Hi everyone! We're very excited to have Katrina Leno on the blog today to discuss her literary journey to becoming a YA author. Her debut, The Half Life of Molly Pierce, came out on July 8th and it's our pleasure to host this amazing guest post and share it with all of you. Read on to learn more about Katrina Leno and join in for a chance to win a copy of The Half Life of Molly Pierce from the author herself!
I hope this doesn't sound too presumptuous, but I was always going to be a writer. I knew this like I knew other basic things about me. I had blue eyes. I spent almost every afternoon in the library. I liked being alone. I was going to be a writer.
It was just something I always did, something I always had. I wrote for fun, at first. I wrote because I wanted to.
When I was twelve, things got darker. I went to the doctor for headaches and he referred my parents to a psychologist. I was diagnosed with depression and put on pills that clouded my mind. Medication is a good, positive thing for some people, but it never worked for me. I reacted poorly and my mother flushed my pills down the toilet.
It was then that I turned to writing as a form of therapy. I wrote poetry, kept a journal, dashed off short stories when I should have been paying attention in class. My mental state improved because I was getting all the bad thoughts out. I had an outlet for my sadness. I didn’t feel quite so alone, because I was writing characters and situations I could relate to.
Things got better, and I kept writing. I entered contests and sometimes won, although I didn’t care so much about sharing my work. It wasn’t yet about that. I wasn’t ready.
When I was a young adult I wrote YA because it was all I knew. But then I got a little older and my writing stayed firmly YA. My protagonists weren’t getting older, and I was fine with that. My teenage years were so very difficult; it made sense that I was still exploring them in my work.
There have been bumps in the road. My own insecurities kept me from growing and evolving. I kept putting off the inevitable submission process. I should have been doing so much more. I was amassing stockpiles of stories and novel ideas and plays and scripts and I was too scared of rejection to risk showing them to anyone. But you know, if you’re not risking rejection, you’re definitely not risking success. Nope, success will be firmly out of your reach.
So I got over it. I decided to take a massive leap and finish the road trip I’d been on for the past couple decades. I quit my job. I wrote a book. I got an agent. I got a publishing deal.
I can’t help but wonder where I’d be if I’d done all this sooner, but there’s really no use wondering. It took me a long time to get here, but I think I needed that time. I needed to be ready. And I’m ready now.
Also, I can tie my shoes.