Thank you to Beth Fantaskey author of the Jessica Series for stopping by Book Lover Stop to share some insight to her books:
Every now and then, someone who notices that I’m very obviously over forty will venture to ask, “How do you write for teenagers? How do you understand them?” And sometimes they follow up with the kicker, “How do you even remember what it was like to be young?”
I always think those questions are really funny – and not just because they remind me of how old I am. It’s like we “adults” consider people under twenty to be a different species, beyond comprehension until they reach some magic age. And that last question implies that those of us who’ve survived our teen years were all vastly different “back then” – so different that there’s no way we could even recall what we did or how we felt during high school.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think it’s difficult to understand teenagers at all. Contrary to what those comments suggest, we’re all human, right? We all feel things like pain, joy, love and fear. If anything, teenagers experience those emotions more powerfully than older people, because they don’t have the filter of experience, which tells us oldsters that even the most wrenching heartbreak, for example, will be dulled by time.
I guess that’s why I wouldn’t even say that I write “for” teenagers. I write about teenagers, but for anybody who wants to read my novels. And when I write, I don’t try to imagine how a younger person would react in any given situation. I just consider how anybody would feel, whether I’m writing about two characters falling in love, breaking up, facing some trauma or enjoying some triumph. In fact, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as “YA writers” until my first book was published, and I learned that I was one!
So, yeah, high school is a distant memory for me, and maybe I’m not up on the latest technology, etc., anymore. But I’m pretty sure the kids walking the halls of my old school (go Warriors!) are still grappling with the same emotional stuff I did… Well, let’s not get into exactly how many years before. And that, to me, is where we all find common ground – and the heart of most stories that ring true.
Thank you Beth Fantaskey for stopping by, we enjoyed taking time out of your schedule to talk with you about writing Young Adult books!