I wanted to get published in high school, but I had a lot to learn. After spending years walking down a confusing, terrifying, and tear-filled road, I made my first sale to Revell. Not only did they buy the book we pitched, Me, Just Different, they asked for a three-book series, which later became The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt.
I received that phone call at age 24, and even though it happened while I was still quite young, I often found myself asking “What ifs.” Like, what if I’d been a part of a critique group sooner? I didn’t make my first writer friend until age 22, when I happened to hit it off with Erica Vetsch during a class at the Florida Christian Writers Conference. I wondered, what if I’d taken classes sooner than I did? What if I could’ve found someone to take the time to mentor me? What if I didn’t spend so many years alone as a writer?
Meanwhile, Me, Just Different released, and I began receiving emails from readers. One of the best parts of writing young adult fiction is the enthusiasm of the readers. Of receiving emails full of things like, “This is the best book ever!!!!!! Will Skylar and Connor wind up together?!?!?!?!” And it didn’t take long for me to pick up on a common theme among my emailers. Many of them were teens who loved to write, who hoped to be an author someday too. Many of them were in the same place I had been only 8 years earlier.
One night, about six months after Me, Just Different released, I was thinking about a girl who had been emailing me her writing questions. She opened every email with an apology, but I loved hearing from her. I loved being able to pass on what little knowledge I’d gleaned during my short time in the business. And then, as I scrubbed at a stubborn stained pot, the idea appeared—a blog for young, aspiring writers.
A year later, Go Teen Writers is a thriving, ever-growing community of writers. Most are teens, many are in their twenties, some are older. This year the posts focus on the process for writing a novel—from the spark of an idea to the final polish.
The writers who frequent Go Teen Writers continually amaze me. They’re polite, regularly telling me thank you, and often calling me Mrs. Morrill. They’re determined and disciplined; many of them run blogs of their own. And also, they’ve got skills. I don’t know if they believe me when I say it, but interacting with them is one of the coolest parts of my job. Sometimes I open up the blog and just look at it. Amazed that it exists, and that I’m a part of it. I invite you to stop by sometime and get a peek at the next generation of novelists.
I’m giving away one of the Skylar Hoyt novels—Me, Just Different, Out with the In Crowd, or So Over It—to someone, so leave a comment with which book you’d like.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels a few years ago and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects.
She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers and does so on her blog www.GoTeenWriters.com
To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com