Kids killing each other. Twilight? Bella’s obsessed with getting Edward to have sex with her. Divergent? Violence, mind-control, one scene of semi-sexual assault. And, yes, I’m going to pick on the favorite: Harry Potter. Profanity. Granted, it’s British profanity, but it’s still profanity. Not to mention a good dose of disregarding authority. (As a side note, my eldest has read all of the Harry Potter books, and is in the process of reading The Hunger Games. They’re going to be required reading for her in her next school year, so we’re letting her read them now.)
I actually thought about homeschooling my daughters, so that I would have total control over what they were reading/hearing/seeing, but we decided against that. We can’t protect them forever. We, my husband and I, just do our best to make sure that we have open channels of communication with them. If they have something that they don’t understand, or that bothers them, they can talk to us openly about it. We know that they’re going to get out into the real world sooner or later, so we figured it would be best to have them get subjected to what’s out there a little at a time instead of being hit over the head with it all at once when they turn eighteen.
But, in the meantime, I wanted to make sure there were stories out there that were engaging and involved that didn’t include all of the things that I dislike in Young Adult novels now. My books (they’re going to wind up being a trilogy, possibly a four-book series) are technically classified as Young Adult Fantasy novels, but they have more elements than just that. There is fantasy, of course, but there’s also some comedy (more in the second novel than the first), a little bit of romance (clean, innocent romance, not sex), and a good bit of mystery/intrigue/suspense.
I wanted to write a set of books that would encourage people of all ages to dream again. I want to re-open imaginations. And I wanted to do it with a “PG” rating at the worst. I think I’ve achieved that, and I’m hoping that there are many, many people out there who will agree with me. 😉