Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Author Guest Post: Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me When I Was a Teenager by Lucy Kelly

Though I've experimented with other genres, I constantly find myself returning to writing YA.  First, I just love the genre.  Don't underestimate teenagers.  They are constantly changing, and this generation's teenager deals with issues that some of the previous generations haven't had to face.  For instance, I was a senior in high school when AOL Instant Messenger picked up some steam.  There was no twitter, facebook, or texting.  You wanted to call someone?  You had to call his/her house and have an awkward conversation with parents first.  It was a real game of "How badly do I need to talk to this person?" every time I picked up the phone in 9th grade.  I also write YA fiction because I didn't want to see teenagers dismissed as shallow and superficial.  After six years teaching in high school classrooms, I can say with certainty that they're not, and we do teenagers an injustice when we stereotype them.

More importantly, I write YA because I wish there were more books that covered topics outside of the supernatural and fantasy realms.  I wish I had known and recognized how important family is at a younger age.  You'll notice the role of siblings consistently factors into my writing.  I truly believe there is something uniquely special about siblings.  I would be lying if I didn't say that my parents and older brother played a huge role in shaping who I am.  As a teenager, I was under the distinct impression that I had to please everyone in order to be well liked and successful in school.  I was so, so wrong.  Sometimes in aiming to please other people, I sacrificed what was right for me.  At the end of the day, the person whose opinion matters most is the person who stares back at you in the mirror.  If you are happy with who you are, then it truly doesn't matter what lunch table you sit at or if you can get the cute boy/girl in Physics to notice you (for the record, I totally failed at getting the cute boy in Physics to ask me out, and to be completely honest, I don't even remember his name anymore).  Finally, I really think everyone can use the reminder that things get better.  Life is not easy and there's no manual for it.  In particular, teenagers often get pulled in fifty different directions.  It's okay to make mistakes or get knocked down.  We all do.  Even someone with a seemingly perfect life has gotten knocked on his/her butt at some point.  It's inevitable.  The characters in my books get knocked down, but they get back up.  Get back up.  Allowing yourself to be happy is the greatest gift you can give yourself, but sometimes it's also the hardest gift to give.  I wish you all happiness, and I hope you enjoy the book.


Book Description:
Is there a way to describe the ties that bind us together? What happens when one of those ties is unexpectedly severed? Can everything else remain the same? Will the other ties hold strong?

Two years after her little brother's death, sixteen year old Emerson Caulfield returns to a home that she spent the last two years missing. In theory, everything should be the same. Her best friend, Matt, still lives next door. Her house is in the exact same condition as they left it. The scenery and hallways haven't changed, yet for Emerson, everything is completely different. The place may be the same, but Emerson is most certainly not. She returns home hurt, angry, and miles away from the girl she once was.

The 60,000 word novel alternates between the perspectives of Emerson, who is struggling to keep breathing on a daily basis, and Matt, who wants to have his old best friend back so badly that he is willing to overlook the fact that she has completely changed. Though their friendship and relationship is a major part of the story, it takes backseat to the unique bonds between siblings, what happens when your worst enemy is in fact yourself, and the hardships that come with growing up and changing.

                                                  About the Author

                                                 Lucy A. Kelly

I'm not really going to write a biography. Though I am supportive of the high schools and colleges I have attended, it's probably not actually the most interesting stuff about me. I'm going to do a list of five really random things instead for now.

1) I like making lists. It's weird, and I never actually scratch things off of the list.
2) I sing and dance in the car like a maniac.
3) For the first six years of my life, I truly believed a shark lived under my bed. I watched Jaws at too young of an age.
4) Without a doubt, I am a night person. I am enormously grumpy when first woken up in the morning.
5) When I was younger, I read almost every Nancy Drew book, both new and old. I had a notebook, and I would take notes to see if I could figure out who the "bad guy" was before Nancy did. We probably tied.

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  1. "I also write YA fiction because I didn't want to see teenagers dismissed as shallow and superficial. After six years teaching in high school classrooms, I can say with certainty that they're not, and we do teenagers an injustice when we stereotype them." Hallelujah! I love when YA authors recognize this and write accordingly! Nothing annoys me more than when an author "dumbs down" the teenagers voice.

    CeCe @ Steaming Mug of Books 

  2. What a wonderful post! I just finished reading a YA book where the protagonist is not true to herself and she ends up making a real mess of things High school and the teenage years are tough and you are right the only thing that should matter is how you feel about yourself and being true to yourself. This sounds like a terrific book. Thanks for sharing. Ha ha! Loved that tidbit about believing JAWs lived under your bed. I also know exactly what you mean about those awkward conversations on the phone when trying to reach a friend.


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