When I sat down to write Bones Buried in the Dirt, I never questioned that it needed to be told with a child narrator. However, one of the most common questions I’ve been asked by people who read it is how many kids I have. The people who ask are usually surprised when I say none.
I can understand a little bit. After all, how did I get the voice right (hopefully I did, I certainly think so and quite a few of the people who have commented on the book seemed to think so)? Still…wasn’t I a kid? Even if I don’t have any of my own, aren’t most of us in contact with kids every day?
I just imagined. I remembered things I’d observed that would help with the voice and used them. Most important for me, I read the text back, in my head and aloud, and listened to try to see if anything sounded false.
I think it worked.
Many authors write characters vastly different from themselves, or at least themselves in their current states. Many aren’t around people like their characters on a daily basis. You either pull it off or keep trying, in my view.
I certainly wasn’t going to have children only for the sake of trying to make the book work.