Answering the Call to Be a Young Adult Writer
by Leslea Wahl; author of The Perfect Blindside
I’ve always enjoyed writing. For as long as I can remember I have been a creator of stories and have had ideas swirling through my head. Though I liked writing, I didn’t really pursue it. For years I followed other interests, but I was always drawn to writing. When I worked I wrote articles for in-house publications. I contributed to newsletters for organizations I volunteered with. I wrote summer learning sessions for my kids. I even created stories that I shared with my children. But I never thought about writing a whole novel or imagined I would write for teens.
But as so often happens, God had a different idea.
I clearly remember the catalyst for my young adult writing. In 2009, my book club was reading a young adult novel, which was written from different points of view. The concept of seeing a situation from two sides fascinated me. That is when the story of The Perfect Blindside literally popped into my head. Characters and situations just kept coming to me until I finally had to start writing them down. Then God really led the way. Information critical to my story would randomly show up in the mail. When I thought of a name for my fictitious town, I went on-line to research and see if such a place existed. I was stunned to learn there once was a town by that name in the exact location where I had envisioned it for my story.
Originally my story was not written as a Christian book. I simply wanted to write good, moral, young adult novels full of adventure and excitement. I wanted to write stories that teens would enjoy reading, but that also exemplified the morals I wanted to instill in my own children. As a mother I was disturbed by the morally questionable messages and lifestyles portrayed in some movies, television shows, and even in books. It seemed hard to find any good role models.
I felt confident that God had led me to write this story, but I was discouraged that publishers weren’t very interested. So I began to pray. And our ever-faithful God answered my prayer. One day I “accidently” came across a novel that combined all the elements I loved in a book: humor, action, mystery, a little romance—and it even had a Christian message! I believe that God was gently nudging me in the right direction, since my own thoughts and plans were getting in the way. That novel changed everything for me. I realized that I wanted to write this kind of story. I had no idea the publishing world had a niche for this style of book, which I like to call Potpourri Fiction because it encompasses so many styles .
And as soon as I changed my book to fit a Christian genre, doors began to open. I felt as if I was finally doing the work God had led me to do.
Even though The Perfect Blindside and I have found a home here at Pauline Books & Media, I feel my calling continues. My book’s overall theme is to use your God-given gifts to glorify him. It is a message I feel passionate about. We are all blessed with talents and interests, and I believe God wants us to use those gifts to bring others to him. I desire to share this message with teens and to help them to be excited about this truth while at the same time providing fun, adventurous stories they can enjoy.
I don’t know where my journey will lead, but I’m excited to find out. I truly believe that if we are willing to say “yes” and stay true to God, he will use us in ways we could never imagine.
About the author:
Leslea Wahl is the author of The Perfect Blindside. She lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and three children. Their own life of adventure includes traveling, skiing and scuba diving. Leslea strives to write fiction that will inspire readers to use their own talents and gifts to glorify God. Visit Leslea's website at www.LesleaWahl.com.
About The Perfect Blindside:
Fresh off a championship medal, Jake is becoming overwhelmed by everyone who wants something from him: reporters, fans, girls, companies, his parents. He can't figure out who is real and who just wants something. To top it all off, his parents have dragged him to a middle-of-nowhere town in Colorado, far away from his teammates and anything interesting.
Then there's smart and savvy Sophie. She has spent the summer before her junior year of high school following Jake Taylor, recent snowboarding sensation, in every magazine and article she could find. Now he's moved into Silver Springs and she finds out what the reporters and everyone else seems to have missed—Jake's letting the fame go to his head. He's just a jerk and Sophie has no respect or patience for that!
Peaceful Silver Springs, however, has an even bigger problem than Jake's inflated ego. Wildlife is dying inexplicably, tires are getting slashed, and everything seems to be falling apart. Can Jake and Sophie work out their differences to discover what's really been happening at the abandoned silver mine? Follow Sophie and Jake into secret tunnels as they unravel the mystery and challenge each other to become who God wants them to be.