When I was in my early 20s and trying to figure out how to write fiction for a living, I had the opportunity to meet the author Russell Banks, who memorably told me, “No one writes anything worth a damn until their 30s.”

Now that I qualify, I’m working on my first dystopian young adult novel that I hope to self-publish by year-end 2021. I chose to write for a YA audience after realizing my heroines have always been teenagers. My themes draw heavily from my own childhood–being the perpetual fish out of water, the struggles of coming of age, and generally feeling powerless and misunderstood.

I choose to write dystopian fiction because so many of our institutions seem to be crumbling—politics, education, and relevantly, publishing—and I’m driven by a desire to create something new out of a world that sometimes feels like it’s falling apart.