I am so excited to welcome Jennifer Murgia onto the blog today! As part of her Between These Lines blog tour she is here to talk about comfort zones.
As a Young Adult author, my comfort zone has been in the genre of
Fantasy. I write speculative fiction about Otherworlds and beings that
we don’t see except in stories, but somehow want to believe exist.
I stepped outside my comfy box and wrote BETWEEN THESE LINES which is my
first YA Contemporary novel. The story deals with a social agenda at a
prep school and the lives that are changed because of a particular class
assignment. It introduces characters that are seemingly worlds apart but
forced to find similarities in one another so that they can co-exist
(yes, I’m talking about that ridiculous social ladder that forces
students to choose between cliques or forever be outcast). This
assignment causes upset. It causes competition and heartache and
terrible, terrible things.
But it also allows a love to grow between two characters – Evie and
Chase – who are very different from one another surface-wise and
friend-wise. The assignment that pairs them together opens their eyes
allowing them to see that deep down they’re actually very much alike.
This budding romance and connection they share with one another propels
them out of their cliques and directly out of their comfort zones,
subjecting them to ridicule, whispering, and you know what? They don’t
care. They found each other and that’s comfort enough.
I was a little worried about stepping outside my own comfort zone. I
believe in branding oneself as a writer – have been told to really
consider the message I want to send my readers so they can identify with
me, can connect with me, and be able to expect something similar
genre-wise in the books I know I’ll continue to write. But you know
what? Stepping outside of the box is good. It sets you free and lets you
stretch and explore something you didn’t know you could do — like
write a contemporary novel. And maybe that comfort zone isn’t so boxed
in any more. Maybe it’s just grown larger? Expanded so I can move around
in it a little better.
Comfort zones are just that . . . something, anything, that makes you
feel pretty good and lets you venture into something you’d like to try.
I think the messages we find in all genres are fairly similar. A dark
angel can be a school bully. A shiny vampire can be a tender first love.
From truth come tales that are passed down and twisted so far out of
shape they certainly no longer sound true – and from myths come sound