Guest Post from Janet Ruth Young Author of The Babysitter Murders: How I Got Into Writing and Eventually Became Published
Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Janet Ruth Young, author of The Babysitter Muders to my blog. The Babysitter Muders is a book that is sure to capture teen interest. A teenage girl who babysits for a little boy starts having disturbing thoughts about hurting the little boy. When she reveals this secret, her town becomes the center of attention, and she faces people who mean her harm. The Babysitter Murders is an engrossing and really fast read! Check it out!
How I Got Into Writing and Eventually Became Published
I had my vocation handed to me in childhood. A teacher told my mother that I had writing ability, and my mother, who was a great reader of books, ran with that comment for the next fifteen years. I was first published at the age of eight, when the Long Island Press newspaper published my letter objecting to what I heard was going to be a new dumbed-down version of A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh.
Like my character Dani Solomon, I had an active imagination that was both a blessing and curse. I was a fearful child, and my mom kept saying, “If you’re going to be a writer you have to experience things.” She was referring to stuff like going into dark, scary caves on our family vacation to Virginia. Later, in my teen years, I felt driven to experiment with and experience things that were riskier than the ones she had selected for me, and perhaps she regretted her words.
As a teen I not only enjoyed writing but got a great deal of reinforcement for it, including being selected as high school graduation speaker. I got both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in English, with an emphasis on creative writing. Later, managing a good career as an editor at a textbook company, I got up an hour early each day to write, producing a mean-girls novel called “The Four Lessons.” When that book (very derivative and generally a dud, as I look back on it) didn’t find a publisher, I felt discouraged for a bit, but I rallied and decided to attack my writing career with all the attention and devotion I could muster. I saved enough money to get by for six months, then quit my job to write a second book.
That book, The Opposite of Music, received the PEN New England Discovery Award when it was just a small portion of an early draft. I finished writing the rest in three months. The first editor I sent the manuscript to, at FSG, loved it and held onto it for nearly a year while trying to convince management to sign me, which didn’t happen. But that early response convinced me that I had something special to offer, and I sent the manuscript to only four or five other editors before finding a home with Caitlyn Dlouhy at Atheneum. As the publication date for Music neared and initial reviews were good, Atheneum signed me for two more books based on brief descriptions I gave an editor over the phone (note the importance of having a honed “elevator pitch”). The Babysitter Murders is the second of my three books for Atheneum, all of which explore mental illness topics and share some characters.
Thank you Janet for joining me today!
Don't miss your chance to read The Babysitter Murders which comes out from Atheneum on July 26, 2011!