Sunday, September 19, 2010

Author Guest Post: Leora Krygier

My Double Life Okay, you got me. I’m busted and here’s my signed confession. I’m a juvenile court judge who wrote a Y.A. novel. Why? Why did you do it, you ask? I thought I knew the answer to that question, but I was wrong.
A little back story is necessary here. I’ve been a juvenile court judge for awhile, (nope, I won’t tell you exactly how long) in fact it’s been my “career” (adult speak for the thing that pays your bills) I’m also an author, (three books and counting) but the two parts of my life never seemed to mesh. On the bench, I have to be quick, tough and sensible. I have to put on the robe and the stern face and apply legal norms and make non-nonsense decisions. It’s a don’t-show-any-vulnerability zone. When I write, on the other hand, I have to completely tip over my brain and re-commune with every sense I acquired as a child and teenager – seeing, smelling, touching, hearing and feeling. I have to stand in the shoes of someone else and understand their fragility. I kept these two worlds of mine apart, separated, a little like Clark Kent and Superman (minus any super powers) because they didn’t seem to connect. That is, until I wrote an adult novel (my second) about a young girl who finds her half-sister by dreaming her sister’s dreams. I was surprised (shocked, really) when the New York Public Library chose it as one of the Best Books for the Teen Age, but it planted a stubborn seed in my head that wouldn’t go away and I started writing another novel, this time purposefully for young adults. ZAP, POW, BAM, I said to myself. Everything made sense now – my writing world and my “other” world were moving towards each other at asteroid speed. Superman could finally admit to being mild-mannered Clark Kent. My head started spinning with brilliant conclusions. As a juvenile court judge, didn’t I have a unique perspective on the teen world? Wasn’t I imminently situated to cross the great divide between adults and teens? Wasn’t it great that THE UNIVERSE finally made sense? NOT.
Fast forward to a couple of years later (a little real life intervened) and I think I kind of figured it out. I’m not any more qualified to write Y.A. novels than the really nice auto mechanic at my local gas station. I didn’t write a Y.A. novel because THE UNIVERSE had worked out a neatly packaged outcome for me, but because there’s a part of me that absolutely refuses to grow up. It’s the part of me that’s not sensible or forceful or tough and certainly not all knowing. It’s the part of me that feels lost and sometimes alone, confused and outcast and remembers all my bad decisions (yep, I made my share) I wrote a novel with teen protagonists because, somewhere, inside that judge you see in the stiff, zipped-up black robe, there’s a sixteen-year-old who hasn’t come of age….and that, is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. J Leora is the author of When She Sleeps, and Juvenile Court: A Judge’s Guide for Young Adults and their Parents. A sneak peak at her Y.A. novel, TWINGE, can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw9S0tOwUD8 Leora blogs as TWINGE protagonist, Nikki, at www.starbuckled.blogspot.com and still can’t decide whether she has a bigger crush on Superman or Clark Kent. Leora Krygier http://www.leorakrygier.com/ http://www.starbuckled.blogspot.com/ For a sneak peek at my upcoming book, drop by: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw9S0tOwUD8
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2 comments:

  1. What a fantastic way to turn one's expertise into a writing coup. No wonder Scarecrow published a book on the juvenile system by Leora. A real writer with a REAL platform. Thank you for bringing this to us, Bookworm!

    Best,
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Multi award-winning poet, novelist and tell of true stories

    ReplyDelete
  2. interesting - might check out her books one of these days!

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