ellen mcbee

She's always up to something…

About

The boring part:  I’m a full-time mom of three, with a B.A. and an M.Ed.  I used to teach high school social studies.  And don’t think I’m not busy:  I serve on three boards of directors and produce an elementary school yearbook in addition to driving all these people around!

I’ve written short stories and the occasional novel since I was very young. When I went to college I majored in history because I wanted to learn to write well. After college I worked at a financial services company while completing my master’s degree in education. I taught for a few years and then my husband and I started a family. Now that my oldest is fifteen, it felt like time to start writing again.

My writing projects in many ways have always been about college students. In high school I wrote a series of stories about a boarding school; when I was younger I wrote about kids away at camp or summer programs. I’ve always been interested not just in the growth and transformations people go through from child to adult, but the idea of that growth taking place away from parental figures. How do people decide who they really are? How does that affect the way we move through the world?

A few years ago I discovered New Adult fiction as its own separate category. Many of the books I dipped into were traditional romance novels with protagonists who happened to be college students. Many didn’t withstand feminist scrutiny, and are primarily interested in dark pasts and heroes/heroines who have been abused in some way, reminiscent of the “problem novels” that made up much young adult fiction years ago. Most of them have an extremely limited cast of characters. In nearly all of them sorority girls were either primary antagonists or stuck-up foils to the heroines. This approach seems to work for a lot of people, but I felt that there was a wider audience that wasn’t being served. Greek organizations today are more inclusive than ever, providing leadership and philanthropic opportunities for many students. And most students aren’t running from an abuser, but they are trying to make sense of themselves as adults in a world that continues to treat them like children.

So, I’ve got no problem with romantic fiction, steamy or sweet, and my own work tends to have strong romantic subplots.  But the stories I tell are more about growing up, and who a person becomes, and how we’re raising a whole generation of girls who don’t think they can have it all, but do think they have to do it all.

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