Young Voices e writer in residence Eve Silver interviewed
Terese of the library's Editorial Youth Advisory Group asked Eve questions about success, being a role model, how she will conduct her residency and more. Read on to find out what Eve had to say.
Terese: The philosopher Jean Kazez lists progress as necessary for an objectively good life, as well as having strong commitments. With her criteria in mind, what are your short- and long-term goals for your writing career, and do your goals evolve? Is there an endpoint where you can say, "I've succeeded"?
Eve: Progress: forward or onward movement toward a destination. Commitment: the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. These two words encompass much of what it means to be a professional writer. When I first started writing, my goal was simply to walk into a bookstore and see my book on the shelf, my name on the spine, to know that people were reading my stories. Several manuscripts and over three hundred rejection letters later, I had learned what commitment meant and added perseverance to the list of definitions that are a must in the professional writer’s toolkit. Once my first novel was published, my goals evolved. I yearned to improve my craft, reach more readers, have the opportunity to see my books on shelves worldwide, translated into as many languages as possible. I also wanted to try new genres. I started out writing historical gothics and moved to post-apocalyptic sci-fi, paranormal, urban fantasy and then young adult. The goals change, yet remain the same: to get my stories into the hands of readers. Is there an endpoint where I can say I’ve succeeded? Yes and no. I feel that I have achieved success every time readers email me and talk about the way one of my stories resonated with them. But there is always a new goal to strive for, a new genre to try, a new story to tell, a new hill to climb.
Terese: Should authors of children or young adult books consider themselves role models? Why, and how much so, if at all?
Eve: An intriguing and timely question. Blogs, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram… Social media offers readers heretofore unparalleled access to authors. This is both a boon—authors have the chance to connect directly with readers and enjoy a dialogue—and a disadvantage—authors must be aware of what they say and how they say it, at times misquoted or their words presented out of context. But does that automatically equate the author with role model? Is it the author’s responsibility (or privilege) to act as role model to young adult readers? Or should the art be separated from the artist. These are questions of philosophical scope that exceed my ability to answer in brief.
Instead, I will speak to my own approach. I try to be respectful, open, friendly and kind in any interaction with readers, whether they be children, young adults or adults. I try to be genuine in my interactions. I do not use my role as author as an opportunity to climb on my soapbox and earnestly advocate my own agenda. I bear in mind my young adult readers when I post on social media. Never do I presume to consider myself a role model because that is an honour that can only be bestowed by the individual who chooses a role model. How’s that for a convoluted answer?