Yesterday I posted my review of Kimberly Marcus' debut YA novel, Exposed. I'm not sure I did it much justice in my review though. This book struck me so profoundly that I can't really put into words what it meant to me, how I felt about it, and how amazing I felt it was. Today, as part of a blog tour, Ms. Marcus was gracious enough to stop by and share how she has "grown" into an author.
Looking back on my childhood, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I used to write poetry in my bedroom late at night as a little kid, mostly rhyming poems about my stuffed animals. When my grandmother started copying my poems in a little notebook she carried in her purse, I thought that was the closest I would come to being “published” and that was good enough for me because my grandma loved my words. During my teen years, I filled journals with poems about love, loss, friendship and fitting in. I didn’t share my work much. I was writing for a girl who was trying to understand herself and her world—I was writing for me.
I was also reading, always reading. I loved the connection I felt to the characters as an author took me on a journey. I still do. For me, good books are all about that connection. My reading tastes evolved as I grew older—from Dr. Seuss to Laura Ingalls Wilder and Judy Blume, to psychological thrillers and mysteries and memoirs—though young adult novels are still my favorite books to read. I love how books transport me, how the best ones let me inhabit a character and see the world through that character’s eyes, through that character’s heart.
After graduate school, I worked for years as a child and adolescent therapist. It wasn’t until I had two children of my own that I thought about writing for publication. I entered a graduate certificate program in picture book writing at Emerson College in Boston, joined a local writers’ organization, and attended writing conferences. I built up a stack of rejection letters from publishing houses but kept on writing, kept on revising, kept working hard on developing my skills. I continued to write picture books but, with an editor’s encouragement, I also tried my hand at writing a novel for teens. That novel, years later, became Exposed. That book may have hit the shelves first, but it wasn’t the first book I sold.
I love the balance I’ve found in writing for both young children and young adults. And I love hearing from readers who have connected, in some way, to the stories I write. It’s like coming full circle.
Thank you Kimberly Marcus for stopping by today and for a phenomenal debut novel. Thanks also for the connection I made with this book and it's characters. You're right, good books are all about connections! This one truly moved me and I can't wait to read more of your works. By the way, I also read and review children's books like Scritch-Scratch a Perfect Match; I'd be honored to read it! Thanks again!
You can find Kimberly Marcus online at her website and on Twitter.