Why did you write your Pitch Wars book?
I've thought over that all day. There are multiple answers.
I suppose it began with the shooting in CT. Something about that particular shooting shook me in a way I still can't account for. I wrote a poem about it. I fought panic attacks. I went from not being fond of guns to being terrified of guns.
Everyone was talking about school shootings in a way I hadn't heard since Columbine... when I was in high school myself. Everyone had theories and solutions and laments and fear and anger...
Somewhere along the way, I landed in a conversation about how the majority of school shooters are white middle-class males. And I asked myself what would make a girl pull off a school shooting.
I started writing a story then, but not this story. Instead, I wrote a story about a girl who is afraid she could somehow become a monster... in the background of Haven's story, there was a female school shooter on the news. Her name was Chris.
I danced around her.
I was afraid of her.
Haven's story couldn't hold me. I knew it was Chris's story I needed to tell, but I didn't know enough about her.
And being inside her head scared me.
So I had to write her. Because writing what scares me is what I do.
Still, I was missing a piece. I didn't KNOW her story, so how could I tell it?
Eventually, a teacher made the news. And the news he made gutted me. I felt a violent sort of anger, and then I knew Chris's story. I knew what could make a girl pull off a school shooting.
There is a girl out there who never got to tell her story. She didn't kill a teacher or take a gun to school. She didn't live long enough to do any of that.
I wrote Renascence for two reasons... for justice and for truth.
The girl who didn't kill her teacher never got justice. I wanted to give her some in my tiny little way. But also, truth... the truth that violence isn't the answer. That no school shooter walks away in tact... even if they don't take their own life.
Like Harry learned about horcruxes... when we hurt someone else, we slice away parts of ourselves.
I wanted to get inside Chrissy's head AFTER the shooting, not before. We're all so familiar with the stories of before... the bullying and the depression and the video games and whatever other reasons or theories people come up with. The before isn't new any longer, and it's sad we live in a world where I can say that. The before is no longer surprising.
But the after... how would doing such a terrible thing affect the person who did it? How could she live after committing that crime? How would she feel?
Could the world ever see her as human instead of a monster?
I don't have the answers to these questions.
All I have is a story. A story about a girl who makes a decision she may never be able to live with. I'll tell my story. You can draw your own conclusions.
Take a moment to visit some of my fellow Pitch Wars mentees and alternates at the following links: