From Imagination To Publication

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ants In My Pants/My Epiphany

Aside from having ants in my pants (as I await the announcement of the winner of the flash fiction challenge AND the SCWC in Newport this weekend) I’ve been a little busy beaver plotting and scheming the sequel to my debut novel. Now that The Descendants has officially graduated to the line editing process, I feel more comfortable moving forward with the storyline. I sort of had to put that process on hold for a while as I reworked pieces of the book. I couldn’t continue to write the sequel until the major plot points of the first novel were nailed down. Now, I am having so much fun coming up with what happens next.

Being in book world got me thinking. What was it that made me fall in love with YA novels? What book opened up my world to its awesomeness?

When I think back to a time when I actually was a young adult, I can remember the exact moment it happened. I used to think I hated reading. I tried to like it, but every time I picked up a book, I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. As my friends began to discover books and lose themselves in stories, I kept my secret to myself. In Jr. High I toured around with the smart kids…you know, those over achievers? I was one of them (still am, really). So the fact that I hated reading made me feel ashamed and embarrassed. What was WRONG with me?

Then one magical day in San Francisco (oddly enough…in the exact apartment my debut novel takes place) I picked up a book called Harry Potter and the whatever….(okay, Sorcerer’s Stone).

(From here.)
I didn’t have a clue what I’d found, no idea that once I opened it my life would change. I looked at it with indifference.

“Have you read that?” my friend asked.
I shrugged. “No.” Of course I hadn’t. I didn’t read.
“Take it. It’s good.”
I didn’t want to be rude. “Okay, sure,” I said, feigning excitement.

Little did I know it would be my epiphany.

You can probably guess what happened after that. Once I’d read the first chapter I couldn’t put it down. Turns out I DIDN’T hate to read, what I hated was being forced to read things that didn’t appeal to me. My mom never understood how she could be such an avid reader, and her smarty pants daughter couldn’t get past the first ten pages of her favorite books. We both know the answer now. She reads realistic and very depressing books! That just isn’t my thing. I want to be carried off to a new world, or at least a world that’s fascinating and different than the mundane happenings in normal life. Hence my love for YA (Specifically YA Paranormal/Fantasy etc.).

What’s the moral of the story?

Read what you love, and you’ll love to read.

What was your epiphany? Do you remember the day you found your favorite genre? What books have inspired you?


  1. I used to devour YA (horror especially) but after a certain point in my life, I felt like I should move up to adult books. The transition didn't go so well. Life got busy. Books weren't as inspiring or exciting as they once were. I went through a couple of years where I didn't read a single piece of fiction (though, non-fiction = eternal love).

    The Hunger Games reignited my passion for fiction, writing and YA especially. I waited for weeks to borrow it from the library, and when it finally became available, I was like Bastian from the NeverEnding Story. I gathered provisions, locked myself in my bedroom in the morning and didn't emerge until I'd finished later that night. Until then, I'd forgotten how truly engrossing books can be. ;)

  2. I've always devoured books, but I'm definitely more of an escapist than a realist when it comes to books. I can't stand reading most adult literature because it's far too depressing and frighteningly real. YA fantasy and paranormal is where I fit too. :D

  3. I've always been a reader, reading things I probably shouldn't have been reading at a young age (Stephen King anyone?!) :) It never mattered to me if a book was YA or not, still doesn't.

    But I do remember picking up the first Harry Potter when it came out and being blown away. It was a reminder, a wake up call to what amazing story-telling can and should do.

  4. I read through the Harry Potter novels like a man in the desert runs through the water in his canteen. Loved them!

  5. I've always been a reader, but Harry Potter definitely brought me out of a spell of not reading much.

    And no reason to be worrying about the flash fiction now - congrats on your wins!! And congrats on your wedding and book!! You've got it goin' on!

  6. I've been a reader so long, I can't remember what first sparked the love. I must admit I read across genres, and can honestly say I don't have a particular favorite. I love a good book and pick most based on friend recommendations.

    Maybe it is because I've loved reading for so long that I branch out. There is nothing I won't read, but there's plenty I won't like. Still, I've never felt time reading was wasted, even if I ended up hating the book in the end.

    Congrats on the Flash Fiction contest. You rocked it!

  7. First of all, Jessica, congratulations on your wins (plural! wow!) in the flash fiction contest.

    And in an amazing synchronicity of thoughts, I've just posted about the books I read as a teen (before YA was a recognized genre). I was an avid reader all my life, so I can't pinpoint one book that brought me to reading -- I even sneaked into the teacher's cupboard and read the next Dick and Jane books in first grade! But there are books that stand out for me in my teen years, and you can read about them here

  8. I agree 100% with your comments! At school we've got so many of the students to LOVE reading because the librarian/principal/English teachers are happy to fill the library up with the type of book the STUDENTS love, not the type of books that some adults might think they SHOULD be reading.

    I have adored reading ever since I discovered Enid Blyton soon after I learned how to read.

    PS. Congrats for doing so well in the first campaigner challenge!

  9. Just me again, wanting to say...

    Whoo hoo, congrats on your double win in the First Challenge!!! :)

  10. Thanks for all of your comments my blogger friends!!