Writing for Young Adults

“Young Adult” or YA writing refers to books targeted at children anywhere from 11 to 18. A YA book is usually targeted at the younger or older end of that age range.

Why did I take an interest in writing for young adults?

  1. I was fascinated by my husband’s career (YA author Art Slade) and enjoyed the community of writers I was meeting through him
  2. I wanted to try my hand at a novel, and somehow a shorter novel seemed less daunting (YA novels tend to be under 200 pages)
  3. I had a great idea for a YA novel

And so began Camp Outlook. For many years before I became a mom, I had had the idea of writing something, maybe a short story, based on my experiences as an eleven-year-old at church camp. The camp was, and still is, located at Outlook, Saskatchewan, though it no longer belongs to the United Church of Canada. One of the many memories I had was when one of the campers, a girl with an intellectual disability, pinned a counsellor up against a wall and threatened to stab her with a pointed stick. Then, in 2003 I had my first and only baby, and our darling daughter turned out to have Down syndrome. I merged some of the Camp Outlook events with the experience of Tori coming into our lives, and the premise of the book was born. It’s not exactly autobiographical because there’s lots and lots of stuff I made up, but the novel is certainly inspired by real events.

I’m so happy that in the fall of 2013 Second Story Press contacted me with the news that they liked the manuscript. They were pleased that it was in such good shape (that’s what a million drafts will do for you!) because they wanted to get it out quickly. And so March 11, 2014, it was on store shelves!

Any new books coming out?

I’ve made a start at a new YA novel entitled The Real Deal. It is going very slowly.

I’d like to acknowledge the Saskatchewan Arts Board for its support in the writing of Camp Outlook, and the Canada Council for its support of The Real Deal.