Ok. I didn’t do this intentionally. I just thought it would be cool to write a story about my experiences as a live-in college professional. But working in student affairs didn’t allow for much time for this goal. I mean, who wants to write about their job after working a 12 hour day? However…
After the Virginia Tech shooting that occurred in 2007, I started thinking about the resident assistant story more, the unexplored point-of-view of teenagers confronting crises. And if that isn’t enough, they have to live with their peers and deal with these situations often while trying to get a degree. RAs deserve to have a book just for them.
When I started actually writing this story in 2010, I couldn’t figure out how to pitch the book (#writerproblems101). At the time the New Adult category wasn’t around and the literary world didn’t see an audience for college-aged characters. And Reslife culture is so unique like the military; unless you’ve lived in it it’s hard to understand. But I went to a writers’ conference anyway and pitched it to one agent. They loved it but wanted me to make the characters fit more into the YA genre. I thought about it but the story didn’t work for me as a YA. So I was kind of frustrated, and didn’t query. Why bother? My book didn’t fit. I couldn’t find one novel centered on Residence Life.
As I read more and more novels, I kept coming back to mine and thought: What do I have to lose if I actually publish it? Well, it could fail. But then I thought about some advice my friend Lisa gave me in grad school because I was scared of flunking out. I was more than struggling with a few of my classes. She said, “So what if you do fail and get kicked out, you can always do something else.” Those words relieved so much pressure I was putting on myself. And for some reason, remembering what she said helps me to not be afraid. In honor of Dory from finding Nemo, I’ll just keeping writing, writing, writing!! I’m writing the first ever Residence Life novels and that in a way is success.
In the next few days I’ll post an excerpt from, The Hall Speaks #fallsemester. 🙂