I'm PROJECT MAYHEM newbie Caroline Starr Rose! For my first post here, I thought it might be helpful to share a bit about myself and why I’m so passionate about middle grade books. This is a portion of an interview I did in December 2009 at Valerie Geary’s Something To Write About.
What is your favorite part about writing Middle Grade fiction?
I love being able to validate children through story, their experiences, fears, and dreams. Books are a place we get to examine life intentionally, its big events and small. Writing for children allows me to share the profundity of the ordinary, small moments that make up our lives.
What is the hardest part about writing Middle Grade fiction?
It’s really important to make sure my voice is authentic and my tone is respectful. The writing must be super tight. Children’s authors don’t have the luxury of wandering through a story. The approach must be direct, crisp, and streamlined. That doesn’t mean the writing is bare bones, just that every word counts.
What is one thing people misunderstand about Middle Grade fiction?
A lot of people don’t realize mid-grade fiction has literary merit. I love it when I can convince an adult to pick up a mid-grade novel. It’s even better when I find out they love it. I convinced a book club I was once a part of to include a mid-grade title on every yearly list. I remember Holes and Carry On, Mr. Bowditch were particular favorites.
What’s so important about Middle Grade fiction?
These books are really the first children explore on their own. As independent readers, kids start to develop their interests and preferences in literature while growing into their own personhood. I know Young Adult (YA) fiction is often described as the genre for firsts: first love, first big decisions, etc. But to me, mid-grade is the ultimate genre for the first experiences and emotions that are all a part of growing up.
What about you? Why are you passionate about middle grade?