Our guest today is John Calicchia Ph.D., author of the young adult fantasy, Mirror World. Mirror World is the story of two powerful young sisters and their epic battle against evil. But, this book has something in it most do not: hidden secrets. It’s a teen and young adult fiction book with a self-help book hidden inside. After publishing psychology books and journals for years, John felt his writing was not helping young people that he loves to work with. He took famous psychology studies and put them into the characters and plot. As you become part of the story, you can learn about psychology or you can just enjoy the story.
“The inspiration for this book,” he says, “came from the things I love in life. I have always loved reading and writing young adult fiction and fantasy and I am also passionate about my work as a psychologist with young people. Since I have two daughters who I love dearly, I have always been disappointed with the lack of strong female heroines in literature and movies. Although this has changed a bit recently, not long ago it was difficult to find a female lead character especially in strong action roles. So I wrote a young adult book with strong female characters, and elements of psychology are embedded within.”
John is a professor of psychology who also works with children and young adults as a licensed psychologist. He lives near Boston with his lovely wife and two amazing daughters. You can usually find him in the pool swimming with his two big dogs.
Dorothy Thompson: Can you tell us about your publishing experience?
John Calicchia: My publishing experience is probably different from many authors who write fiction. I came from an academic background and have been publishing in the psychology field since the early 90s. However, I didn’t feel that my academic books and journal articles were helping the young people I love to work with. So, I decided to write a teen and young adult fiction book that had famous concepts in psychology embedded in the characters and the plot; almost like a self-help book hidden within a fiction book! Since I have been reading young adult and teen literature for my entire life – this book was the most enjoyable publication experience of my life! Also, using Create Space and KDP from Amazon was a wonderful experience. The editorial staff was top-notch and the platform is easy to use.
D.T.: What can you tell aspiring authors on their quest to be published? Any advice?
J.C.: I think the most important thing is you have to write what you know and love! I know and love psychology and young adult fiction – so writing comes easy to me. I can usually write 2000 to 5000 words in one morning. Using voice dictation is a wonderful way to spin your first draft. It’s also very helpful if you have been an avid reader and are very familiar with the literature within your genre. For example, if you are interested in teen and young adult books you should read the earliest works of Tolkien and also the newest stuff like Divergent or The Hunger Games and the hundreds of great books in-between. You’ll be so familiar with the themes, writing styles, metaphors, and plots – writing a similar work should go well for you. I also believe everyone has a book inside them that is just dying to come out, so follow your dreams and write what you love and you will love what you write! Definitely don’t forget the beta readers and excellent editorial help.
D.T.: Where can we find you on the web?
J.C.: Follow me and you can also get a free copy of the users guide to help you understand the psychology behind the book by joining my website, twitter, and YouTube.