Honestly, I had a happy childhood. (Really, Mom and Dad--ideal! Very, very happy!) Adolescence...not so much. Steph and I were talking about high school (mostly about boys--the ones we dated, the ones we didn't, the ones we did and wished we didn't) and laughing about ourselves, something along the lines of why on earth we WRITE teenagers when we were both so miserable as them.
But here's what we discovered: We don't write YA because we can't get over our teenage years. We're over them. Really. Thank heavens. We write YA because we remember so clearly what it felt like to be there. We remember how confusing it was, how exciting it was, how bad it hurt, how much we wanted things we couldn't and probably shouldn't have had, how much we thought we knew and how hard it was when we learned the things we didn't.
Interestingly enough, Steph and I both met our husbands when we were teenagers, and both made decisions then that would set the course for our entire futures. So we definitely don't talk down to teenagers--you MATTER. What you are choosing right now, how you are living right now? It matters. And that is what is so compelling, so wonderful. Everything is huge and new and important, but you still get to be silly, you still get to screw up, you still get to goof off. I love the raw emotions of adolescence, the slipperiness of self, the angst of trying to figure out where you fit and where you want to fit.
In short, I'm glad I am who and where I am, and I'm glad I don't have to go through what I did to get here ever, ever again. But I didn't forget that process, and I don't want to. Being a teenager sucks, but it's also a beautiful, confusing, wonderful, exciting, heartbreaking thing.
And THAT is what I want to write about, and who I want to write for. And that's why the voices in my head that tell me stories are teenage voices. I wouldn't have it any other way.