Madeleine L’Engle once said, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” Not only is that my favorite quote, it’s my standard response whenever someone asks me if I think I’ll ever write anything for adults.
What? There are kids’ writers in Mystery Writers of America? Yes, there are. Quite a few of us, in fact. And most of us write for kids and teens because we want to, not because we can’t get published in adult fiction or because someone told us it’s easier to write a mystery for kids. Newsflash: it’s not.
I write mysteries for kids because I fell in love with mysteries as a kid. I loved puzzles. I loved hanging out with smart protagonists. And I had a strong sense of right and wrong and loved to see justice served. Sure, you can find (or create) all of that in adult mysteries, too. But do you want to know what’s unique about writing mysteries for kids? Yours might be the book that turns a kid onto the genre. Yours might even be the book that turns a kid onto reading. Nothing brings me greater joy than to hear from a kid, “I didn’t like reading until I read your Do You Know the Monkey Man.” Or “Your King & Kayla and Case of the Missing Dog Treats was the first book I read all by myself!” If you can make a kid read, you can change the world!
I’d love to build a Pacific Northwest community of people who are writing mysteries for children or teenagers. Please get in touch if you have a new book coming out or you’d like to be interviewed for a future MWA NW newsletter or blog or if you have ideas for how MWA NW kids and YA authors can support one another.
About The Author:
Dori Hillestad Butler is the author of more than 50 books for children, including the two-time Geisel Honor winning King & Kayla mysteries and the Edgar award-winning Buddy Files series. She lives in Kirkland, WA.