Wednesday Writers: David Kirk

Today I’m pleased to welcome David Kirk!

I write stories with young adults in them. You will notice that I did not say I “write YA.” There is a difference. Publishers select genre designations primarily based on marketing issues. So a book with younger characters usually carries the genre young adult. Unfortunately, Amazon describes their category as “teens.”
I prefer to describe my novels as “coming of age,” or as the Germans say “bildungsroman.” This is a story in which the protagonist is confused about the ways of the world or suffers a loss, and then begins a journey of discovery. At the end, hopefully, some learning or maturity has taken place. It’s described as a novel of education or my favorite, a “novel of formation.”
YA and coming of age are not mutually exclusive. Many novels in the YA genre have elements of the bildungsroman. However, coming of age differs from books written primarily to entertain teens. It is also not restricted to the teenage years. I recently read an article about a high school beauty queen who led a fairy tale life. She married a successful business man and lived in a plush suburb. Suddenly, she found herself at forty, abandoned with four kids, and juggling night school and a job. Her coming of age began all over again.
Young adulthood is such a vivid time to write about. Scientists once believed that our brains were fully developed at twelve or thirteen. Recent imaging techniques reveal that biophysical development of the prefrontal cortex continues to as late as the mid-twenties. Some of us wore our emotions on our sleeve and had less-developed social filters to modify their expression. Feelings were intense. Mood swings were amplified.
Imitation begins at this time, which is an external compulsion. Little kids don’t have it. I recall the assignment in first grade to draw a picture of our house. We didn’t look at the person sitting next to us and copy her paper. (One of things the exercise taught me was that a career as an artist was in doubt.) But as teenagers we begin to imitate dress, style, music, even writing. We try different things out in order to someday develop our true identity.
I often speak at high schools and library sponsored young adult readers/writers groups. The question frequently comes up as to what, for someone obviously past their formative years, do I know or even remember about these years. Well, I helped raise two and I did go through it myself. But most importantly, I wrote it down. I grew up on a farm and that meant hours of driving a tractor up and down a field, or walking through acres of soybeans with a hoe cutting down weeds. Developing a vivid imagination not only helped pass the time, it was a matter of psychological survival. Plus I kept a journal, the kind college writing teachers tell you to keep, and wrote down sayings, quotes, experiences, and passionate love poems, usually about some girl who would have nothing to do with me. The characters of my first novel began in that journal.
So whatever the label, teen, young adult, or coming of age, it is such a great time to write about.
I would like to thank DelSheree Gladden, a great YA writer, for hosting me on this wonderful blog. I also like to chat, so drop me a line at or with the contact form on my web site at In addition, please check out my coming of age novels.

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DelSheree Gladden was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn't speak a single word for the first three months of preschool. Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting it before having it published. Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her family spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family. When not writing novels, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing, and working with other authors. DelSheree has several bestselling young adult series and has hit the USA Today Bestseller list twice as part of box sets. DelSheree also has contemporary romance, cozy mystery, and paranormal new adult series. Her writing is as varied as her reading interests.

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