This is an excerpt from my talk with Alicia Caldwell Henderson, author of the YA novel, “Young, Dumb, and Naive”. I did my best to transcribe this powerful piece of our conversation for those who like to read more than watch or listen.
How I became an author
Colin: Everybody that’s watching this knows you as an author. When did the author start was that as something as an early age just picked up a pen. How did the career as an author begin?
Alicia Caldwell Henderson: It started at an early age. I have to credit my mother for it because she was really involved in making sure that she introduced all of us (I have two siblings), to reading at an early age. She would read to us, take us to the library often.
I would read those and I really became so involved in mystery books. It was from reading Nancy Drew that I decided I wanted to write.
I took one of my dad’s like folders from his job. He had some extra stuff from work, office supplies. It was like a two prong folder and I just started writing, “The Mysterious Something.”
I don’t even remember how, but I decided my pen name was going to be Michelle Auburn. Michelle’s my middle name, Auburn don’t know where that came from, but I started writing just a little bit. I was young I was like, 9 or 10 at the time.
As I continued my education, I became a strong writer.
In college if my classes were based on essays, I was getting an A. I would wait till the last minute because I do my best work at the last minute unfortunately. But I had an A, every single time.
In high school I wrote for my newspaper staff, I became the editor my last year! I continued that track on through college, until my last semester of college. That is when I decided that I didn’t to be a journalist.
We were learning about how to write opinion pieces. This was around the time that 9/11 happened. Prior to September 11th, we were analyzing the paper looking at all the commentary and all the articles were about shark attacks. Right after September 11th, everything was centered around that one event.
Then different articles and opinion pieces with speculations about what happened, what could happen, who’s next, etc. It inspired me to write a column, you know, just saying that as media we need to be more responsible and what we put out there because we don’t want to manipulate people.
And so I turned it in, my professor looks at me, and I’ll never forget this moment. She looked at me and she said,
you know, the media is our business too.
So it was at that moment that I knew I couldn’t write I couldn’t write for a newspaper because I didn’t want to manipulate people.
Colin Can Help Thoughts:
Ever since, Alicia has been working as an educator and writing young adult fiction. Staying true to telling the stories and teaching the messages she wants to teach. She was so great to talk with because her energy for writing and teaching just flies right out of her.
I highly encourage you to follow her on social media and check out her book!