I always intended to write grown-up science fiction. I don't
How did this happen?
It started with a question: What if magic were real? The answer isn't as important as what the question meant to me.
You see, I live in a world where magic is real. I don't call or think of it as magic, but it's essentially the same thing—an unseen agency by which lives, circumstances, and worlds are changed. It's hidden in plain sight, overlooked, misunderstood, ridiculed.
I had a question, a premise that meant something to me. Part of my answer was that magic would work through ordinary abilities, common talents that are also overlooked and frequently unused. Talents that sometimes cause more trouble than they're worth. Talents with which I had some experience.
I could have made my characters my own age—about thirty—but if anyone were going to develop supernatural talents, it would be younger adults. Eighteen-year-olds. Maybe a little earlier or later, but there's something about eighteen. It's transitional. Pivotal. Vital.
And I'd never forgiven myself for being eighteen. Silly thing to say, but that's what it came down to. I acted like a teenager, and the memories—not so much of what I did as what I thought and how I felt—still made me cringe.
Working through a young adult novel helped me finally understand and forgive my past self. I also learned that who I am today isn't as far from who I was then as I wanted to believe. And I'm okay with that. For all my mistakes, I also did a lot of things right.
Why do I write for young adults? Because I have something to tell myself, and only the eighteen-year-old inside me will understand.