Julie Anne Peters is author of several YA, middle grade, and children’s novels including Keeping You a Secret, Define “Normal” and Rage: A Love Story. She can be found online at julieannepeters.com We asked her about some of the things she’s encountered in her career as an author.

Q: What are some of the unexpected gifts that you have found through writing GLBT characters and relationships?

A: Let me just list them:
1. The empowerment I get from hearing from readers whose lives are impacted by my work. Making that personal connection with a reader is a reward unto itself.

2. Knowing that my books are touching the hearts of people of all ages, throughout the world. I hear from teens, of course, but also older gay and straight people who share their stories with me. I feel honored that they’d trust their most intimate thoughts and feelings with a person they’ve never met.

3. After writing LUNA, it was a huge gift to add transgender people to my life. Before that book, I’d never known a trans person. I find their courage to transition amazing, and it’s given me a broader perspective on what courage really means.

4. I’m always surprised that even one person would want to read my books, so being able to forge a career out of writing, out of doing something I love so much, is astonishing.

5. Having the freedom to grow as an artist, knowing my agent and editor will support my most freakish endeavors. Even though my editor has come back with, “Um, okay, Julie. This is very different from what you’ve done before. What are you trying to accomplish here?” she’s never said no. I’m extremely lucky to have the support of my writing group, my agent, and my publisher.