The Breakup Bible and Darlings series author Melissa Kantor is part of the Reluctant Readers Panel at the IRA Annual Convention on Monday, April 30. In this Reading Today interview she talks about writing for young adults as well as teaching them for over 17 years.
Reading Today: What got you interested in writing books for children and/or young adults?
Melissa Kantor: The short answer is that I had a friend from high school who was a YA editor and she encouraged me to try my hand at writing YA. The longer answer (or the answer to why I keep writing YA as opposed to how I started writing it) is that I find writing about high school students fascinating. Their troubles (so easy to minimize from the distance and perspective provided by adulthood) are all-consuming and their freedoms so limited. As a writer, you couldn't ask for a more desirable set of circumstances out of which to create a story. I wrote a piece called "Why I write YA" that goes into this in more detail, and it's available here.
RT: What do consider your best book to date and why?
MK: It's funny because only now that I have a bunch of books out do I understand that one's books are not like one's children: you don't have to love them all equally. Hard as I have tried, some books just never came together the way I'd hoped or imagined they would. The two books where I think I came the closest to getting it right (in other words, to creating the book I had in my head) are definitely The Breakup Bible and If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? The funny thing is that one was the easiest book I've written and the other was the most challenging.
RT: What can attendees at IRA Chicago expect to hear from you?
MK: In addition to being a writer, I've been a high school and middle school English teacher for seventeen years. My love of YA has helped me to get my students reading, and I'm excited to talk about what I've done to turn reluctant readers into passionate readers and how other teachers might use some of my ideas in their classrooms.
Visit http://melissakantor.com/ for details about Kantor. Also read her recent column on the Engage Teacher to Teacher blog. For more information about the 2012 IRA Annual Convention in Chicago from April 29 to May 2, visit www.iraconvention.org.
Melissa Kantor Will Be There…Will You?