Being a teenage girl was hard: school, parents, just generally having a head on top of a body. I’ve had a little distance from those years, but I haven’t forgotten how rocky they were, or how the right book could throw me a life raft as I navigated the salty teen seas of body pressures, boy pressures, balancing-a-gazillion-things pressures. I love writing for young adults because I get to tap into those years, channel some of my feelings and experiences into fiction with the hopes of writing books that reflect the messiness of growing up, especially growing up a girl.
In my second book, Dear Universe, Chamomile is an eighteen year old girl who feels like she’s living in two worlds: one involves senior year and graduation and friends and boyfriends and the other world is her home life where her dad is dying of Parkinson’s Disease. It took almost three years to write this book. It’s raw and personal, as I drew from my own experience of having a dad with a degenerative illness. In setting out to write this story, I wanted a female character who was real, who didn’t always do the right thing, and certainly didn’t have perfectly contained emotions. One of the narratives I’d unknowingly swallowed as a teen of our patriarchal society is that angry girls are crazy girls. Girls can’t get mad without being called insane, impolite, volatile, uncivilized. While sadness is a fine emotion for a girl – tears, trembling lips, dripping mascara - anger is a taboo response, especially to something like a sick parent.