This secret world carried me through all my schooling years. It grew and developed with me. At times, it changed. My attentions shifted. But most things stayed the same. Magic Inc. always felt like a better, safer place for me than the real world. As I began writing fanfiction, some of my world leaked into my writing. But Magic Inc. still remained mostly private until the spring of 2010. By this time, I had been writing several other books that connected to the same universe as Magic Inc. And I had realized it was time to actually write *my* story.
This was even more difficult than I expected. Because Jane *is* me. Her experiences and feelings are almost entirely my own. And I knew some readers would not understand her. I was an extremely sensitive child. Growing up, both peers and adults questioned the intensity of my emotions and affections. I was, at the same time, an overly mature child and an overly innocent one. Jane's dreams and longings may read as "too old" for her age, but this is how I truly felt as a child. I *didn't* feel like I belonged at school. As children often do, I longed to be an adult. This is not unusual. But I also ached for a more mature connection. I think that's why I always got along better with my teachers than my peers.
But what I really craved was romantic love. From age nine and on, I would fall desperately, obsessively in love. And yes, I do call it love. Was it exactly the same as love between two adults in an actual relationship? No. But then, I think every love is different. That doesn't make it any less real. What Jane feels is completely based in the reality of what it felt like to be young and in love. To want to find wholeness in the arms of the right person.
You might not be able to relate to Jane's story. And that is completely okay. But I do believe there are other kids, teens, and adults who will be able to relate to the intensity of her passion and struggles fitting in with the world around her. Sharing a story is a very vulnerable process for any writer, and when it is based so totally on your own experiences, it can almost paralyze you with fear. As I prepare to finish Jane's next adventure, I want to thank everyone who has let her into their lives so far and anyone who will do so in the future. Thank you for treating her kindly.