Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

A Question and a Giveaway: How Old Are You?

No. I am not asking how many years ago you made your appearance on this planet.

I want to know, how old is your soul? 

When I sat down for an amazing chat with author Nan Marino last week, we talked about what audiences we like to write for. Her favorite readers are “MG” or middle-graders. She relates to 11-year-olds who still feel like they have all the time in the world to grow up. Those are the kids who value friendships perhaps above all else, the great sharp-eyed explorers. 

So, in a way, Nan and I agreed, that’s how old she is then. Nan Marino is 10 going on 11.

Some other people are “babies” at heart. Take any good kindergarten teacher who delights in letter-people fun year after year and doesn’t seem to ever grow tired of it!

When I was a kid everyone always said how mature I was. I couldn’t wait to “grow up.” When I was 11, I told my best friend I couldn’t wait to hit my teens so the boys would “treat me properly.” (Ha!) Now I find myself reading YA lit for pleasure and writing books for teens. I am working on my second book manuscript. Originally, I thought it would be fun to write for younger audiences, maybe 8 to 12, to explore that classic middle-grade territory. But as I wrote, I noticed a little bit of sarcasm creeping into my characters’ speech and worldview. My girls’ throughts were turning to boys. Before I could blink, my girl and boy character who were supposed to be strictly “friends” started getting that attraction. Finally I settled on “tween” girls as an audience for this book.

I am 11 years old

Still, the rocky adolescence seems to be the age I relate to the most. The strife! The angst! The drama!

Sweet sixteen, I think . . . a mere five years later!

I have a theory that even historical eras have “ages!” I mean, when we think of the 1920s in the United States, we think of the youth culture. Fun, parties, cars, haircuts, boys, booze, music. Slang expressions like “baby” and “23-skiddoo” and “makin’ whoopee” that almost sound like baby talk, even though their meanings are quite grown-up.

How old are we as a society in 2010?

And, whether you’re a kid or a grownup, how old are you? What kind of literature do you read the most? If there is a different age you could jump to — by magic — which age would you pick?

(Still not sure? Try a personality test! ) http://www.blogthings.com/whatagequiz/
Answer the question — or comment on any of the above — and possibly win your choice of Nan Marino’s “Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle And Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me,” Kathryn Stockett’s runaway bestseller “The Help” or a newly issued paperback reprint copy of the beautiful and heart-wrenching “In The Time of The Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez. I will choose the three winners randomly, but among the randomly chosen, those who comment first will get their top pick of the prize!
Ready, set, go!  🙂

June 11, 2010 - Posted by | Contemporary History, Writing Mirror | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Humm, I told Nan this morning that I thought I was more like 6 going on 12.

    Originally, I wanted to write for younger audiences but soon realized that most of what I write falls into an older age group, so I guess you’d have to say that I was 8 going on 22.

    Comment by S A Putnam | June 14, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi! Yes, it’s like that sometimes, we think we have an idea of what we want to write, how we want to sound, or who we want to write for, but sometimes our works know better! 🙂

      Comment by Katia Raina | June 14, 2010 | Reply

  2. I took the quiz, and I got 29 years old.

    It wasn’t too far off the mark. I think I have the soul of a 27-year-old.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | June 15, 2010 | Reply

    • Medeia — wow, you’re precise! 🙂

      Comment by Katia Raina | June 16, 2010 | Reply

  3. 6 going on 42? 10 going on 177? The math…I’m baffled by the math…

    I will say that I’m drawn very much to writing middle-grade. It’s not because I don’t relate to older ages, but because my memories of and associations with being an older teen are complicated in emotionally challenging ways. My middle-grade years were, in an odd way, more complete, at least from an emotional perspective.

    That having been said, I will eventually write picture books, because I feel very much in tune with the preschool years as well. I know this partly from my experiences working with small children, and now through my experiences as a parent. So…3 going on 11?

    Comment by Mike Jung | June 15, 2010 | Reply

    • You’re funny, Mike Jung 🙂
      But . . . when you explained it like that, your math does make its own kind of sense! (Maybe that’s cause I’m not a math person either?) 🙂

      Comment by Katia Raina | June 16, 2010 | Reply

  4. The quiz said that I act like a 26 year old….but I’m actually only 20! I think I’ve always been a little mature for my age…maybe because I’m the only child or because I’ve always hung out with friends a few years older than me. I agree with you I think your soul does have an age. My mom is in her 50s but I think she still acts like she’s in her 30s. I hope I win a book!!! haha

    Comment by Stephanie Pyle | June 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Stephanie — hey! I am so excited that you stopped by! You do seem mature for your age 🙂 Oh, and thanks for your nice words to me, earlier. It meant a lot 🙂

      Comment by Katia Raina | June 16, 2010 | Reply

  5. The quiz said I was 18 (and I’m..er..older than 18). It also said I was rebellious, questioned authority and still searching for my place in this world. I’m not sure anyone’s ever called me ‘rebellious’ (even when I was 18). But the searching part works.

    Comment by nan marino | June 17, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Nan — these quizzes are like shooting darts in the dark — once in a while you might hit a target if you’re lucky. But they’re fun to do! Anyway, I love that you’re searching. I’m searching, too! I will always be searching!:)

      Comment by Katia Raina | June 17, 2010 | Reply

  6. Thank you guys for participating! I now have the winners. I will be contacting them today and posting the results of my little FIRST-EVER giveaway this Sunday!!!

    Comment by Katia Raina | June 18, 2010 | Reply

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