I'm glad to be the Smack Dab poster on the thirteenth of the month because my next book, Dark of the Moon, places a lot of importance on the number thirteen!
Why do I write (mostly) middle grade? Hmmm. I had to think a while, and I remembered a conversation with my then-tween daughter. "Isn't there anything good about middle school?" she asked forlornly asked after listening to older cousins’ horror stories.
My first reaction was to say no, there isn’t. I had the same kind of middle-school experience that I suspect a lot of writers had: being picked on, feeling left out, simultaneously scorning and envying the “golden girls” who talked easily with boys and laughed on the rare occasions when they did something clumsy or stupid.
But that’s not the whole story, and I told my daughter so. For a lot of people, I told her, middle school is when you meet your first real best friend, not just someone who likes to play the same games that you do—but someone you really, really share things with. You start figuring out who you are, what you’re good at, what excites you, what grosses you out. You’re convinced that you’re capable of so much more than what the adults in your life let you do, but occasionally they’re proved right and you wind up in a mess.
This can be scary stuff, and I don’t envy my readers who are navigating these rough waters. It takes guts to be a pre-teen and early teen. I love exploring this time of life in my books—it’s so full of adventure, heartbreak, and excitement. My readers are saying good-bye to little-kidhood, looking ahead to adulthood, some leaping ahead, others hanging back. I feel fortunate to be able to share this exciting, terrible, wonderful time of life with them—without actually having to live through it again!