Ask An Author: Why do you write for your chosen age group?

Why an author writes for the age group s/he chooses is a question that comes up often at seminars and workshops. Why do you write picture books? Middle grade? Young adult? Reasons are as varied as writers themselves. For myself, I often decide what form the work will take from the voice that brings me the story. This is because when a story idea begins to form it comes with a point of view, a tone of voice, a setting, and a problem or concern that needs a solution. These elements, taken together, tell me who the story is meant for. Sometimes the subject matter and the problem to be solved fixes the story as a picture book, or older. Sometimes this matching of story to audience is dynamic; a story that, at first, seemed most whole as a picture book can evolve into a middle grade novel, and vice versa; the book can even age up or down several times. So I would have to answer this question with ‘because that is who this story needed to be written for.’ Not very helpful, I have to admit, but it’s really true.

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