I’m often asked if I’ve always wanted to be a writer. However, I’m never quite sure how to answer that. While I’ve always been creative, with unique thoughts and stories swirling through my head, I never planned on writing a book, especially one for teens. When I look back now, I see that I was always drawn to writing, whether it was articles for companies I worked for, newsletters for organizations I belonged to, or stories and workbooks I created for my small children. But writing a teen novel? No, that was never something I had thought about, but God had other plans for me.
My journey to become an author of Catholic young adult novels began when my own children started searching for middle grade and YA books. It was a difficult balance to find books they wanted to read that also reflected the values we were trying to instill in them. I remember thinking, why doesn’t anyone write these kinds of stories? Little did I know it would be me. But then one day, the idea for my first novel, The Perfect Blindside, literally popped into my head. Scenes, characters, and ideas of this exciting mystery just kept coming to me, until I finally had to write them down. A few other odd things happened, convincing me God was calling me to write this book.
It took numerous years of editing and revising until Pauline Books and Media took a chance on my story and published it. To see this spark of an idea, which God planted in my head, come to fruition has been truly amazing. To hear from teens and their parents who have enjoyed it, an unbelievable blessing. Last May, The Perfect Blindside received a Catholic Press Association First Place book award; while I was honored, I know all the glory belongs to God for leading me on this journey.
Since then, I’ve written a few more books. An Unexpected Role was released in October and two more novels, including a sequel to The Perfect Blindside, will hopefully be published in the next year or so. My writing goal is to combine fun, exciting mysteries with elements of faith, to create stories teens will enjoy and parents will feel comfortable with them reading.
Each of my books has an underlying theme that reflects this goal, such as using your gifts and talents from God to help others; discovering who God wants you to be; recognizing a calling from God; and standing strong in your faith, even in today’s culture. For the past year, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to speak in classrooms and with homeschooling groups about these themes and my own personal story. I love to encourage the students to use their own amazing gifts to help others and glorify God.
One of the unexpected joys of this venture has been connecting with other Catholic authors from around the country who share my passion for creating books for teens. We are kindred spirits who have begun collaborating to share the news of these books to teens and their families. The last several years have been an incredible adventure, beyond my wildest dreams. While I’m not sure if I always wanted to be a writer, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m so thankful to God for guiding me down this path and I’m excited to see where He’ll lead me next.
Copyright 2017 Leslea Wahl
About the author: Leslea Wahl lives in Colorado with her husband and three children. She loves to travel with her family and has been known to incorporate a few of their real life adventures into her stories. Leslea enjoys interacting with readers through social media, whether it be on her own sites or those of her lead character, Jake.
Twitter: @LesleaWahl or @BlindsideJake
Instagram: @Leslea_Wahl or @blindside_Jake
For more information on her books and upcoming projects, please visit Leslea’s website: www.LesleaWahl.com
For more wonderful Catholic teen novels, please visit: www.catholicteenbooks.com.
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