TellTheWolvesby Carol Rifka Brunt, author of Tell the Wolves I’m Home: A Novel (Dial Press Paperbacks), winner of the 2013 Alex Award

Here’s a secret: When I first started Tell the Wolves I’m Home I had no idea whether it would turn out to be an adult or a YA book.

“Tell the story you need to tell and worry about the rest later.” That was the advice everyone gave me.

Good, I thought. I like worrying about things later.

So I forged ahead and pounded out a solid first draft. I told a story of a shy, socially-awkward, teenager in 1987 and her love for her dying uncle and her secret friendship with the man he loved. I told a story of AIDS and shame and things we hide from other people. Mostly, though, I told a story about love. Looking back, I think that first draft could have made a pretty decent YA novel. It was half the length of the published version and it was a more streamlined unlikely friendship story. Still, it seemed like there was more to say. I kept working and reworking and by the time I’d redrafted several more times I found that I’d added 60,000 more words and several extra layers to the story. At that point I was sure it was no longer really YA, but rather an adult novel with a teen narrator. My agent agreed and Random House published it as adult literary fiction. (more…)