Welcome to the Blogging Blitz!
Please welcome my guest K. Vann O’Brien, author of Wildfire now available on Amazon.com.
When I published my book, Wildfire, last year, one reviewer was upset by the presence of domestic abuse in a Young Adult novel. She was also shocked to find narrow-mindedness and racism.
And the question that popped into my head when I read the review was: where the hell did you grow up?
I led a pretty sheltered life as a young adult. We lived in a self-contained small southern town, my parents were slightly over-shielding, and I grew up with friends who were smart, loyal and protective.
And even in this little bubble of mine, I experienced narrow-mindedness, racism and domestic abuse. These were part of my reality. If not directly, then obliquely, with other kids I knew. And these challenges are a definitive part of reality for teens these days too.
The only difference now is this: kids today aren’t quite as sheltered. The internet has given them a unique opportunity to invite knowledge – and ignorance – into their lives. And the internet is accessible anywhere – not just at home, but on their phones, in their schools, at their friend’s houses. I challenge you to go out in public today and find a teen without a mobile device attached to at least one appendage. It provides for a challenging round of Where’s Waldo (one of those games we used to find entertaining pre-broadband) – it’s a relatively impossible puzzle to solve.
You wouldn’t write a contemporary novel without the inclusion of TV or cell phones or the internet – because these are firm inclusions in teen’s lives today (unless you write for the Amish genre – and yes, there is one). So why would you write a book that didn’t embrace the pain teens face daily – the challenges that keep them up at night, or make them feign sickness to stay home from school?
That being said, I fully enjoy the popular paranormal/dystopian novels that take our minds away from everyday challenges. Escapism is a beautiful thing. And escapism through reading is bliss. But with every vampire/werewolf/wizard novel on the market, I believe a contemporary novel with realistic challenges is called for. Kids go through a lot every day, and they deserve to read a book that is smart, that does not speak down to them, that helps them feel not so alone in this big world.
I love getting reviews. Even bad ones. Because any interaction with the audience is good. This is about an exchange of ideas. And not everyone is going to love your ideas. But the important thing is – you can’t let reviews dictate how you write your next novel. I can’t ever imagine myself writing a book without the inclusion of narrow-mindedness. Because, what better way to convey the character of a human being than to put them up against ignorance and see how they fare?
In Wildfire, Savanna initially ignores the ignorance she faces, but as she grows as a character, she learns to fight back and, eventually, to be at peace with herself and the bigotry around her. What she comes to learn is, if you look closely enough, you can see that – while ignorance is all around – so is beauty and love. You just have to wade through some witlessness sometimes to get there.
Wildfire is available now for $2.99 on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Wildfire-ebook/dp/B009MQUHYW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350652523&sr=8-1&keywords=k+vann+obrien)
Thanks for tuning in!!!