Guest & Contest: Amy Durham

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends;
they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors,
and the most patient of teachers.”
~ Charles W. Eliot

 

Have you ever felt invisible in the middle of your own life?

Have you ever walked into a crowded room and felt like no one noticed you?

Have you ever felt the conflicting emotions of hating the shallowness and superficial-ness of the “in crowd”, and yet at the same time wanting so badly to be a part of it?

Have you ever felt sad and depressed for no obvious reason?

Have you ever felt completely unappreciated, as if there’s not a soul on the planet who cares or acknowledges what you have to offer?

Have you ever longed for someone to think you’re pretty or cute or smart or funny?

Have you ever wished you had just one person to talk to, only to realize at every turn that there’s no one?

Have you ever just wanted to feel like you belonged somewhere, anywhere?

As a teacher, I see kids EVERY SINGLE day who feel like this. Sometimes there are real reasons for these feelings. Sometimes the feelings are completely irrational. But you know what? It doesn’t really matter whether the feelings are rational or not. They still FEEL them. And the result is the same.

To some degree, we never fully outgrow those feelings. At least it seems that way to me! Sure, as adults, we’re able to see the big picture, and can (most of the time) discern when our feelings are irrational, but I’ll be the first to admit that those feelings I described above still creep up on me from time to time.

As an author (and a reader!), this is why I LOVE Young Adult fiction. Because kids need reading material that can meet them where they are… fiction that mirrors their own lives, feelings, and experiences, and yet offers hope and encouragement that things really can work out okay and perseverance really can pay off. They need to see that other teens (and former teens!) have felt that same sense of loneliness, isolation, sadness, longing, and invisibility that they experience, and that those people have been able to come out of those situations stronger and more equipped to handle life and all that comes with it. They need a safe place to escape from reality for a while; somewhere where they can lose themselves in the excitement of fiction.

The fact that most adults still sometimes experience those same feelings just widens the appeal of quality, relevant Young Adult fiction. Good YA fiction reaches across the generations, to speak to the teenager in all of us, and remind us all that we really do have reason to be encouraged and hopeful.

I can always find exactly what I need. Encouragement. Compassion. Humor. Acceptance. A book is a safe place to let off steam and vent my frustrations, whether it’s a mystery suspense novel or a feel-good romance. Whatever emotional connection I need at that particular moment to balance out the rest of what’s going on in my head… it’s always there, inside the pages of a book. Which is why books are my constant friends, wise counselors, and patient teachers.

 

durhamAuthor Bio:

Amy Durham discovered a love of writing in the sixth grade.  What began as poetry writing soon turned into stories scribbled into school notebooks.  In the 8th grade, her English teacher told her she was good at it and encouraged her to continue.  At that moment, the die was cast, and writing would forever be a part of her life.

Amy lives in Kentucky, where she is a middle school teacher.  She and her husband of 16 years are raising three wild, intelligent, and creative boys, giving her plenty of fodder for the love and adventure she enjoys putting in her stories!

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22 thoughts on “Guest & Contest: Amy Durham

  1. I love dogs and all, but sometimes books can be man’s best friend… or girl’s best friend LOL! Their stories engulf you in a fantasy world, which is completely consuming. A particular example would be Olive’s Ocean, which I read when I was pretty young. It was both an escape, and a learning experience because of its insight on human emotions.

    • I agree… books are not only an escape, but a way to learn. I’ve learned SO much from books. The lovely thing is that you don’t even realize you’re learning, because you are being entertained!

  2. erinf1 says:

    congrats to Amy on her new release! I think the first book that affected me in a positive way was Little Women. I loved that book and reading it as a 12 yr old just cemented my love of reading 🙂

  3. Chelsea B. says:

    Books completely make my life. If I’ve hard a hard day? I read a book. If I want to relax? I read a book. If I want to escape? I read a book. If I want to go somewhere, fall in love, fight a fierce battle… I read a book. Books are… Air. Life. Cookies. They just *are*.

  4. Diane Sallans says:

    Reading a good book just makes me feel happy – and I often learn things about places, things, history.

  5. Josette Schaber says:

    Every book I read affects me in some way. Most help me escape to a new world for a short time. Allowing me to relax and de-stress. I’ve been reading since I was little, my mom took me to the library for storytime and always allowed me to bring something home. The book I remember is a small printed book that talked about a little girl who was too small for everything until one day she was big enough. I loved that book and read it all of the time. I think it taught me to never give up and have patience, because some day I will have the chance to do everything I want to do.

  6. pc says:

    Books have provided me my “happy hideaway” when I think/thought things just couldn’t get worse in my life…sort of a lifeline—thank you authors!

  7. Leanna H says:

    Books have provided me an escape. I have a chronic illness that sometimes effects me physcally but I can usually read I love a good book with a happy ending. Someone that works at my library describes how I feel when you get a new book it ‘s like Christmas.

  8. Anne says:

    Books are meaningful and provide me with endless hours of enjoyment. They take me to other places, realms and introduce me to many people whom I would never have the chance to encounter in real life. Books have brought me happiness, fulfillment and the entertainment value lasts forever. When I was recovering from Breast Cancer books were there for me and allowed me to think of better times and gave me hope and love.

  9. Shamara says:

    First of all books are my favourite hobby so they provide me with countless hours of happiness. Also I feel that with certain good books I associate myself with the characters and this has helped me deal with situations which I did not know how to cope with.

  10. Dione Sage says:

    Reading books is beyond an obsession of mine. I love to devour them and have spent years getting lost in wonderful and amazing worlds that authors have created and shared with readers like myself. Book can be relaxing, thought provoking, enjoyable, fun, sad and sometimes disturbing but any way you look at it, as long as a book pulls some type of emotion from it’s reader it has done something to affect us. I couldn’t imagine a world without books…that would be in my opinion Hell!

  11. Karen H in NC says:

    Books are my closest friends….always there, always constant. Last year, I had cataract surgery on both eyes. As my vision was deteriorating because of the cataracts, I thought if I were to ever loose my vision entirely, I would be totally lost. Thank goodness, my vision is vastly improved now.

    Congratulations on the release of your and thanks for the giveaway.

  12. Jansen says:

    Reading gives me a chance to “shut my brain off” from every day life. It gives me a break. No work, no kids, no nothing…it’s RELAXING!

  13. JoAnne says:

    Interesting perspective as both a teacher and a writer.
    Reading has always been important to me and others in my family.
    Mom was an avid reader and put that bug in all of us. When we lived in NY we had quite a hike to get to the library but hike to it we did – at least once a week.
    Reading opens doors for us that we might never walk through otherwise.
    I’ve been places I might never get to in my lifetime and enjoyed those visits and travels.
    I love talking books with family, friends and authors (on facebook). I love sharing the books I like with others too – not only family and friends but on goodreads and through reviews too!
    Thanks for sharing.

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