7533827_sI started writing my Shadow Realm saga when my two children were pre-teens and they have now safely navigated through their teen years. If you are a parent, you know how changing those years can be.

Not only have my own two children experienced their teens but so have Selena and the other wonderful characters in my books. And as most fiction writers do, I have formulated part of their fictional journey using stories from the lives of my own children and their friends.

Our house has always been grand central station with all ages.  My family says I have a gift of listening without judging.  My children and their friends seem to feel comfortable enough to unload their concerns, fears and challenges while hanging at our house.

Some of their problems and my own problems as a teenager have been written into the Shadow Realm Saga with a twist added to it. Part of the reality of life is that we don’t always make the best choices; however, many times the lessons from which we learn the most are those that started out with a bad decision.

So like real life, my characters aren’t always going to make the right choice.

[pullquote]Matthew 7:1-2 ” “Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”[/pullquote]

I hope the reason that my children and their friends feel comfortable sharing is because they know that, no matter what, I will listen and try to offer guidance without judgement.

I do have my own philosophy when dealing with issues. My dad is a great man and is the one who taught me how to listen.  Many don’t realize how adolescents can actually talk through their issues and come to the right conclusions by us guiding them with simple questions as they open up.

I have used this with my own children who are now 20 and 23.  As a parent I have a right to be upset but if they are willing to be open with then we discuss the problem without punishment. I have learned that if we allow our children to talk through their problems, they often discover the solution without any dictates from us.

It is gratifying to listen to them hash through their issues and then thank me for helping.  All I do most of the time is sit there.  Listening.  Adolescents and people in general are dear to my heart.  In some ways, I feel like Selena at times.

Listening has been helpful, not only as a parent, but also as a writer. Incorporating situations, dialogue and emotion from real situations helps to provide a layer of authenticity to my stories. It also helps bring them to life for me, as a writer, and hopefully for you, as a reader.

If you are struggling with a story idea or if you have teenagers that you struggle to connect with, drop me an email or leave a comment on my Facebook page. I’m here to listen.

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