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My Writer's Journal

On becoming a writer: Part VIII

Need to back up a little; I missed an important chapter before the move to Texas. This was the HOTLINE period of my writing life.

In 1989 I was asked to write a series of four books about a group of high school kids who decide to form a crisis intervention line when a mutual friend commits suicide. The series was to be called HOTLINE. I saw it as a huge challenge, and it was. I spent 6 weeks in a training class for a volunteers and then did my time sitting in a cramped little office, waiting for the phone to ring and hoping that when it did it would be somebody with a solvable problem, and NOT somebody standing on the ledge of a building and ready to jump. I also spent time at an ABQ high school with a diverse student population. Then I came up with four major characters, each taking a turn as the main character in one of the books. BECAUSE OF LISSA, GILLIAN'S CHOICE, THE PROBLEM WITH SIDNEY, and THE TWO FACES OF ADAM were published in 1990 and 1991. One set of books turns yellow and crumbling on my shelf.

Fast forward 22 years to the present. I've become interested in the possibilities of e-books and self-publishing. The stories and the themes and the characters of the HOTLINE books are still relevant. Just need a little updating in language and setting, some new covers, and voila! Ready to go!


It's a new world. Teenagers who read those books 22 years ago are probably themselves now the parents of teenagers, and it's now a digital world of cellphone, the internet, texting, chat rooms, IM-ing. Does anybody even have a land line any more? So how would peer counseling/ crisis intervention work? I still think the stories are good, and I'm still trying to figure it all out.

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