Friday Q&A

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! On Fridays, the OneFours answer questions about their books, writing processes, life, favorite flavors of ice cream, and more. This week’s question:

When you were 14, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a baseball reporter. I didn’t quite pull that one off.
-Helene Dunbar, THESE GENTLE WOUNDS

I wanted to be Tommy Shaw’s girlfriend (the blond haired guy from the 80’s band, Styx). Thank God that didn’t work out.
-Jaye Robin Brown, NO PLACE TO FALL

I took a break from wanting to be an author to think I should be a doctor. Lesson learned: never go for what you think you *should* be instead of what you want to be.
-AdriAnne Strickland, WORDLESS

I wanted to be a forensic investigator or a homicide detective. Like most balanced fourteen-year-olds, I was obsessed with unsolved murders.
-Michelle Krys, HEXED

I wanted to be an artist, any kind of artist: poet, painter, musician, singer, dancer – I did it all.
-Chris Struyk-Bonn, WHISPER

I wanted to be a journalist. Same thing when I was 15 and 16 and 17, and all the way until my last year of journalism school in college. Then I was all, Errrrrr…never mind.
-Meredith McCardle, THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN

I wanted to be a Doctor, until I discovered the whole cadaver semester of med school. Changed my mind pretty quickly.
-Lisa Maxwell, SWEET UNREST

I wanted to be a paleontologist. I still think dinosaurs are awesome.
-Lori M. Lee, GATES OF THREAD AND STONE

I wanted to be some kind of rich socialite lady in Victorian times. I’m still hoping to pull this off once time travel gets invented.
-Skylar Dorset, THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS

My fantasy was to be an actress. My realistic choice was advertising, which I ended up going to school for and actually working in for several years before realizing that 14-year-old Jess was WRONG.
-Jessica Love, PUSH GIRL

I wanted to be an archeologist specializing in Egyptology, primarily. I did love reading about the history and the excavations, but I think I also just really wanted to be Lara Croft from Tomb Raider.
– Rin Chupeco, THE GIRL FROM THE WELL

I’d just started writing for my school newspaper and I badly wanted to be a travel journalist. Alas “traveling” to the rival high school for a report on mascots did not require a cool multi-pocket khaki vest like those correspondents on TV wore. Le sigh.
-Jen Malone, AT YOUR SERVICE

When I was fourteen I wanted to be a writer. I developed a penchant for fountain pens and small notebooks, the better for jotting down inspired bon mots. Sadly, being left-handed, I smeared the ink across the page so consistently that all those pearls of wisdom were lost.
-Dana Alison Levy, THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER

I wanted to be a costumed interpreter at a historical museum a la Colonial Williamsburg, wearing petticoats and teaching people how to churn butter. Still do.
– Laura Marx Fitzgerald, UNDER THE EGG

I wanted to be someone that people would notice. I always felt slightly invisible, compared to my gorgeous, and super-popular older sister, and my too-adorable-for-words younger sister, and I wished that I had something special to make people notice me too. I spent all of my time writing short stories and poetry, and dreaming of a day when my words would be recognized all over the world. I also secretly wanted to be a stay-at-home mom when I grew up, but by the time I was 14, I’d convinced myself that I was too unlovable, and I’d never be able to be a mom, because I’d never find someone to love me enough. It took me years to realize that I was selling myself short. Maybe that’s why I so often write about characters who have so much more going for them than they realize.
– Veronica Bartles, TWELVE STEPS

I wanted to find my way into Neverland because growing up just seemed like a stupid idea. That feeling never really went away. I cried on my 21st birthday because it was that final, FINAL step into adulthood.
– Erica Cameron, SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE

By 14 I’d exchanged my dreams of being a veterinarian for the bright lights of Broadway. I wanted to take the stage by storm as a triple threat–singing, acting and dancing. (This dream has never quite died, BTW.)
– Louise Galveston, BY THE GRACE OF TODD

When I was fourteen, I was singularly disinterested in growing up. Though that sounds as if I was sitting calmly on a divan with my legs crossed, cogitating on the matter, but it really looked more like me screaming in an unattractive manner while pelting as hard as I could in the opposite direction.
-Jenn Swann Downey, THE NINJA LIBRARIANS

Wow, I…do not even remember. Fourteen is somewhere between my “First female president” and “Rock journalist” phases; my ambitions were more like “SURVIVE THIS.”
-Dahlia Adler, BEHIND THE SCENES

Fourteen was a tumultuous year. I think I skipped around from stage manager to boxer to tattoo artist.
– Julie Murphy, SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY

I wanted to be the Lady of Shalott, of course. With a side gig naming crayons, house paint, and nail polish colors.
-Sarah Combs, BREAKFAST SERVED ANYTIME

I wanted to be rich and I wanted to be a teacher, so you can see I had a wonderful grasp of oxymorons early on!
– Linda Vigen Phillips, CRAZY

Well, obviously, I didn’t want to grow up. But if I had to, then I wanted to be a children’s book author… with a stint as detective/international spy on the side! Thank you, Nancy Drew and Spy Fox!
-Lauren Magaziner, THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES

When I was 14, the guidance counselor gave us personality tests to help match us with career paths–and I thought for sure I’d get English teacher or journalist (as those were the only “book lover” jobs I knew). But what I got was–surprise!–archivist. True, I was attracted to old, crinkly papers, and yes, I did want to get my hands on them. But archivist seemed out of question. Who from my little spot in southwestern Virginia grew up to be an archivist? Short answer: no one. But then, after graduate school, I just sort of stumbled into a job as a museum director in charge of a historical archive–in my hometown, no less. I got my hands (or at least my white cotton gloves) all over old crinkly papers. Lots of fun and dust. That said, what I really wanted was to be a gypsy fortune teller who travels around with the carnival.
– Mary Crockett, DREAM BOY

I wanted to be Johnny Carson. I loved that he got to talk to people and ask funny questions and generally chitchat in a way that really cracked people up. Didn’t seem like it could get better than that!
– Kate Hannigan, CUPCAKE COUSINS

When I was fourteen I wanted to be a child psychologist who specialized in dysfunctional families and overcoming traumatic events. This career goal of mine continued throughout high school and college, where I triple-majored in psychology, sociology, and social services and minored in criminal justice. While I am not a child psychologist today, I use what I learned in my writing, and many of my books/manuscripts feature dysfunctional families and carry the theme of overcoming traumatic events.
-Clara Kensie, RUN TO YOU

I wanted to be an Olympic volleyball player (the next Gabrielle Reece!) and professional cellist (the next Jacqueline du Pré) simultaneously.
– Natalie C. Parker, BEWARE THE WILD

I wanted to be in charge. I didn’t really care of what.
-Skila Brown, CAMINAR

What did you want to be when you were 14? Share in the comments!

Skila Brown has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in Kentucky and Tennessee, lived for a bit in Guatemala, and now resides with her family in Indiana. Her debut novel, CAMINAR, is available now from Candlewick Press.
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