Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Welcome Wednesday: Certainly Sixteen by Laura Bickle

We're thrilled to welcome Laura Bickle back to the Welcome Wednesday spot. The last time she visited she shared some of her Worst Advice and presented her amazing book, THE HALLOWED ONES. Today she's rewinding back to high school to change one thing about her teen self. And she's showcasing her fantastic sequel, THE OUTSIDE. I can't wait to get my hands on it. But before we get to its beauteousness, lets crank up the way back machine...
Certainly Sixteen

Absolute Rewind: If you could go back to your teen self and do one thing different, what would it be?

Part of being human is making mistakes and living through them. The people I’ve met who are genuinely happy in life have cultivated an adaptability that allows them to live lightly with uncertainty and enjoy exploration.

This was not me at age sixteen.

I was pretty rigidly fixed on what I wanted to do at sixteen. I decided that I wanted to go major in criminology and save the world (where’s my red cape?). I left high school and went to college two years early, chasing the tail of that dream. I rushed through, not bothering to take classes outside of the requirements, focusing always on the future and afterward. Never the present moment. I held myself to a painfully rigid standard of perfectionism, whether it came to my grade report or my later work, loathing any trip or stumble I made as evidence that I was not good enough. I was in graduate school before I was old enough to drink.

I let my sixteen-year-old self decide what I was going to do for the next twenty years. Yeah. Just typing that sends chills down my spine.

I failed to give myself enough latitude to explore. I was in such a hurry to be a grown-up and in control of my own life that I didn’t realize that I had the luxury to pause and look around. I could have taken more art classes. I could have maybe taken less than twenty credit hours every quarter and developed some extracurricular interests. I might have been a good graphic artist, a veterinarian or a psychologist. There were a whole lot of open doors that I didn’t even bother to poke my head in.

I could have been gentle with myself. I could have told myself: “It’s okay not to know.”

And it really is okay. Some twenty years later, I’ve come full circle back to that point. I left that career behind – no more security checkpoints and calls in the middle of the night. I left for a lot of reasons. But one of them was that I wasn’t being true to what I was. I am still that girl who doodled in her sketchbooks and told stories to the cats. So I left the first dream behind and pursued an old love –writing.

And I can now admit that I made some wrong decisions for myself on the trajectory of my life, and I stayed with them for too long out of pride and a desire for certainty.

So. For Act II of my life, I’ve got to figure out who I am and what I’m doing. I’m okay with not knowing everything. And I won’t be letting that sixteen year old decide.

Laura Bickle’s professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When she’s not patrolling the stacks at the public library, she’s dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs (she also writes contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams). Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and six mostly-reformed feral cats.

One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…
After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.
And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return? 
 Advance Praise for THE OUTSIDE:
"Top-notch. . . . A horror story with heart and soul.” ~Kirkus, starred review “At once horrifying, hopeful, and hauntingly beautiful, this gorgeous read with its rich textures and spine-tingling suspense kept me glued to the pages in utter fascination. Laura Bickle is a master storyteller.” ~Darynda Jones, NY Times Bestselling author of The Darklight Series 
Click here for an EXCERPT 


Laura Bickle said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today! :-)

Lea Nolan said...

You are most welcome. I love this post. I was a super serious teen as well. I'm so glad you found a way to step out of your certainty box and live your dreams!

Kristi Cook said...

Such a great story--thanks for sharing it! I definitely think there's so much pressure out there to figure out what you're going to do with your life way too early, rather than giving time to explore all the possibilities. Glad you've finally "found" yourself and are following your dreams! And wow, THE OUTSIDE looks awesome!

Kristi Cook said...

To add to my earlier comment--just downloaded THE HALLOWED ONES! Can't wait to start the series!

Laura Bickle said...

Thank you so much, Lea! Being a super serious teen has its advantages, but definitely some disadvantages. Glad to know that I wasn't alone! :-)

Thanks, Kristi! Maybe I should have taken a year off between high school and college or something. Maybe there should be some mandatory "quest" that young men and women should do before deciding what to do with the rest of their hike the Appalachian Trail or something! :-)

I hope that you enjoy THE HALLOWED ONES!

Jennifer McGowan said...

This reminds me so much of my youth, though I was not nearly as serious as you--or impressive! Still, I felt from a young age that I had to go-go-go... and I did! To college, to Paris, to work, up the corporate ladder... until I finally jumped off that ladder without a net. :)

Still figuring out to do when I grow up, but I am definitely closer! GREAT post! Thank you so much for it!

Laura Bickle said...

Thank you, Jennifer! I never made it to Paris, but I know how you feel. Working without a net is scary, but awesome! Go, you! :-D