I have a deep respect for young people and a passion to encourage them in any way I can.
Having watched my grandsons in their struggles, several without fathers in the home to guide them, I feel a need to reach out to them. Of course a hug, a smile and loving concern is the best way, but I also wanted to give them a connection to what helped me as a child their age. A story.
The transition from youthful innocence into adulthood can be rocky- that turbulent stage of life when their questions are almost too disturbing to answer.
When I was 13 I read far beyond my years. Shakespeare’s dark and alluring prose intrigued me. I could relate to the deep inner struggles of a suffering Hamlet. The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet pulled my heartstrings, and Macbeth terrified me, beckoning me to question my own existence. I read dark and stormy stories like The Last of the Mohicans, The Scarlet Letter,The Count of Monte Cristo, Don Juan, and poetry by Edgar Allen Poe. Why?
That same question is asked by many parents when they contemplate their own children reading series like The Hunger Games and Zombie invasions.
Why are dark disturbing stories attracting youngsters?
My only response is that our young people are looking for answers to the human condition.
Young teenagers are stepping into a world that for them is no longer a My Favorite Pony and Princess Bride bubble. They sense a dark side to existence. A side they see their parents struggle in. Adolescents are aware that they’ve been alienated from the darker side of truth in their childhood. They not only want to know what life is about, they have an inner need to know what they will be tackling in the near future.
Our society would like our young people to think that getting a good education and a good job should be their only concern. Of course those initiatives are appropriate. Parents should encourage their children to pursue success.
But there’s more to life .
I remember arguing with my parents, insisting that I did not want to merely have a nice house, a job, watching TV and being ‘content’ with a shallow existence. I wanted more than that. I don’t think I am alone.There’s another appetite to feed.
At an early age, children question relationships with one another and with their parents. They contemplate world peace or why there are world wars, they struggle with love and hate, they decide their own morality or immorality, and most importantly they meditate on life and death.
My books are adventure fantasy-stories about make believe worlds. The characters are very human and face the same issues we do. Their struggles are believable. The most important aspect of these novels is that they offer hope because from what I’ve experienced, that’s what teenagers need the most.
Young people need to be assured that they will face darkness. Negative things will happen in their lives, if not already. We as adults shouldn’t try to shield them from that truth. Children can sense it. Young people will reject those lies and think less of you for telling them.
Teens know they face an unknown future. Alone. It isn’t news to them.
What I believe is important in writing for this age group is to encourage integrity, honor and courage so they have the tools they need to face the darkness life throws at them. And to give them hope. They need to know there’s a lantern burning, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s that light that keeps us all moving forward.
The Ian’s Realm Saga