Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Becoming a YA author

My journey to becoming an author of a young adult novel began when I was born.

Don't panic. This isn't a novel--it's a blog. I'll get to the point. I was born dyslexic. Simply put, dyslexia means that my brain doesn't process information in the same way as a so-called "normal" brain. (To learn more about dyslexia, I highly recommend Ronald D. Davis' book The Gift of Dyslexia.) I spent too many years thinking the differences in my brain meant that it I was stupid.

My grandmother helped me see that perhaps I was capable of success. To honour her memory, I wrote the short story Because She Believed In Me. This story was first published in the Island Writer literary journal and I've also read it over the radio. Following this success, I decided to submit it to Kaleidoscope -- a magazine that champions the disabled. Renamed If Not for Her, my story appeared in this magazine in January, 2011.

Orca Publishing's prolific author, Robin Stevenson, gave me feedback regarding this story. She encouraged me to write more about my experiences as a dyslexic.

After many false starts and half finished stories I began to write about my time as a Katimavik volunteer. (Katimavik is a nine-month government-run national service youth program for participants 17 to 21 years of age.) For me, Katimavik was not only life-changing but also provided insight into the disabled in general and especially into my own disability. While in Katimavik, I wrote 'limitations on my accomplishments are only set by my inability to accept the fact that I can succeed.'

Thanks to my grandmother and others who have helped me along the way, I have been successful. I'm currently working on revising my young adult adventure. I can't wait to share this story with you.
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