I never intended to write for teens. Quite to the contrary, when I typed The End on the last page of my first novel, I was convinced I’d written a sci-fi adventure for adults. Then I sent my manuscript off to agents and editors. The feedback I received was pretty consistent. I needed to lower the age of my protagonist, to 14, or maybe 16. While I thought I’d been writing for adults, I’d been writing for teens.
This really shouldn’t have surprised me. After all, my favorite books were still found on the Young Adult shelves at the library, and my Netflix queue was filled with what it termed family-friendly fare.
At first, I was a little embarrassed to be writing for teens. I tried to make my writing more mature, but no matter how hard I tried, I was a G-rated girl. PG-13 at the most. While I didn’t steer away from difficult topics, I couldn’t make myself write about them in a graphic way. I didn’t see a need. I didn’t like my writing that way.
Finally I realized God had given me a love for the very thing he had called me to do. I didn’t need to make apologies or be ashamed.
I write clean. I write about coming-of-age. I write for children and young adults, and I’m glad.
Rondi Olson is a reader, writer, and animal wrangler from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Her debut novel for young adults, ALL THINGS NOW LIVING, was a finalist in the 2012 Genesis Contest and has just been released by Written World Communications.