My début novel, Snowstorm, has recently been released as an e-book by Echelon Press. Although it has taken a few years to arrive at this point, I still haven’t quite gotten used to calling myself an author.
During the last couple of weeks I couldn’t help thinking about attending a writers’ conference a few years ago. I’d already written a first draft of the book, but then I seem to always do things the hard way. (I really wish I’d stop that.) In the conference workshops, I heard authors, editors, and agents characterize writers in various ways. Someone said writers are artists who just want to close themselves up in a room and create in solitude. Another facilitator commented that people who write for a living secretly want to change the world. In a third workshop, a book editor stated the first book often reflects the author’s passions.
Snowstorm is indeed the result of one of my passions: teenagers. I have been a teacher in both high school and college, and what I love about teaching is the students themselves. Then, there’s the fact my husband is a psychologist who worked with teens for nearly twenty years. Combine my interest in adolescents with an understanding of how perfectly good children turn into angry teens and I developed, as the editor put it, a passion for troubled kids. But I know my limitations. I could not do the kind of work my husband did, so instead, I wrote a book about one of those prickly teenageers.
The story follows the struggle of a sixteen year-old girl named Carly, who is dealing with challenges common to lots of kids today. The reader get a view into Carly’s inner thoughts as she makes tough decisions about who she will be.
So how close were the characteristics described by the workshop leaders? I’ll give them the passion part – I did go there to craft my tale. As to the “artist” description, I can’t say I think of myself that way, but working in a basement room alone is certainly true. Finally, I don’t want to change the world. Nope, but I wouldn’t mind doing some good for just one kid, and maybe that’s good enough.
Connie Hullander was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Through teaching in both high school and college, she gained an understanding of young adults and the challenges faced by so many of them. Currently she lives with her husband in South Carolina and is employed as an instructor at a technical college. Previously published works have included short stories for the annual anthology of the South Carolina Writers Workshop. Snowstorm is her first novel.