Aaron Smith’s work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines. He has written stories in the mystery, war, western, horror and science fiction genres, working on many characters, some as well known as Sherlock Holmes. His vampire novel 100,000 Midnights was released in June 2012. http://www.godsandgalaxies.blogspot.com/
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WHEN THE PRESENT FIXES THE PAST
By Aaron Smith
2012 has been a year of new things in my writing career as I’ve seen material released by several publishers I’d never worked with before. One of these is Buzz Books. Not only was Buzz a new publisher for me, but my work with them also marked my entrance into a new market, the Young Adult genre.
I didn’t mean to jump into the world of YA; it just happened.
I was browsing around various writing sites online one day when I came across a mention of a publisher looking for paranormal stories taking place at the prom. Now I’m no stranger to the paranormal; much of my work falls somewhere within that category, but the prom? What could I possibly write about that?
You see, I’ve long been convinced that I was never really a teenager. Yes, I spent part of my life between the ages of 12 and 20, but I was terrible at it! I’ve always said I was an old man born in a young body, and in some ways I’m younger now than I was then. I always wanted to be older, so I rushed those teen years, wanted them to be over and done, didn’t feel like I fit in at all.
So I read the call for paranormal prom stories and promptly forgot about it, deciding I’d skip that opportunity. But the darn thing wouldn’t go away! I got up from the computer shortly after reading about it, took a shower. When I came out of the bathroom, I had the plot of the story almost fully formed in my head. Now I was stuck with it, I had to write it, couldn’t just let it go to waste.
So I wrote the story that would eventually be called, “A Kiss on the Threshold” and sent it off to Buzz Books, convinced they’d reject it. After all, what did I, a born curmudgeon and lousy excuse for the teenager I once was, know about writing for a young audience?
I was shocked when, only a few days later, I received an email from either Malena Lott or Mari Farthing of Buzz Books (I don’t recall who contacted me first). They liked the story and wanted to include it in the anthology Prom Dates to Die For! I went through the editing process with Mari, which turned out to be one of the most pleasant experiences I’ve had so far as a writer, and the book was soon released. But that wasn’t the end of my relationship with Buzz Books; a few months later, they published my next YA paranormal story, “Spectral Media,” in Something Wicked.
So here I am, a twice-published author of the Young Adult genre, something I considered an extremely unlikely event.
But now I think about it a little more and it makes perfect sense. When I was that shy, lonely teenager, I was the only one like me in my high school, the only kid who was different, the outcast. As I grew older, though, and met more people from different towns, different states, and even different nations, I began to realize that there are a lot of people who felt just like I did when growing up. If every high school has one at any given time, and there are thousands (or millions?) of high schools, then there are many of us who feel like that. There were thousands then and there are thousands now, all over the world. And one thing I seem to have in common with many of those who grew up feeling like I did is that we all like to read. Maybe reading was a way to feel less alone, an escape from harsh reality, or just a wonderful experience that could be enjoyed without needing anyone else with you. I know exactly how teenaged readers feel, because I was one of them, and maybe that’s what made me able to write for that audience.
So now I write, among other things, stories for readers of a certain age group. The period in my life when I thought I was the only one like me, when I thought I was terrible at being a teenager, turns out to have been perfect preparation for the sort of writing I’ve done in those two books. And if some young reader who’s anything at all like I was when I was their age gets a few minutes of pleasure from reading “A Kiss on the Threshold” or “Spectral Media,” then my years as a “lousy excuse for a teenager” really did work out for the best. Life has a way of taking the scraps of the past and turning them into the successes of the present…and hopefully of the future too.
For more information on my work, please visit my blog at http://www.godsandgalaxies.blogspot.com
You’re invited to celebrate the holiday reading season with Buzz Books for our Sleigh Read tour.
You can get any Buzz ebook just for commenting on my blog. Pick any Buzz title in our Hive and it will be gifted to you. Likewise, any reader who buys a Buzz title before Dec. 31st, can email us the receipt at buzzbooksusa (at) me (dot) com and tell us who they’d like to gift one to on Kindle or nook and we’ll send it to them. You know, like a literary Santa. The one you buy and the one you give can be different titles as long as the gifted ebook is of equal or lesser value. A full list of titles is available at http://www.buzzbooksusa.com.