Today, I'm talking to Khiana Washington about her tale of overcoming abuse and negative circumstances, Looking Past the Mirror.
1) Tell us about your book.
Looking Past the Mirror is a gripping novel about a young girl by the name of Faith. The story begins with Faith attending her beloved grandmother’s funeral. Faith is affected strongly by this situation, but finds what she believes to be the easiest way to deal with it. Soon Faith’s drug-addicted mother decides that it is time for a change and offers Faith the chance to start over by leaving her abusive father and moving to Michigan. Just as Faith begins to believe that change will come, we see Faith endure a series of traumatizing events that will shape her as she grows into a mature young woman.
2) What inspired this book?
Although this novel is not about my personal life, my inspiration is my family. When my granddad died that was the first time I had really experienced dealing with grief and the concept of death. To this day I am still affected by it and it shocks me when I realize this. I wanted to write a story about what I feel hasn’t been shown enough today in young adult novels: the truth. Being a teenager myself, I think is good I have the fresh look out about how it really is.
3) What you say the fundamental theme of your book is?
The theme of my book is all about finding yourself. Through the main character Faith, Looking Past the Mirror shows how important it is to accept yourself and love yourself in order to just be happy in life.
4) With all the hang-wringing about in certain parts of the literary community about darkness in young adult books, why do you think it's important that young adult books deal with dark themes?
I think it is important because young adults are already living in the nightmares that dark themes suggest. It is unfortunate, but that it the truth. Why should the truth be covered when it can be highlighted? When writing Looking Past the Mirror I was never afraid to say what really goes on because that’s what teens need to hear, that’s what they are going to relate to, and that’s what can possibly help them in the long run.
5) Do you have any literary influences?
Yes, I most definitely do. Of Mice and Men is one of my favorite stories that has stuck with me and that’s what I want to be able to do with my writing: forever engrave it into readers minds so that they never forget me.
6) Penning a novel at 15 is an impressive feat. Many writers much older than you experience a lot of self-doubt. Did you ever question yourself during the writing process?
Yes, of course. A lot of the time I felt myself asking “Why am I doing this? Am I really good enough to be an author? I’m only 15.” Then I instantly had to say, “Good enough for whom?” and my moment of doubt passed. I have always been told that I could do anything if I put my mind to it so that is exactly what I did. I had to prove to myself that I could finish what I started. I had to have faith in myself and I never gave up.
7) What sort of projects are you working on for the future?
I am currently working on several other projects, but the main items would be two completely different novels which are currently titled Good-bye and Bystanders. Good-bye really focuses on the value of relationships and how they can change at any given moment. Bystanders is a story that solely focuses on the supporting characters of the novel, rather than the main character because it aims to show how standing by when negative situations are happening and not doing anything, can be just as bad or worse than being in the situation. I have also written a screenplay and in the future I hope to write and produce many more.
You can visit Khiana at her website, http://khianawashington.com/.