Although I’ve never imagined writing a young adult novel, I had the idea for one that came to me out of nowhere. Like I’ve said before, I heard this voice in my head while showering. It was all I could do to stay there and not jump out dripping wet to write down the words I heard.
Somehow, I knew right away that her name was Portia. I also knew that she was an albino. I also knew that she’d moved around the country, because her dad was with the military. On top of that, I knew she was really smart, well-read, sensitive, alienated – I knew she’d want to make friends with the cool kids. I set up a situation in which the popular girl at school makes her an offer she can’t refuse. That all came to me in a rush.
The idea of inserting a spying angle into the plot came as I developed the storyline. Although I wouldn’t call the book a spy thriller, I used Portia’s spying as a way of upping the suspense, as well as exploring the ethical problems of being a spy.
Here are a few of my favorite young adult and coming-of-age books: