Guest Blogger: Sarah Anne Sumpolec
My first book idea grew out of my work with our church's youth group. I tried going to Women's Bible Studies and do all the grown up things, but I always felt called to care for the youth. So writing for them simply became a natural extension of what I already loved to do.
Even now, I spend more than twelve hours a week hanging out with eighty kids and teens at our local Christian Youth Theater. I like being around them. I love to encourage them. And I want to do all I can to help them as they grow in Christ. My own teen years were tough (whose weren't?) and I didn't have anyone to talk to or turn to. I simply want to be available to these teens. You just never know when you might get the chance to offer a few life-giving words from God.
So who I am as a person, and who I am as a writer are hopelessly intertwined. I've written five novels for teens and over and over, God has shown me how a simple story can affect the lives of teenagers. But they need more. I've lost track of how many letters I've gotten where a teen wrote, "I read all five of your books last week." Teens are hungry for truth and stories that they can relate to. They need more great stuff to read that is written for them, by people who care about them.
The YA market can be tough. But we can't write because a certain market is booming. We must write out of our God-given passions and that's what YA is for me — a passion. So yes, I realize that Amish books sell really well, but I'm staying in high school. It's where I belong.