Author, Chris Avery shares some insight on the creative process behind his latest young adult novel, Angst. ANGST chronicles the complicated lives of three best friends attempting to navigate the perils of freshman year in high school while dealing with the realities of teen life.
Describe your book in one sentence!
Angst is an inspiring youth novel, detailing the exploits of three teens navigating and overcoming the travails of high school.
What inspired you to write about teenagers?
When TURNING STONEchoice (TSC) approached me to write a book for young adults, I immediately recognized the need for an honest attempt to write something that would help young people become self- empowered. Few of today’s novels have positive role models or a message of hope for readers. As a father of three teens, I am constantly amazed by the stories shared and challenges they and their friends encounter. Today’s youth are bombarded with divorce, drugs, pressures to grow up too quickly, and many more issues that seem to be more vigilant now than previous generations. I hope Angst provides a roadmap for a possible path to navigate their landscape. And, although not perfect, Angst is a possible solution for students facing similar problems.
Parental loss in many forms seemed to be a weaving theme throughout the book. Can you talk about those variations and significance?
Throughout the book, I attempt to paint a picture that would be relatable to today’s teens. The definition of ‘family’ continues to evolve. Consequently, I wanted to have numerous types of families in the book and help students recognize the normalcy of difference . All families are different. However, core values and respect are key to keep families close to each other. When loss of a parent occurs, whether through death or divorce, children often have trouble truly coping. While more resilient than most adults recognize, children need guidance from adults and peers to serve as support networks. Angst delivers that message by demonstrating numerous children dealing with this issue of loss and family disruption, and details how they cope. While it is never easy, it is important to see how they survive and work to thrive through it all.
What did you enjoy most about writing Angst?
I enjoyed talking to young people. The TSC approach to engage young people through conversation and allowing them to voice their view of the world and how they fit in it was at the core of my approach. I interviewed a lot of teens and parents before and while writing the book. I asked about what makes their families special and what do they wish they could tell their parents or children, respectively. These conversations really shaped the layout of the book and helped inform me about the sincerity of families to love and respect each other, but how life too often gets in the way. The book allowed me to get closer to my own children and my wife, as we spoke openly about our parenting philosophy and how we communicate with our children .
Any future book projects on your literary plate?
Angst inspired me to begin writing a parenting handbook. From interviews preparing me for the Angst project, I recognized reoccurring themes that would help parents better show their love and dreams for their children. The project has allowed me to collaborate with other parent authors and talk about relationships with our children and how to impart our knowledge without dominating our children’s lives. TSC’s emphasis on helping families has been an inspiring opportunity for me to be a part and I have been thrilled to write on these projects.
“. . . remember that the only thing standing between you and your greatness is yourself. Take control of your life, and enjoy every second.” Angst
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and our programs please visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com.