When I was in Kindergarten, I was so shy I didn’t speak to people.
No, really. This was a “social problem” problematic enough to warrant holding me back a grade—putting me instead in a “special” class for socially underdeveloped kids. Even then, I refused to speak. Why? It’s simple: I didn’t want to talk to anybody. The end.
With my grades above average, teachers struggled with where to go from there. There wasn’t a question the teacher asked without directing it specifically at me: “Anna? What are your thoughts?” My reply was always in the form of gritted teeth, a semi-tearful stare, and the mental plead: Stop talking to me. Stop looking at me.
And don’t think my peers didn’t take advantage of my shyness. They did.
Cutting to the chase: I was reluctantly passed into the next grade, given the fact that academically I was scoring just fine, but I still was extremely, abnormally shy.
But things started changing. I started reading. I don’t even recall struggling with it. The first book I read enough to wear the covers off their creases was Roald Dahl’s The BFG. I loved that book—so much, it was beyond my control, and I started talking to people about it.
My lust for books only amplified. I still was disengaged socially, but I started volunteering to read in class. I’ll never forget the look on my teacher’s face when I asked if I could read the rest of Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner aloud to the class, all the way through to the end—and when she wouldn’t let me, I read it anyway while she went on to lecture (about whatever elementary school teachers do). She didn’t figure it out until I burst out crying, hysterically, over Searchlight’s death.
“This is the girl who won’t speak to her peers,” I remember my teacher telling my Mom. “Yet she’s volunteering to read books aloud? She’s making a lot of progress. Keep her reading.”
And so I did. And I started writing, too. I starting pumping out books that I’d force my mother to get bound and made to look professional. I made my own Vanity Shelf before realizing what the hell that even was. Whenever I was sad, I’d read books, and if there wasn’t one that suited my fancy, I’d write it myself. Somehow, they were always stories about underdogs prevailing.
Maybe because I’ve always felt like the underdog.
You know that saying—the one that claims writers keep writing the same story, just different versions of it? I think this is my story to retell: Finding self-worth despite your differences. Prevailing against the adversity of being you in a world of so many them-s.
That’s the story I’m trying to get representation for now. Yes, it’s a story that’s a little scary, a little bit gory, a little bit abstract. But that’s what I like. I wanted to portray a realistic post-apocalyptic world with war-like attributes and stakes so high, they flew higher than life-and-death. But ultimately I wanted to tell the story of a girl who was declared deficient in ways she couldn’t help, in ways she couldn’t ever change, but who fought on anyway.
Eos Europa isn’t who I am, but she’s the spirit of what kept me going when I was young. She’s the person I told myself I could be. She came to me in a dream: Hands pressed against a cold window, the glow of breath swelling against the glass as she gazed out of a spaceship she was born in, at Earth.
So, long story short, I wrote Eos’s story. It’s the first story I’ve ever queried. It’s the first story I hope to publish.
For more amazing “Why I wrote my PW novel” blogs, go here!
Carleen Karanovic: HOPE ON A FEATHER
Heather Truett: RENASCENCE
Tracie Martin: WILD IS THE WIND
Susan Bickford: FRAMED
Rachel Sarah: RULES FOR RUNNING AWAY
Amanda Rawson Hill: GRIMM AND BEAR IT
Charlotte Gruber: CODE OF SILENCE
Kip Wilson: THE MOST DAZZLING GIRL IN BERLIN
Mary Ann Nicholson: CALAMITY
Nikki Roberti: THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO-SHOES
A. Reynolds: LE CIRQUE DU LITERATI
Susan Crispell: WISHES TO NOWHERE
Ron Walters: THE GOLEM INITIATIVE
Rosalyn Eves: THE BLOOD ROSE REBELLION
Ashley Poston: HEART OF IRON
Mara Rutherford: WINTERSOUL
Janet Walden-West: Damned If She Do
Kazul Wolf: SUMMER THUNDER
D. Grimm: WITCHER
Kelli Newby: THORNVAAL
Tara Sim: TIMEKEEPER
Elliah Terry: POCKET FULL OF POPPIES
Alessa Hinlo: THE HONEST THIEF
Rachel Horwitz: THE BOOTLEGGER’S BIBLE
Whitney Taylor: DEFINITIONS OF INDEFINABLE THINGS
Lyra Selene: REVERIE
Natalie Williamson: SET IN STONE
Robin Lemke: THE DANCE OF THE PALMS
Stephanie Herman: CLIFF WITH NO EDGE
Shannon Cooley: A FROG, A WHISTLE, AND A VIAL OF SAND
Ruth Anne Snow: THE GIRLS OF MARCH
Elizabeth Dimit: PHOEBE FRANZ’S GUIDE TO PASSPORTS, PAGEANTS, & PARENTAL DISASTERS
Elliah Terry: POCKET FULL OF POPPIES
Gwen C. Katz: AMONG THE RED STARS
Jennifer Hawkins: FALSE START
Kelly DeVos: THE WHITE LEHUA