Here’s what the teenage author of the YA spy adventure, Rain, has to say about THE PROS & CONS OF BEING A TEENAGE AUTHOR
1) I get to watch people's jaws drop as I tell them I'm a published author
2) Writing constitutes as work
3) I get to meet awesome people through the writing network
1) There's a lot of work that isn't writing and, while fun, is very time-consuming
2) Even when you're published, the publishing world isn't easy to navigate
3) I still have to do homework
I’m not sure when I first decided to be a writer. I mean, I was always a writer. I wrote constantly growing up. I have notebooks upon notebooks of story starts and drawings of characters. Also, my little sister and I used to play pretend, where we would imagine and act out stories. I always added narration, like “…the Minian jumps to the dock and yells, ‘Come stop me!’ and we race after him!” I think this was my precursor to writing.
However, it was in fifth grade that I decided I wanted to be an author. I had an amazing teacher that year, and we incorporated writing into every unit. History, math, science, even recess. (Well, I did.) And in English we wrote stories. Long stories. Real stories that lacked page limits. I took the lack of page limits to heart. From then on I was constantly working on some story idea or another. People would give me weird looks when I’d talk about the “novel” I was writing.
“You write novels?” they’d say.
I’d nod. “Yeah! The one I’m writing right now is about…”
They’d listen for a while, then say, “Wow. You’re crazy.” Or, “How do you do that? I hate writing.” Or even, “I love page limits,” to which I’d respond, “I love page minimums.”
(By the way, page limits are a horrible idea. If anything do a word limit, not a page limit. I tend to use dialogue, and when formatted correctly dialogue takes up a whole new paragraph, so I fill up pages more quickly. So therefore page limits = cruel.)
After Rain was accepted and then released by Echelon Press, the reactions went from disbelief to stunned disbelief. “You published a novel?” they now say.
I’ll nod. “Yeah! It’s about…”
They’ll listen for a while, then say, “Wow, you’re crazy. I want to read it!”
Before I was “officially” an author, a few of my friends would ask if I could write them into a story. “Can I be a character? Can I be that fairy? Can I save the day?” And usually I’d say, sure, I’d throw them in. I based characters off of real people sometimes, though usually unintentionally. My friend Katie has a bad history with her characters—they’re mostly evil. Like one in sixth grade, named Nervom, who eventually destroyed the world (don’t worry, there are other worlds in that story). I mean, destroying the world is bad enough. But to add insult to injury I named her Nervom.
After I was “official,” however, everyone wanted a character. “You can even kill me if you want. In your story, I mean,” they’ll offer. I took some of them up on this (I was writing an action thriller. No spies in that one, though, unfortunately). Then I realized I couldn’t possibly base characters off of everyone. Sorry, guys.
Also, another thing that’s changed? My parents don’t hint that I should “do other things” (aka go outside or do laundry or eat) as often anymore. Not that they discouraged my writing before or anything, and they still remind me to do silly things like homework…which, by the way, teachers still assign, despite me being published and all. What’s with that?
Aside from writing, Kieryn Nicolas enjoys Taekwondo and swing dancing. Her favorite place to be is browsing the YA section of Barnes & Noble (or the library, or any bookstore). She has many more novels in progress.
You can find Kieryn online at her website: www.kierynnicolas.com
She also has a blog: www.kierynnicolas.blogspot.com