Skip to main content

What I Realized at a Book Signing-Teens LOVE Characters Like Real People

I chose this photo just because the book I am working on now is set in a private school,
well that and a hospital, and the city of Boston. :) I love photos and just like to have them in my posts.
belmont
I have never thought about killing off my characters more than, this is what I need to tell this story. It has to happen. I don’t sit down and say, “hrm? How can I make people cry?” Or “I want to write a boo-hoo (as a fellow author friend of mine calls them) book.”
I went to a book signing and talk last night that a friend and fellow author was giving for her book-All The Bright Places- (Jennifer Niven). It was great, and I love supporting my friends, and great books. What was especially cool was sitting in the room with about 100 teenages. Watching their reactions to the book and how the book made them feel really hit home with me.
I thought.
Oh. My. God. “They are going to hate me, I kill of characters in every book.”
They didn’t hate Jennifer, but a lot of them were sad, and some destroyed because of something that happens in the book.
It’s funny how we as adults feel like we know and love these characters, but for teens, well, I am learning, there is a whole new level of “REAL” when it comes to our work.
I brought my first 10 pages to a Starbucks a few months ago. I bought all the teens in the room coffee and treats and asked for their opinions on my first chapter. It was amazing, and what was great was that they had totally different reactions than my critique group-who at the time was mostly middle aged and older women-who don’t want to think that their sons would ever do anything wrong. So I had to get teens to weigh in.
When I then told them what happens in the story, in a clumsy not-the-way-I-would-pitch-it way, they had STRONG reactions. One girl actually teared up-WHY???? why does that character have to die-why??? I could see it in her face. Broke my heart a little, and it excited me at the same time.
My goal is not to make teens, or anyone cry, but to tell a powerful story. I am trying, learning, revising, reworking, working on my craft daily so I can achieve this. Last night gave me a whole new perspective on just how personal these stories can be to these kids.
Also helps me be ready to answer these questions when I am up there giving a talk.
When I used to read my chick lit books at signings-I just hoped for some laughs-the books didn’t mean anything, they were just fluff and fun. Now I have shifted into wanting my work to mean something to kids even if that means I may have to pair up with Kleenex and sell tissues with each copy (just kidding of course).
If you haven’t read All The Bright Places, I highly recommend it. It’s powerful, beautiful and just great. Finch and Violet will take you ‘wandering’ into their lives, dreams, hopes, despair and love.
atbp_m

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"Who Would You Have Dinner With?"

In college and even some job applications that age old essay question always pops up: "Who would you have dinner with, dead or alive, if given the chance?"

In 10th grade, I answered Madonna because I thought she was strong, ambitious, smart and could do whatever she wanted. I admired her so much, and wanted to be like her in many ways-not a pop start-but I wanted to be like her spirit. I was living alone at the time (long story), and had really no one in my life to look up to and she was a role model to me.

In 12th grade we were asked the same question and again, I answered, Madonna for the same reasons. Although at this point I had moved in with my mother and my step-father, who hated me in high school. I was really close to my step-brother John, but still felt isolated and alone and Madonna symbolized someone who made it on her own, even though things were hard.

Throughout the years I have had many idols and of course that question has been asked of me in interviews and su…

How to Be Healthy and Fit-Don't Listen To....

People often ask me about health & fitness because I was so involved in that industry for so many years and I still post about great programs, blogs, books, trainers, online classes, programs etc. (like Denise Austin-who was the first person I trained with in the late 80s to get certified, Michelle Bridges, Mari Winsor, Tracey Anderson and workouts like Barre3, The Bar Method, Zumba, etc).

Here is what I'm going to say.
1) Just because someone has starved themselves and lost a ton of weight, that does NOT make them an expert.
2) Just because someone runs or goes to the gym, that also doesn't make them an expert.
3) People who give sweeping advice like, 'be gluten free, be vegan, only eat 1000 calories a day' etc.. are not qualified to tell you, or anyone else how to be healthy.
4) Also, SKINNY does NOT equal healthy, this is a dangerous concept.

These are important things to remember.
If you want to lose weight or get healthier, please go to your fitness club and spe…

Letter To My Sandwich

Dear Grilled Cheese Sandwich,

I just wanted to say thank you for being so yummy and keeping me full during these hard economic times. You are always faithfully there ready for lunch, or a snack, and sometimes breakfast. The way the cheese melts between your two slices of bread, make you irresistible to walk away from and impossible to ignore.

I love you completely with my whole heart. You were the only one who helped me through my college years when I was just new to the adult world. You helped me make the transition back into eating after quitting acting. You guided me through many a late night working in animation those first few years. Now you are back to help me survive through this hiatus.

I will always be grateful that you are there, cheap and easy. Your ability to keep me full for an entire week and yet not requiring that I empty the piggy-bank to do so means more than I can ever express. I believe that we will be seeing a lot of each other in the next few weeks until I start …