Inspiration Monday-Christopher Pike
If you were a teen reader in the 90s through today at some point you probably read one of Christopher Pike's books--to this day when I bring his novels up in conversation people's faces light up as they recall their favorites... "Remember Me" about a ghost named Shari trying to solve her own murder, "Chainletter" about a group of friends stalked and killed for not following the game, "Witch" about a fate and death and when not to mess with either...
It's a testament to his writing that Pike has stayed on our radars for so long--he is one of a handful of people who inspired me to write along side Judy Blume, Jane Austen, F Scott Fitzgerald among others. And when I think about why he stayed with me--and helped create young adult popular enough to make the NYT best seller list--it's easy to see that he did what few people in the genre were doing at the time.
He wrote about real shit.
Sure his books had murders, other worldly creatures in some, teenage psychos in others, but where Pike's strength was at its best is how he wrote about "adult" issues for teens. Characters could be gay or racists, they would talk about sex and drugs, abortions and divorce, they smoked and swore as much as they sighed and held hands. They had deep thoughts and philosophies about things like God and politics, they had real relationships with parents and peers, they weren't always pretty or kind or fun to be around. But there was a solid base of honesty in the stories Pike created and a bond between his reads and himself that he rarely ever broke.
To this day I still believe his series "Final Friends" is Pike's masterpiece--well plotted, complex characters dealing with real things and yet still high school students in the best sense of the word. It is a series that I would die to see made into a mini-series or short run TV show, something that I always bring up when the conversation turns to inspiring books for myself as a writer. To this day without prompting I can name off all of the characters and what happened to them throughout the series without blinking an eye which is the mark of powerful writing in any format.