I am gathering information once again for another Young Adult novel. The success of my first YA effort, Until I’m Safe from Melange and appearing on Amazon and other platforms, leads me into attempting a second novel. This time I got to thinking, teen archetype surely can’t be the same as classic adult models, the Warrior, the Bad Boy, the Charmer, the Next Door Neighbor type of guy.
So I did some research into young people and how they might be classified: a bully, a bureaucrat (one who follows the rules) versus a tyrant (one who has to be in control), an introvert. A perfectionist (for whom every move and word must be perfect) versus a pleaser (who lives to gain approval from others), a scholar and a victim. There are others but most teens fall into these types of categories.
With these sorts of examples/archetypes for me to choose from, I can write about a more realistic teen. In the case of my newest efforts, I am writing about a teen who endures a disaster but never forgives herself for what happened and a teen who survived disaster and is open to life once again.
I wished I’d saved the cartoons my friend sent the other day showing kids using things like cell phones to the exclusion of conversation or activities. If we don’t limit our children’s use of technology such as iPads and cells then we’ll have a new generation that we depend on taking care of us in our senior years but a generation that is incapable of interacting socially or conversing face-to-face. My life is filled with writing, doing art work (and no, they’re not sensational and ready to sell for big bucks) or quilting (I can’t even make myself give my quilts away—I love them!) I enjoy using my cell phone, for instant Googling when we want information or playing Solitaire. But living on it or my desktop computer is insane. Life’s too short to glue myself to technology and gain square eyeballs! Kids need to play and not on the computer. Moms and Dads—rise up and take control before you’re kids forget who you are!
My oldest grandson is seven and a half. The youngest is only fourteen months. The oldest has gone and done so many things, experienced and adventured, thanks to his parents. They know the value of exposing him to new things. He loves dinosaurs, museums, aquariums and many other activities. While the little one is really too young to remember his adventures, he’s bowled at the International Bowling Museum, been to several zoos and even stood next to a race horse jockey after the tenth race and received the rider’s goggles. His parents also know the value of exposing him to new and different things.
When I taught, we took a group of 8th graders—thirteen and fourteen year olds—to Houston on buses. Houston from our school was probably fifty or sixty miles south. One young man sat in silence as the country road passed into tall buildings, intertwined highways and few tall trees. I asked him if something was the matter. He looked at me with big eyes, a wondering expression and said, “I’ve never been out of M— County. I’ve never been to Houston.” My own jaw dropped. This was not an impoverished child yet he’d never had an opportunity to expand his horizons.
Which makes me grateful when parents take their children into new worlds and let them see the past, the present and future possibilities.
One of the nice things about contemporary times is that we can take pictures so easily. Cameras with the ability to take photos at night, in low light, capture fast action or take vivid portraits are small and inexpensive. Almost everyone has a cell phone now, and most can take pictures. Even going to big box stores and getting a set of pictures taken of your children or family isn’t unreasonably expensive so families can have photos of children as they grow.
We’ve been blessed to have photos of both our grandsons often enough that you can see the way they stretch up and get taller or their features begin to take on a more personal cast—no longer looking like mama or daddy, but more like himself. Husband and I are grateful that our children get photos often enough that we have a regular collage of each boy. When our youngest son married, he and his fiancé went through all the photo albums and loose photos, searching for pictures of him growing up. (They made a nice album for us.) I don’t think our grandsons will have to look very far to find photos of themselves. Later on the g.sons will appreciate that–I know as a grandparent, we do.
Professor Pajka teaches at Gallaudet University for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in DC. She approached me about an interview after she picked up my book Until I’m Safe–a Young Adult novel–and featured it on her blog. She’s excited about the book, its location and the fact that my Afro-American young adult female is the first one ever used as a heroine. Can there be a better compliment!
Here is the direct link to the post:
I’m afraid I went a little long in my introduction because I was just so excited about the connections that I personally made with the novel.
Thank you again!
Sharon Pajka, Ph.D.
Professor of English
*Deaf Characters in Adolescent Literature Blog*
May and June bring graduation, moving from being a child to an adult—more or less. I refer to high school graduation. Graduating from a university or similar training fields are important too but not as life changing perhaps as this first time. In our family and circle of acquaintances, we saw several young people move from school to a life where they can now have more say in what happens next. Seldom can we say though that we celebrated graduations from a public school, Christian school and home school within two weeks. As varied as those institutions are, these former students are all fine young adults. For those families and friends who celebrated a young person’s graduation from high school or a young adult’s graduation from higher education, remember to support them in the days and years ahead. Life just changed a LOT for them. Now is not the time to abandon them. They need to move forward every day, accomplishing something, but with your help, those steps into their brave new world will be easier.
Rainy days are well suited to sleeping, reading a good book or in my case, planning the plot for a new book to write. I often writing ideas in journals, sometimes even those thing I’d rather not publish. It’s all fodder for writing. This time I sat down with my big art pad. I use it to draw an outline of sorts of my work in progress. While my intention was to give myself a visual of my current work, I discovered myself outlining a novel I’d only begun to think about this past week! Alrighty then! One novel in the works and one fleshed out, waiting in the wings, ready to be written. Wow!
My Young Adult novel—Until I’m Safe—went live Thursday at http://www.fireandiceya.com/authors/janegrace/index.html I am SOO excited about this novel! I began writing it in the summer of 2012, finished two years later and got it published a year after that. That’s pretty fast in the world of writing. The heroine is seventeen and just trying to feel safe in a world that isn’t—the world of Hurricane Katrina. Visit the website and read the opening scene.
I hope you enjoy reading the novel as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Does she stay and possibly get shot by her crazed father or run into the storm of the century, Hurricane Katrina?
Marguerite Aucoin has no choice but to run! Like the fiction heroine she writes about, a teen named Toots Gentry, Marguerite must be brave, despite the fact she’s lost both hearing aids and is virtually deaf.
Amand rescues Marguerite from the swirling bayou waters. At his home, she awakes but doesn’t speak, writing her name, Toots Gentry. With time, he learns her secrets, and discovers someone’s trying to kill her. But he’s fallen in love with Marguerite and is determined to protect her.
My new Young Adult novel—Until I’m Safe by Jane Grace (my YA pen name)—is headed to the publisher! Yea! Due out any day now from Melange-books.com under their Fire and Ice Young Adult section.
Does she stay and possibly get shot by her crazed father or run into the storm of the century, Hurricane Katrina? Marguerite has no choice. Run! Like the fiction heroine she writes about, a teen named Toots Gentry, Marguerite must be brave, despite the fact she’s lost both hearing aids and is virtually deaf.
Amand rescues a girl from swirling bayou waters. At his home she awakes but doesn’t speak, writing her name–Toots Gentry. With time he learns her secrets. And discovers someone’s trying to kill her!
How can one calendar fill up so fast? My 2015 desk calendar is getting full! Which is a good thing! I’d rather have something to do—even working toward an editing deadline—than have a blank space for each day. We not only have big trips away from home planned but visits with our sons and their families. Both families live within thirty minutes of our home so there’s always coming and going. What a blessing that is!
Check your calendar and see if you’re doing for others but not taking care of yourself. Do you have activities built in that you enjoy? Lunch with friends? A museum? A movie? A short trip? A long trip? Husband will come up to me now and then and say: Time to get out of W—. And that’s when we pack our bags and hit the road. Another day on my calendar filled with something interesting.