I read Dear Teen Me a couple weeks ago, and it’s one of the most emotional experiences I’ve had reading all year. As someone who is well out of her teens, it took me back to those both good and bad days of being an adolescent. There’s a story for everyone, young and old, in Dear Teen Me. It’s great to see so that so many of my favorite authors were just like when we they were young.
Today, we have one of the editors, Miranda Kenneally, here to answer questions about the Dear Teen Me anthology. (We also have a special giveaway going on at the end of the post!) You might know Kenneally already from reading her popular YA novels, Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker.
The Young Folks: I love how Dear Teen Me started out from nostalgia and turned into this big thing. Why do you think that many people felt so compelled to write to and reconnect with their teen selves?
Miranda Kenneally : I think we all have regrets in our past, and while I think most of us are very happy to be where we are now, we all wonder “What if…?”
TYF: How was it like editing an anthology, especially one that is filled with such personal letters and stories?
MK: It was super hard. Each letter had to read like a story with a plot arc, so that readers can relate. I had to ask some authors to revise their letters. Asking authors to revise something that’s very personal to them was nerve wracking!
TYF: I like the idea of authors sharing their personal experiences of being a teenagers to their teenage audience. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the people behind your favorite stories were pretty much just like you when they were younger. What do you hope readers get from reading Dear Teen Me?
MK: There are stories for everybody in this book. We have authors who talk about bullying, drugs, eating disorders, being abandoned, first crushes, first sexual experiences, sexuality, regrets, skipping prom to go to the Grateful Dead concert, etc. I hope that no matter who a teen is and where they are in life, they can find something in this book they can relate to.
TYF: There’s a big anti-bullying movement that has emerged lately, which is great! This book is a wonderful compliment to that. But why do you think this is all happening now? Why not 5, 10, 15 years ago?
MK: 10-15 years ago, people were not on the internet as much as we are now, so we weren’t constantly bombarded with sad news stories, etc, back then. Now that we see constant news updates via Twitter and Facebook, we see horrific stories of bullying more frequently, too. The great thing about the internet is that people can find help and people can learn they’re not alone more easily than they could 10-15 years ago.
TYF: Many of our readers are teens, and they’re starting to think about what they want to do with their lives. Was choosing to be a writer something that came naturally to you, or did it take you a while to discover that?
MK: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old (I wrote these really terrible short stories about big families with lots of twins and triplets who all had Golden Retriever puppies), but it took a long time to develop the courage, the patience, and the work ethic to actually become an author.
TYF: What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given? Is there any other advice you’d like to share with young aspiring writers?
MK: The best piece of writing advice I ever got was from Becca Fitzpatrick (the author of HUSH, HUSH). She told me to write the story I want to tell and not worry about what other people want, or I’d end up writing books that might not fit together quite right.
My advice for aspiring writers is to read, read, read, and not to give up.
TYF: Because The Young Folks covers movies, music, and TV in addition to books, we usually like to ask what your current favorite film, album and/or song, book and TV show are. But I’d like to put a twist on that and ask: What were favorite movie, album and/or song, book and TV show when you were a teen?
MK: Favorite movie as a teen: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Favorite album: I *loved* NSync, the Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears!
Favorite TV show: Star Trek!
Thanks to Miranda Kenneally for answering our questions! To learn more about Dear Teen Me or where to purchase it (It’s out October 30th!), check out the links below!
Giveaway time! I’m giving away an ARC of Dear Teen Me to one lucky reader! Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below. The more tasks you complete, the entries you will receive. Contest ends Sunday, November 4th. The winner will be notified via email the next day. Good luck!
Thanks for reading/entering!