Find her online at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
What compels you to keep writing when you know that a portion of readers may view some of the content as controversial (whether it’s LGBTQ content or anything else someone may take issue with)?
I know how comforting and self-affirming novels with LGBTQ characters are for people who are just coming to terms with being gay and needing to fit in with the world at large. Feeling that you're normal, and that you have a community that loves and embraces you for who you are, provides the kind of emotional well-being that we all need to survive and thrive.
How has the public’s reception of your novels that include LGBTQ or other controversial topics changed over time, if at all?I used to get at least one letter a week from a mother (usually) calling me a pervert and accusing me of turning her daughter into a lesbian. I even have a file folder labeled "Not a Fan." Those letters have decreased over the years, and now I can't remember the last time I got one. So I'm assuming Jane/John Q. Public are more on board with diversity or finding other outlets to express their rage. Thank God.
In your opinion, why is it important for teens (and other readers, for that matter) to have access to books that include controversial content (LGBTQ, sex, drugs, violence, bigotry, etc.)?When people don't talk about their feelings or what's happening to them, they become isolated and estranged from other people. Harassment and fear eventually turn to depression, which leads to many young (and old) people taking their lives. Books are a safe place to explore topics that may be taboo in a particular culture, including one's own home, school or church. A subject may be uncomfortable to read or talk about, but consequences and choices can be life-changing. It's vital for people to consider options and to see how someone else might cope with a situation that may seem hopeless in real life. Books provide those avenues for alternative solutions to problems.
Thank you, Julie!
As promised, we have a copy of Ellen Hopkins' CRANK coming to...
We’d love to hear YOUR thoughts on controversial children’s/YA books. How have they shaped your life? Why do you believe certain topics are taboo? If you’re a parent, how do you handle books with controversial topics as your children select books to read? Go!