Friday, 11 July 2014

Passion, Rebellion & Discovery

EDGE Author Sara Grant
shares why she writes teen books

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Charles Dickens could have been talking about my high school experience.

A page from my senior yearbook.
Gotta love the 80s!
I don’t write teen fiction because I long to return to the ‘glory days’ of my youth. In many ways my teen years were the toughest – a bizarre mix of hope for my future oddly twisted with angst and despair. I was sure I could change the world if it didn’t steamroll me first. I experienced the thrill of a crush and the devastation of rejection. My first love. First kiss. First heartbreak. First failures. First success.

So why do I write teen fiction?

I write for this age range because the teen years are a time of rebellion and discovery. You are figuring it all out, asking big questions and challenging anything and everything.

For me, writing has always been about imagination and exploration. I wrote poetry when I was a teen to uncover what I was thinking and feeling. (I can still quote a few stanzas from my poems titled Tomorrow Never Comes and Unrequited Love. Those may not have been from my happiest days.) Now I write stories with an undercurrent of the issues I want to explore. Just like when I was a teen, I write not because I have the answers but because I’m interested in the questions.

My visit to Haslett (Michigan) High School.
Some of my favourite books are the ones I read as a teenager. Those books helped me discover the world and challenged my thinking. I cherish those first experiences of finding myself and losing myself in a story. One of the pleasures of being a published writer of teen fiction is being on the other side of that reading experience. Teen readers love or hate your book and aren’t afraid to tell you. I enjoy getting emails from teen readers: ‘your book changed my life’, ‘I’m your number one biggest fan’. And there’s the dark side of teen reviews: ‘words cannot express how much I loathed this book’. Wow! At least I’ve inspired passion.

I love writing for teens and I also love working with teen writers. It’s such a privilege to visit schools and libraries. All writers know the thrill of crafting a good story, but I’ve discovered an even bigger high – helping a young writer find his or her voice and discovering the power of storytelling.

Dave Cousins and I at Hemel Hempstead Library.
Whenever I’m asked the question, why do you write for teens? (Or the more dreaded question: Will you ever write grown-up fiction?) I suppose I wonder why -- when there’s so much passion, rebellion and discovery in teen fiction -- why would I write anything else?

For more about Sara and her books, visit her website at or follow her on Twitter @AuthorSaraGrant


  1. I completely agree, Sara! Inspiring teens to read is hugely rewarding. I write for teens because I love it - that's my writing voice at the moment, so I'm going with it!

  2. "I write not because I have the answers but because I’m interested in the questions." How, I love that! It sums it all up in one sentence!