On April 10, 2013, the author, L. Divine spent an hour at the Forest Park Branch talking with a group of teens and a few adults about her series, Drama High, and the art of writing. The group was very intimate and informal and conducive to an open conversation.
Ms. L., a former educator, explained that Drama High grew out of a response to two girls fighting over a boy in the classroom. She wrote a poem about the experience and her former students really loved it. She further developed the poem in graduate school. The poem grew into a longer story with an outline of events and characters. Ms. L. says that she was also inspired by the Sweet Valley High series, but wanted to capture the African-American experience in her series. The Drama High series, Ms. L. revealed, is loosely based on her life and the area where she grew up.
Ms. L. also gave some technical advice from a writer's perspective. She commented on the grueling task of meeting deadlines and writing content after an editor's mock-up. Ms. L. told the group that this process made her cry, but she had to stick with it. She relayed the experience of having only 15 days to create a manuscript of 60,000 words while taking care of her newborn son. She says, "Even though it is a hard process, it is a fun process, especially when you know it is clean, it is good, and you have faith in it, and I have confidence that you’ll love it, and you’ll love the story." For aspiring writers, Ms. L. suggests creating an outline of your work, getting your work edited and then self-publishing your work as an eBook. She says that this process is best because then you could prove to publishers that your eBook has already reached potential readers.
Ms. L. understands the changes that occur within young adults. She loves to write about teens to show how they evolve. Teens, she believes, are a great source of stories since something new and different happens to them practically every day. She challenged the teens to write and tell their stories. She is waiting to read them!