July’s the month I take a blogging sabbath. Throughout the course of the month, I’ll re-run some oldies but goodies. Enjoy!
Yesterday I turned in my first-round edits on BLUE BIRDS — a verse novel about the Lost Colony of Roanoke told from the perspective of Alis, an English girl, and Kimi, a Roanoke girl. The story didn’t start this way. I initially intended to write solely from Alis’s perspective. But when I realized the forbidden friendship between Alis and Kimi is what the entire story hinges upon, I couldn’t keep things as I first planned.
And that kind of terrified me.
There are a lot of opinions and strong, strong feelings as to who has permission to write certain books. I’m a non-Native author. What gives me the right to try and speak for a thirteen-year-old Roanoke girl?
I’m still not sure. But I’ve been a girl. And I know how profoundly friendship can shape a person. I’ve been in new cultural settings and have learned to see the foreign as familiar and the familiar as foreign. This answer won’t be enough for some readers. I understand that. But I’ve gone ahead and written the book anyway.
In the mean time, I’m drawing courage from the It’s Complicated series at the Children’s Book Council Diversity blog.
What are your feelings about writers working outside their cultural experience?