There’s a myriad of reasons; I’ll try to boil it down to three.
- C.S. Lewis. Roald Dahl. Arthur Ransome. L.M. Montgomery. Louisa May Alcott. These, and countless others, have stuck with me through all of life, and still shape largely how I look at the world. I read them all as a child, and they have never left me. I want to be the kind of writer who tells the stories that stick with a person from childhood on, who is able to write characters who become lifelong friends of a reader, and who tells truth in a way that shapes how they look at the world the rest of her life.
- I had a childhood fraught with chaos and instability. Books and nature were my two places of safety. Books gave meaning to the chaos and held forth the promise that there’s a grand design to all of it leading to a happy ending. And nature gave me the landscape on which I invented my own stories and acted them out. I want to write the stories that reshape the chaos of my reader’s life, that give them a place to go for safety, just like I found when I was that age.
- I believe that there is meaning in the chaos and suffering we all go through. The old adage, “everything happens for a reason,” is true. Our lives are stories. Not especially linear ones, and not all of them come to a happy conclusion, but the choices we make lend meaning to our lives. I want to convey that through my stories, to make that clear to my readers, so that they have the courage to face life’s pains and sorrows and know that there’s a design to it, if they’ll find it and follow it.
Because I work with so many kids who go through things they should never experience, these reasons stand out the most clearly to me. They drive everything I create.