Monday, January 28, 2013

Why I write

Being God comes out Feb 1. The book represents my commitment to writing quality books designed to attract both eager and the reluctant teen readers.

Especially the kids known as reluctant readers.

I truly believe that most kids who are reluctant do not deserve that name. They are just kids who have not yet found the right book for them.  How many of us eagerly sit down to read a book on a subject we have no interest in, or maybe one written in a foreign language that we have yet to learn?  I know, because I tried, and that experience helped awaken me to some of the issues with so-called reluctant readers.

A few years ago I was very eager to read a book written in French.  This book has never been translated into English. Hundreds of pages of a totally foreign language. But as a long time fan of the Angelique series (I am a long-term member of the Friends of Angelique), I was desperate to read the untranslated Angelique in Quebec. All 826 pages of it. 

So I tried the mission impossible thing and set down to teach myself to read French. It's the kind of thing that can give someone new insights.

I managed to stumble through the book, and it was worth the effort. But, the experience showed me just how daunting reading can be to a reluctant reader handed something above his or her grade level and then given an assignment and a deadline.  Had I not been desperate to complete the series I would easily have given up a dozen times. The sight of the book still intimidates me (it is the biggest thing on my bookshelf).

So I write for teens who need to have the joy of a good book awakened. I expect them to be reluctant, so I give them openings designed to hook harder than the average. I give them short chapters, so they have natural points where they can put the book down and still feel they have accomplished something. I add in lures, devices to make them want to come back. Or, better still, to make them decide to read just one more chapter (only a few pages, after all) before they stop.

The reluctant reader remains an under served population. They don't want books, so publishers and authors can't expect to get rich from courting them. But they need books, so I keep writing with them in mind. Books take us places movies and video games cannot. The let us experience moral dilemmas and other people's lives from the safety of our home. They help the development of conscious, compassion and self-esteem.  I talk at teacher and librarian conferences, and the professionals all agree on the importance of these benefits, and want more ways to give them to reluctant and at-risk readers.

People ask me why I write Young Adult. What more do I have to say?

Being God is the second book in the Farrington series. Coming from allthecolorsoflove on Feb 1, 2013.


Wordsmith said...

Funny, I was planning to write about this today since it's (more or less) the anniversary of my blog. I followed Angelique for long long years and one of the most discouraging things has been the failure to have the new books translated. It feels like being deserted in the clinch.

I hope your new book is well received and reaches the people you are targeting. All of us write because we have something we feel is worth communicating and maybe, something that will help someone. It's rewarding when you manage to achieve that goal, discouraging when you can't. My book mostly misfired but oddly, the blog hits home much more often. Different medium, different parameters.

I have to tell you that I won't be back. I cannot abide those "prove you aren't a robot" things. I rarely can make out what I'm supposed to see and often have to try over and over, each time rewriting my comment as it wipes me out for failing. If this is the only option open to you, older people will not come back. It's not personal. It's just eyes and age.

Good luck.

B. A. Binns said...

Thanks for commenting. Us Angelique fans need to stick together. And I do with you future look in your writing.