How did you arrive at the genre that you are choosing to write within?
I think self-reflection helps you to understand your motivations and craft a more informed text that reads with truth. I personally find it ironic that now that I have actually sat down and decided to translate my love of reading into writing that I am doing so in a YA genre.
I should start with my age (it will give better context lol) I'm 31.
As an early reader (8-10) I pretty exclusively read encyclopaedias and dictionaries (I was a weird kid lol) I wanted to know everything. My siblings were all much much older than I was and books like these were plentiful. I also read some of my sister's Nancy Drews and my Brothers Hardy Boys. My sister had a ton of Anne of Green Gables and Heidi books laying around but frankly they board me.
At 10 I discovered my mothers Romance Novel stash at the back of her closet and started reading Kathleen E. Woodiwiss they were historical and a little raunchy and when my mom found me reading them she was not impressed at all neither was my teacher when I kept using the word "strapping" to describe people in my own stories!
So my mom banned me from the Romance Genre and I moved on to V.C Andrews (if only she knew the content of those lol) and R.L. Stine. I never got into the Baby Sitters Club or the Sweet Valley High books that all my peers were reading. They just in no way interested me. Also at this point I was obsessed with Greek Myths.
This takes me to about 14 when I decided I was a genius...a morose hard done by misunderstood genius!
I started reading books like Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers, Kafka's Metamorphosis, James Joyce Portrait of an Artist, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, Dostoevsky's The The Brothers Karamazov, Henry Rollins One from None, Dante's Inferno, Atwood's The Edible Woman and pretty much anything I could read that made me feel like a 'superior intellect' even if I totally didn't understand them at all and had no life experience from which to derive their context.
University I found myself forced to read the texts that I had previously used as an indulgent escape and it took all the fun right out of reading them.
On a daily basis I was pretty sure my brain was going to explode and I was also quickly realising that I wasn't even close to the genius I fancied myself when I had been a big brained fish in a little pond. I started reading classic children's literature like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and The Little Prince. I found them beautiful and timeless with lots of whimsy but still somehow full of simple truths and sweet musing. This is when I also discovered Harry Potter and consumed those works obsessively!
By the end of University I never wanted to see another sentence again let alone read another book! I pretty much just stopped reading all together. I was trying to build my career and my brain was burnt out.
When I got pregnant with my daughter I went into kidney failure and found myself hospitalised on a demeral drip for 4 months trying to avoid heart failure and pre-term labour. I was at the mercy of others. People would bring me books as a distraction from the pretty terrible situation and totally unbearable pain I found myself in. Some people even read to me.
They were books they liked that I had never considered in the past (either cause I had thought myself too smart - read as I was intellectually insecure - or because they were too popular and I was a special snowflake! - read that as insecure in general) People brought me things like Daniel Steele, Steven King, James Patterson, Louis Copeland and anything else they had enjoyed.
I had my daughter than my son 15 mos later and again I had no time to read except the occasional True Ghost story or study or supernatural phenomenon late at night.
My niece was all a buzz with Twilight and again being the rather snotty prat I can be I refused to read it cause I was a Harry Potter fan-nerd and it sounded lame.
I finally found a copy at a thrift store after the first three movies had been released and cause it was $0.75 I figured I might as well. I liked it. I was smiling to myself and getting all those gushy lovie feelings I had long forgotten I even had with my own "first love". It mirrored that stage in my own life so well, everything was exaggerated, and dramatic. I loved so hard at 15yrs and the universe should have stopped spinning to acknowledge the unique depth of our "love" Twilight captured that feeling and for me was nostalgic.
I also read the Percy Jackson series and the gender rebel in me loved it. I felt like a little boy on an epic adventure!
So this summer when I decided that working at home and mothering was going to be the death of me and decided I deserved a little time to myself I told my husband I needed an hour a night to start painting again. That was the plan. As I was painting my imagination started to run wild the way it often does and these characters started popping into my head. I figured I had finally snapped from exhaustion or that I needed to write them down and flush them out.
It is almost like the narrative is dictating its own direction. It is supernatural and it is Young Adult and there is some romantic tension. I just find it so interesting that this is what I am writing considering where I am coming from in terms of literary consumption.
If you actually read all that a gold star for you
Now you go. What has your literary journey looked like? How did you end up where you are in terms of what you are writing?