Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Does the age group matter when it comes to writing?

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I’m in the process of writing my first adult novel. People have often asked when I am going to write an adult book, as if writing for kids is a stepping stone to that other “real” writing. For the longest time I’ve resisted the urge to venture into this territory. I love writing for young readers; love the voice that this forces me to write in, and enjoy the response of the Y.A. audience to my books. But then this remarkable story came my way, a story that I knew was not appropriate for a young audience, and after having written ten Y.A. books, I decided to bite the bullet and take on this new project. The book’s working title is “The Four Paintings.” It is the story of stolen art in the former Czechoslovakia during the Second World War, and one family’s attempts to reclaim their property.

Everyone is now asking me how different this process is from previous projects. It’s forced me to re-examine my writing style and the principals that guide me in storytelling. You might be surprised to learn that what I’ve discovered is that the answer to the question – What is the difference between writing for kids and writing for adults is, “Not that much!”

Sure, there are the obvious adjustments that I have had to make in terms of language. In that regard I don’t need to edit myself as carefully as I write. And yes, I can take certain liberties with content in my adult story that I have to be so careful of in my kids’ books.

But not surprisingly, I’ve discovered that at the end of the day, writing is writing. And whether I’m doing it for nine or nineteen or ninety year olds, I still have to make sure that I’m creating meaningful characters and compelling plots. I love this discovery. It frees me up to realize that I can write whatever story I want, for whomever I wish, and, with luck, experience and some skill, I can make it work! Imagine the possibilities.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Kathy Kacer

Kathy Kacer is an award-winning children's author whose focus is historical fiction and true stories about the Holocaust. Her many books include The Secret of Gabi's Dresser, Clara's War, The Underground Reporters, Hiding Edith and The Diary of Laura's Twin.

Go to Kathy Kacer’s Author Page