April 11, 2017

Me (and) Me Blog Tour: Guest post by author Alice Kuipers

Today is the official release date for Alice Kuipers'
new young adult novel, Me (and) Me.  
Happy book birthday! 

Me (and) Me
Written by Alice Kuipers
HarperCollins Canada
288 pp.
Ages 14+
April 11, 2017


As part of the blog tour for Me (and) Me, Alice Kuipers is sharing with us a little bit about her experiences with writing YA novels and I am delighted to post that here. 

Why I Write YA Novels? 
By Alice Kuipers

When I was eighteen, I wrote a novel about a girl who split into two people. She didn’t know which life was the best for her to live. Me (and) Me, my fifth YA novel is about the same theme: the main character, Lark, has to make a decision between two lives. And she can’t. The book I wrote when I was eighteen was never published. In fact, it was never read by anyone else. But I loved writing it. I loved the way writing made me feel: calm and focused. So I started work on another book. This book, like the first, was planned for adult readers. Again the character was young and lost—her baby boy had drowned. Again the book didn’t work on the page. But, again, I loved writing it.

When I’d written four books like this, books that I loved but that didn’t seem to work on the page, I had a conversation with someone who’d read one of them. She said, have you ever thought about writing for younger readers. It was as if a light went on in my head (total cliché, but I swear that’s what happened).
I didn’t know much about writing for young readers, but I had read a lot of books for teens and kids. And all my characters were young—they were at that place in their lives where they were becoming adults. They were making decisions that would forever mark them in their future lives. Writing about teenagers made me connect with the confused and frustrated teenager I’d been.

Everything lined up in my head after this reader made her comment. I quickly wrote a book for middle grade readers. It wasn’t good enough to be published, but it was the first book I’d written that I felt fully proud of: something about it worked. The book after that was called Life on the Refrigerator Door. It was about a teenager and her mother going through a terrible situation. This ended up being my first published novel—and weirdly, although I’d written it for teens, in many countries it was published as an adult novel. But I’ve always seen it as my first true YA book.

I’ve discovered that novels for young adult readers can be read by any age. But YA novels need to explore that moment of dramatic choice—when a teen takes the path that makes them the adult they are going to be. It took me many, many years and many books to figure out what sort of writer I was, and it took me four published YA novels to work out how to tell the story I began when I first attempted a novel. It seems to me that Me (and) Me is the original book I started trying to write when I was eighteen. The final version of this novel came alive when seventeen-year old Lark walked into my mind.

Lark, in the novel, eventually has to make a choice in her life. Just as making the choice to write YA led me to tell the stories that swirl around my head all the time.

For those of you who are writers yourselves, you can find the first of my online workshops free here or sign up to my free online writing course on my website. Hopefully these writing ideas help you find the writer you’re meant to be a whole lot more quickly than I did.

Many thanks to Alice Kuipers
for sharing her writing with us,
 in Me (and) Me and in this guest blog post,
 and for allowing us a glimpse into her world.

If you would like to connect with author Alice Kuipers or partake in her worthwhile writing course online, check out her various links here:

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