Today YA author Lorca Damon talks to us about parents teaching hate, and where she finds inspiration for writing her novels. I think her post is thoughtful and strong. Take it away, Lorca!
Children Don’t Know Hate; They Have To Learn It
Sometimes ideas for our writing come to us from the completely fantastical realm of subconscious, and other times, the topic hits a little too close to home to be ignored. The ideas for most of young adult novels came to in part because of the incarcerated juveniles I teach, but with my most recent book, Not My Kind, it was a girl at my daughter’s school who made me write.
At the parent meeting only days before the start of a new school year, parents looked around the room awkwardly as they realized that SHE was going to be in their kid’s class this year. Yes, THAT girl. The one no one talked to or invited to birthday parties or sleepovers. More than one parent’s eyes rolled when she walked in with her tattooed, pierced family, and several sets of parents made eye contact with each other only to make a face that said, “Great. Just what we needed.”
Here’s the real shame: this wasn’t high school, and the parents weren’t perturbed by some troubled teen and her host of outlandish behaviors. This was third grade, and the parents were less than thrilled that their children would be in the same class as the eight-year-old, pigtailed little girl whose parents own the local adult video and sex toy shop.
Yes. THAT girl.
At eight years old, she is already someone to be shunned and not played with, all because her parents are local business owners, businessmen who incidentally employ several people and pay a lot of money in sales taxes, sales tax money that benefits our schools. But just because it’s a legal business, doesn’t mean the rest of us have to like it.
And that’s the plot behind my latest title. In Not My Kind, Tanner Barrett’s parents own a small chain of medical marijuana dispensaries in their small, mountainous area of Colorado. And she is despised for it. Even though her parents own a legal business and support the community, providing jobs and medical supplies that benefits the entire region, she is a sub-par human being and the town’s whipping boy. The student body assumes she a slut because of her parents’ “loose morals,” and the faculty of her small high school assumes she’s a stoner who must have cheated or slept her way onto the honor roll. Even the people who are trying to be helpful can’t set aside their judgmental natures long enough to actually be kind.
Not My Kind is for anyone who has ever been judged unfairly, but will hopefully also speak to those people whose narrow-mindedness keeps them from seeing the good in the people around them.
Thank you, Lorca! I feel for that girl, and for the girl in your book. No one should be judged for who their parents are or what they do. And hatred and bigotry shouldn’t happen.
About Lorca Damon:
Lorca Damon is a YA author and teacher in a juvenile correctional facility. She writes the kinds of books she hopes her reluctant readers would want to read. Not My Kind is her most recent YA title, along with a Catcher in the Rye-themed road trip saga, Driving The Demon. Her newest YA title, The Bone Road, is coming September 2013. Follow her at LorcaDamon.com, or on Twitter at @LorcaDamon.
Get Not My Kind on Amazon
Also available at B&N, Kobo, and Smashwords.