Kids have asked me why I became a writer so many times I could never count them all. That, along with where do your ideas come from, how old are you and how much do you make, is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions I receive during school visits. (For the record, my ideas come from my life, my kids’ lives, things I see around me, and just about anywhere; I’m old enough to be the mom to any kid in the room and probably some of the teachers, and the income all depends on how many books I’ve sold that year). Usually, I tell kids I write because I want kids to learn to love reading as much as I do. And that’s the truth. But if I’m being honest, writing is a control thing for me. I think being a control freak is something many writers have in common. In my books, I make sure the bad guys get theirs in the end, that the hero is rewarded, and that kids have a semblance of power over their own lives. Let’s face it, when I write I create a universe of my own design, I can make the kid characters do exactly what I want them to do (something my own kids have never done!). The ability to spread laughter, kindness and fairness throughout my little fictional societies has been the thing that has carried me through difficult times over and over again. So, while kids my benefit from reading my books (and I hope they really bring them joy), no one has benefitted more than I have by writing them. At times of personal or political despair, no one is more of a friend to me than a boy who burps, or a princess who dares to pursue knighthood, or a chicken who wants to know of a life outside the coop.
I guess the next time a kid asks me why I write, I’ll have a better answer.