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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.
The theme of Stopped Cold, “We don’t have to be number one for God to love us,” nagged me for years. As a young person and an adult, I often witnessed heartache when someone failed to win an event or contest, or fell short of being “the best.” Each time I thought that each of us has a gift or gifts from God to use for him, and using them doesn’t require us to always win.
Finally, I decided to put this theme into a book. But where to set the book? Even though people compete in everything from pie tasting contests to art shows, I thought of sports. But I love mysteries. How to combine them?
In Stopped Cold a young athlete suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. His sister’s angry at her dad for pushing him to be a great quarterback. And she’s also angry with the criminals who sold him the steroid.
She struggles with a fire of hatred that burns inside her to make the criminals pay. She and her
friends start a dangerous search to find these criminals.
All the while what she really wants is to cure Sean, heal the hate, and open her heart to love.
Award-winning author Gail Pallott’s a 2013 Grace Awards Finalist. She’s published four books, poems, short stories and several hundred articles. Her book, Mountain of Love and Danger, is a fantasy appropriate for young people. Visit her web site at http://www.gailpallotta.com and look for Stopped Cold on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KK5C0NK
Ever since I can remember, I’ve had story ideas swirling through my head. Despite my creativity I didn’t pursue my interest in writing and certainly never considered writing a whole novel or imagined I would write for teens.
But, as so often happens, God had a different plan.
As a mother of three, I was often frustrated with the societal messages my growing children were exposed to through movies, television, music, and even literature, that didn’t always coincide with our faith. As my children began reading more advanced novels, I struggled to find fun, exciting books that they wanted to read which also exemplified the morals I was trying to instill in them. I wondered why someone didn’t write the kind of books I was searching for. I didn’t realize that person would be me.
Then one day a story literally popped into my mind. Characters and scenes just kept coming to me until I finally had to write them down. Other odd things happened which made me realize God was calling me to write this book. It took years to accomplish but eventually this story that God planted in my mind and on my heart was published.
The Perfect Blindside was released in August and since then my quiet stay-at-home life has transformed into one with speaking engagements, book signings, and radio interviews. I truly believe God has led me on this amazing journey and I can’t wait to see what else He has in store for me.
Leslea Wahl is the author of The Perfect Blindside, an adventure mystery set in her home state of Colorado. In January, this debut novel won an Illumination Christian Book Award silver medal and it was just awarded a first place Catholic Press Association Book Award. The Perfect Blindside is available on Amazon and through her publisher, Pauline Books and Media. Ms. Wahl is excited to continue her passion of encouraging teens in their faith with her second Christian young adult novel which will be released later this year. For more information please visit her website at www.LesleaWahl.com
He’s an egotistical snowboarder with a silver medal. She’s a judgmental honors student with a flair for photography.
Slashed tires…. False accusations…. A coded text message…. When the sleepy town of Silver Springs, Colorado is threatened by a series of mysterious events, Jake and Sophie must put aside their differences to figure out what’s really been happening at the abandoned gold mine and challenge each other to become who God wants them to be.
God likes to surprise me, especially when it comes to writing. I fell in love with writing when I read Anne of Green Gables in the sixth grade. However, becoming a writer didn’t seem realistic, so I became a teacher instead.
A few years into teaching, God nudged me again. While flipping through my mother’s Better Homes & Gardens magazine, I found an ad for taking a class on writing for children. That led to several magazine pieces, including an article in Highlights, which I’d read as a child!
Eventually, I wrote my first novel, a middle grade sci-fi book, but it was never published. I tried writing a cozy mystery. It was never published, but it led me to join the Mystery Writers of America.
I worked on a middle grade mystery next, but I couldn’t get the plot right. In the midst of my discouragement, I got an idea for a young-adult story about a girl whose dreams of becoming an actress slip away from her. I wrote the first draft of Angelhood in a month, but couldn’t find a publisher.
One day, I received an email from someone in the Mystery Writers of America who was looking for a publisher who might publish a children’s book with some religious themes. That’s exactly what I needed for Angelhood. Even though my first book wasn’t a mystery, God found a way through the Mystery Writers of America to get me to the right publisher for my story! I hope it brings inspiration to many young people who are worried about pursuing their dreams.
A.J. Cattapan is an award-winning author, speaker, and middle school English teacher living in the Chicago area. Her debut young adult novel Angelhood won a Gold Medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards for Young Adult Fiction—Religion/Spirituality and an Honorable Mention from Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. She’s also been a Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor and had numerous short stories and articles published in magazines for teens and children, including Highlights, Pockets, and Hopscotch for Girls.
Her next novel, a middle grade mystery titled Seven Riddles to Nowhere, releases in August. Cattapan is a member of several writing groups, including the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and the Mystery Writers of America. When not busy writing or teaching, she can often be found baking or traveling. You can follow her writing and travel adventures at www.ajcattapan.com.
Find Angelhood on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Angelhood-A-J-Cattapan/dp/0990304264
Like many of you, I’m a home-school girl, and I love to read. At nineteen I was discouraged with the YA and fantasy books available in my library. I’d devoured the clean reads and was repeatedly forced to put down excellently written books because the stories were immoral or had a twisted worldview. (By “immoral” I mean sexual inappropriateness or violence for the sake of violence or bad language.)
I hated seeing despair running rampant in contemporary authors’ YA and fantasy. In my Oregon home one day, I thought, Maybe I could write good books about hope and adventure. So my journey began.
By the time I started my second medieval fantasy, I was again discouraged. I had not completed the first book. I’d given up too easily.
So I told the Lord I would finish this second book unless He showed me He wanted me to do something else. Eventually I discovered my second book was the bare bones of two: Falcon Heart and the sequel, Falcon Flight. With God’s help and the assistance of countless people, I did not give up!
The second book, Falcon Flight, is coming out this month. I’m throwing a family-friendly 21-book giveaway here to celebrate, with the help of many of the authors of great-and-clean YA books I’ve met along the way.
Azalea Dabill grew up in the California hills, building forts in the oaks. She remembers the fuzzy sweet smell of acorns and moss, the perfume of lupines and golden poppies, the night-song of crickets. Homeschooled, she read fantasy and adventure to her siblings. Now she enjoys growing things, old bookstores, and hiking the wild.
Not finding enough tales of adventure, romance, and mystery in the world, she writes young adult fantasy. Mythic tales of medieval stronghold lords, a desert prince, and a stronghold daughter; a sword of power and a princess running for her life; an outcast at the dawn of time caught in a dragons’ war; and a tale of sleeping Briar Rose and her sister and the battle for their hearts. Mythic fantasy spans worlds near and far, past and future, worlds of wonder and adventure.
Azalea took writing for her Associate of Science and devoured how-to books from James Scott Bell to Sol Stein. A member of the Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network, she holds an editing certificate from the American Copy Editors Society.