Teen Seen-Brittany

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For awhile now, I’ve wanted to start doing teen interviews.  I’ve had the urge to do this for a couple reasons. The first is that I’m fortunate enough to know some very amazing teens and they always astound me.  The more I learn about them–the more I want to learn.  In fact, I’m usually so impressed, I want to share them with the rest of the world.  

There is a second reason I decided to do this kind of an interview–I write for teens and I’m friends with a whole bunch of folks who do the same thing. *grin*  I know for a fact that they’re always looking for ways to get into the heads of young adults.  As YA writers, we always want to know teenagers as readers, but we also want to dissect them and use their parts in our writing. I mean this in a completely non-bloody, kinda nice way.

I hope you love what can happen when a teen can be seen…

Brittany is a little bit unusual in that she is going to remain incognito while she is being “seen.” LOL!  I’ll explain why–Brittany is a 13 year old blogger and aspiring author who doesn’t have any pictures of herself on the internet yet.  (Smart girl)  She’s staying anonymous until she’s a little older, but has assured me that she is not a creepy old man in a basement somewhere, pretending to be a teenage girl.  Phew!  Brittany and I got to know each other when she did a wonderful interview on her blog, Hills and Corkscrews, about my friend and agency sistah Monica BW.  She intrigued me right from the start and I know she’s going to capture your attention too.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a 13-year-old writer who loves blogging and reading (and writing of course). I’m a big reader of MG and YA fiction, mostly fantasy and mysteries, but whatever I else I can find. I write mostly the same kind of novels that I read. I’m a pretty good procrastinator but I love participating in NaNo WriMo. I’m a dog person, a bit nerdy, and I have a newfound love of Doctor Who. 🙂

I know this is question over load, but I can’t help myself.  How did you get into to blogging?  Was it hard to get started?  Do people take you seriously as a 13 year old?   I personally find teen bloggers fascinating but I was wondering what your perspective has been?

I got into blogging when I followed Paperback Writer (the first blog I followed), and I eventually made a Blogger account. It was a bit hard to get started, since I had to find my blogging voice (which I’m still working on), and since I didn’t have many readers. 

When I first started out I didn’t say how old I was. No one suspected that I was younger (as far as I know). I can’t really remember why I didn’t say my age, but eventually, I decided to in this blog post in August 2010. I felt a lot better afterwards, and it gave my blog sort of a uniqueness, since I was talking from a teenage perspective.

So I think people took me seriously because I’d already established myself as a mature, determined writer, before I told them how old I was. I know there are some writers who don’t take teen writers/bloggers seriously for a bunch of different reasons (like no life experience, or too young to handle the publishing business), but I don’t think people should consider teenagers as one big group. We’re all individuals, with different experiences and personalities, and I’ve noticed that most teen bloggers and writers are very mature and smart compared to average teens.

Hmmm, my perspective. I’ve noticed that adult writers are sometimes a bit nicer to teen bloggers (which is nice!). 🙂 I’ve done a few interviews with other writers on my blog and they’ve always been really nice to me. I don’t think being a teen blogger necessarily gets you more followers or anything. You still have to work like adult bloggers, maybe even a little harder.

Can you tell me a little bit about your own writing?  Do you have a WIP?  Have you ever submitted?  Do you have a plan for your writing?
I’ve written four novels, some short stories, and lots of beginnings of novels. I’ve been taking a sort of writing vacation (yeah, I’m just being really lazy) since NaNo WriMo, but I’m about to start revising a novel that I wrote last summer, so that’s my WiP. I’m also working on a couple short stories to submit to contests. Two of my novels were written during NaNo WriMo and the fourth (my first novel) was written during a NaNo spin-off in January.

I haven’t submitted yet, and I plan on writing a lot more for at least a few more years until I try to get an agent. I need a lot more practice before my writing is publishable, so that’s what my plan is. 

Wow–when I was your age I wanted to be a writer, but I never had the courage to pursue it the way you are at such a young age.  Is it helpful, l that through technology, authors are so much more accessible than they used to be?  I was also wondering if you let your friends read/critique your writing? Do your teachers mentor you?   Or do you have a different method for getting feedback and improving your craft?
It’s very helpful that authors are more accessible. I’ve read lots of author blogs and they’re very inspirational and have some great advice. My friends don’t know that I write except a few of them and they haven’t read anything except what I’ve written for school. Some of my old teachers knew that I wrote because when I got a story published in a magazine my mom sent them all copies. 🙂 I guess I don’t have any real-life mentors or beta readers yet (and I don’t really trust my family to give good feedback). I used to be active on writing forums and post my work there but I’ve taken a break from that for now. When I need beta readers or critique partners I’m planning on joining Absolute Write and asking for beta readers there and asking for beta readers through my blog. 

As for improving my craft, I try to read as much as I can, and I read a lot of tips about writing on the internet, in books about writing, and on other websites. I also realized that when I was active on writing forums and critiquing a lot, critiquing someone else’s writing really helped improve mine the next time I wrote.

I’m going to take a moment and pick my jaw up off the floor.  I can’t believe how put together you are at your age and how much of a goober I still am at mine.  So what do you do outside the world of writing, reading and blogging?  Please don’t tell me you’re close to discovering a cure for cancer too!!!!  :o)
Haha, it’s all right. I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing half the time! 🙂 No, I’m not discovering cures for cancer, just doing normal stuff. I’m not especially athletic but I like tennis, basketball, biking, and softball. Obviously since I’m a writer, I’m more of an artsy person than anything else. I love drawing even though I’m not so great at it, and I’m a big movie person. I don’t watch much TV but I’ve recently become a Doctor Who fan. I also play piano and I’m pretty busy during the school year with some extra-curricular activities. (As for school, I don’t really like middle school very much but I only have one year left!) 
Sorry about middle school.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it gets better for you.  There is a lot of conversation on the airways right now about the Wall Street Journal article about Darkness in YA literature and the concept of  #YAsaves.  I was wondering if you had any thoughts on this.   I also like to ask my teen seen interviewees what us writers are getting wrong.  Any thing we’re really missing or way off base on?
I hadn’t actually heard of the WSJ article until you mentioned it, so I googled it and yes, I have been hearing about the issue a lot, especially on agent and author blogs. 

I’m sure there are a lot of people who are better at giving their side than I am, but I think that the whole idea of parents and librarians trying to protect teens from all these “dark” YA novels is kind of silly. I know I’m only in middle school, but I’ve heard things at school that are a lot worse than what I’ve read in YA. I don’t think the problem is YA fiction, but I also don’t think that including dark themes in your novel for the sake of being “edgy” is any good.

Anyway, my point is that in good YA, a lot of the dark themes (for example, the book Wintergirls, which deals with anorexia and self-injury) are realistic. Girls do become anorexic. Some of them die. It happens. The point of books like these isn’t to be edgy, it’s to show how certain things can affect your life (like anorexia). I think books like these can change lives. They mean a lot to people who are struggling with these issues, people who can identify with the main character.

I don’t think YA should all be clean and PG, as if things like this don’t happen. In the real world, dark(er) things happen, and that’s what some YA novels try to show. That’s all. (This is getting so long I could turn it into a blog post. Anyway.)

Onto your second question: I think there’s a lot of female main characters with one or two best friends that she’s known since kindergarten, and they’re all super-close like sisters and everything. Not everyone has just one or two friends, and I’d like to see some more variety. Also, I think teens are sometimes portrayed as a lot meaner than we actually are. 🙂

I love your answer!!!!!  I also agree with you–there are some mean kids out there, but there are some really amazing ones out there too.  Slice of life.  
Wondering if you have a special writer that you look up to? Someone that would turn you into a blubbering fan-girl if you ever met them face to face.  And why are they so amazing to you, so influential?

I have lots of writers I’d love to meet, but two people in particular would turn me into a blubbering fan-girl if I ever met them: John and Hank Green. Hank isn’t a writer but John is. They have a popular YouTube channel called the vlogbrothers, and I highly recommend that everyone check them out.

John and Hank started a project called Brotherhood 2.0 in 2007 and over time developed a community called nerdfighteria: a community of people who are nerds and proud of it.

John and Hank are amazing and influential to me because… well, for lots of reasons. They’re proud of who they are, they’re entertaining, intelligent, funny, and genuinely good people. I admire them very much and I’d LOVE to meet them.

The good thing is that it’s possible to meet them, unlike someone like J.K Rowling. John’s latest book is coming out somewhere around May next year and I think they said in one of their videos that they’ll be doing some kind of tour around then, so I’m excited.

LOVE John Green and heard wonderful things about him and the Nerdfighters.  An Abundance of Katherines is on of my favorite books evah!  So last question–tell one last thing we don’t know about you…

Hmmm, something you don’t know about me. I have a fear of heights. I don’t like roller coasters or standing at the top floors of skyscrapers and looking down. I’m trying to overcome my fear, slowly. 🙂
Brittany, I look forward to watching all the places you go in the future.  I have a feeling you’re going to be on top.  Thank you so much for letting us get to know you better.  If you want to find out more about Brittany and her writing, check out her wonderful blog Hills and Corkscrews.



7 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. What a lovely interview! Brittany, you are mature beyond your years. I predict great success for you. 🙂

    P.S. I love Doctor Who and hate roller coasters, too.

  2. Thanks, Linda! (And thanks again for interviewing me, Kim!)

    Oh, and yay for roller coaster-hating Whovians! 🙂

  3. P.S- 1,344 liked the page "I hate roller coasters" on Facebook, as opposed to the 79k people who liked the page "roller coasters". We're just as alone as I thought. 🙂

  4. Great interview!

    I agree, dark themes just for the sake of having a dark theme isn't a good way of taking on an issue.

    I've watched a few videos by the vlogbrothers; they always crack me up. 🙂

  5. Ha! Roller coaster soul mates!!! I loved getting to know you Brittany and Golden Eagle, I agree too!

  6. Hey Brittany and K-pop!!!
    I was waiting for this interview, you know? I'm happy it was up today!
    And would you kill me if I admit that I've never seen Dr. Who?

    Brittany: can I just say I'm jealous that you figured out you wanted to write so early! CONGRATS! <3

  7. I'm kind of a new Doctor Who fan (I've only seen two seasons that I rented from the library), but you should definitely check it out! And thanks!

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