Why Do You Write for Young People Instead of Adults?

5 young adults lounge on the floor to sort playing cardsI ought to understand this question by now. After all, people usually mean well when they ask it. The same types sometimes ask teachers why they teach at a high school rather than a college. A genuinely curious bird might ask a fish why it doesn’t fly.

Yet, like the fish, I sort of don’t know how to answer. How can you explain to a bird what it’s like to swim?

I write for young people because I can. I like writing novels with exciting, high-stakes stories and complex characters who are grappling with horrible stresses and moral problems. I think language is beautiful when it is exact and concise, like the ring of milk that rises around the inside of a bowl. I like the terrified feeling I get when I experiment with an idea and I don’t know if readers will go with me or not. I admire the quick minds, courage, and honesty of my characters and their counterparts in the real world.

In short, I’m writing the best books that I possibly can.

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