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I actually love writing for teens best. I had such an awful time in my own teen years - I love having the chance to relive them through my fiction.
I had my bad-boy moment in my teens. I'll never do that again. It wasn't pleasant, and I learned my lesson. It was sexy and mysterious, and it's like, 'Look how cool they are,' but it's just not worth it. He was lying to me and accusing me of cheating - but then I realized he was the one cheating.
After graduation, I wanted to work for 'Sassy', which I loved, but it had folded. So I wound up at 'Seventeen' for three years on staff and two as a contributor, and I wrote these great stories that nobody ever believes 'Seventeen' does. Serious stories for teens about social justice issues - gun control, migrant farm workers.
Every time I hear someone making ignorant comments about the supposed 'evils' of homosexuality, I think about the true evil of the high suicide rates among gay and lesbian teens.
Hoping they'd been inspired by the examples of Anne Frank and other teens who had turned negative experiences into something positive by writing about them, I handed out notebooks for my students to journal about their lives. There was some initial resistance. But then the stories poured out of them, full of anger and sadness.