1.) You’re a multi-talented writer and have quite an extensive list of accomplishments! What made you choose to write YA?
I am a gemini, raised by a mother who is a gemini, and an aunt who is a gemini. I was never taught that I had to be just one thing in life. For better or worse, I was encouraged to be all over the board!
My aunt loved to entertain and tell stories, and my wonderful mom loved to read, and would sometimes let me borrow her books. Reading and writing were magical. YA is a wonderful medium for storytelling, and a part of me lives for captivating listeners. YA is all about adventure!
2.) What inspired you to write Josh’s story in Diary of a Bad Boy? (love the title btw!) What do you hope readers take away from the story?
Diary of a Bad Boy is different from my other YA novels in that it is a coming of age story where I really explore the feelings of a kid in trouble. The writer in me is constantly asking, “but why?”
A writer can create a character who is not so nice, but if that character is properly motivated, they can still be empathetic to the reader.
My younger brother was in a boy’s ranch, and though his story is nothing like the one I wrote, his time there intrigued me. And probably kept him from jail time! 🙂 He inspired the story.
3.) What was the hardest/best part about writing the book?
With Diary of a Bad Boy I tried to examine reasons why a kid might act out. I was a teacher’s aide in the public school district for a while, and I worked with the behaviorally challenged kids.
What I wanted to show in the book was that bad things happen and while they certainly shape our lives they don’t have to define them. Take what you need to grow from the bad thing that happened and move on.
4.) What’s the best/worst advice you’ve received as a writer? Is there anything about your writing journey you’d go back and change if you could?
Hands down the worst advice I ever received as a writer was to leave my family out of the writing equation. Writing was a business and it should be treated like one – which is true. But if you work at Disneyland, don’t you want to bring the kids?
I inadvertently hurt my family’s feelings by shutting them out from a dream that we had all shared. Luckily, I snapped out of it, and realized that though that advice might work for those authors, I wanted my family to be a part of my writing life.
5.) What helped you the most with your writing and what do you feel is the most important thing new writers should learn?
Important: There is no right way, no wrong way, just your way when it comes to the writing journey.
6.) What’s up next for your writing?
I’m writing the next Rhiannon Godfrey book and I have an older YA series out, about a girl who has to make some tough choices in order to survive – when all she wants is a boyfriend. Zombyre, My Love. www.traciehall.com