I am an author of young adult fiction; although, I hate such a simple categorization of what I write. My first novel, So Shelly, was published with Random House. The novel was well-reviewed, won several awards, and earned me invitations to appear and present at several book festivals around the country. My road to publication was long and winding. Having spent nearly twenty years coaching high school football in Ohio, I decided that I still had other lives to live. After completing my masters of English Literature degree, I got serious about pursuing a writing career. Five years and four novels later, I signed the deal with Random. I don’t like to call it a dream come true because dreams just happen; whereas, luring an agent and a publisher was the result of a lot of hard work. But, let’s face it, it is a dream come true!
For my second novel, GOODNESS FALLS, I’ve taken a different route to publication. For a variety of reasons – some self-determined, others not – I’ve decided to break from the industry model of publishing and to strike out on my own into the ever-expanding world of independent publishing. As the term suggests, this model has allowed me much greater freedom and control of my work, which I’ve come to value more than any financial or distribution benefits I may lose by breaking free of “Big Publishing.” In the end, my writing is an avocation not my means of making a living; therefore, I have a lot less to lose than those who earn their way exclusively as authors.
I honestly believe there is no better category of fiction to be writing in today than YA. It’s welcoming of new authors and literary innovation and lacking in snobbery and pretension. Also, YA’s audience continues to grow along with its boundaries, and editors seem to be wide open to the endless array of storytelling possibilities the category not only allows but encourages.
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