NEW WINDSOR - Throughout most of Rebecca Greene’s life, the thought of becoming an author never even entered her mind. However, all that changed about 13 years ago.
Flashback to 1999. Greene, who was commuting to a management job in New York City, had become a Born Again Christian. Always aspiring to work with children, she also took on the role of youth mentor. As she immersed herself in the position, she discovered the deep issues the children faced, and had to find a tool to unlock their pent up emotions. Her solution came in the form of a story aimed at her 11-14 year old audience. The story’s narrator - a 15-year-old girl named LeeAnna who was surrounded by a strict Christian background and a minister father - yearned to be like her rebellious peers.
As soon as Greene read the story to the children, her writing took on a life of its own. Not only did the tale get her audience to reveal some of their own worries, fears and joys, but it got them excited about reading.
"Their excitement over what was going to happen to LeeAnna next kept growing, so I just kept on writing," said Greene. "I never intended to write a book from all of this, but it just kind of evolved."
That evolution has resulted in a total of seven books for the New Windsor resident. Six of those reads are under the label of Dear Diary (three Dear Diary, 15 and three Dear Diary, 16.) The first was published in 2005, while number six was released just last month.
Greene has also dabbled in a more adult genre, publishing Sisters in the Name of Love in 2003. Following the relationships of three women with their friends, husbands and children, the book, like her series geared towards a younger audience, was successful; however, the latter still far surpassed it.
"I was shocked at how many more people liked Dear Diary," reflected Greene. "Even with the adults who liked it, it was just as much - if not more popular - than with the kids."
Greene credits some of her series’ appeal to the voice of the narrator. Because she has spent so much time working with and listening to youth, Greene feels she is naturally able to capture the tone, language and subtleties of a 15-year-old girl trying to figure it all out. Whether it’s concerning teen pregnancy, suicide or relationships, LeeAnna speaks to her audience in a way they can relate.
"I think I was able to capture who she was because in many ways I was and still am her," Greene says with a smile. "It’s also really nice to be able to see her maturing from each of her experiences as I write this book; in many ways, you get so connected, and you become the character."
Greene cites yet another element involved in capturing the realness of her protagonist.
"All of my books are inspired by God," said Greene. "So, I truly believe that has inspired me to understand LeeAnna as well as be able to have the stories just pour out of me."
Concerned that youth are plagued with pressures to form a sense of who they are, Greene is convinced that many are seeking it from dangerous sources such as gangs, drugs and sex. She is hopeful that her Dear Diary series, which she is intent on writing several more installments of, will offer healthier alternatives to that identity crisis.
"The biggest reward of being an author is seeing the looks on the kids’ faces when they read, some as quick as two days, Dear Diary," says Greene. "Even some who were never readers can’t put them down. Many will ask me with excitement, ‘When is the next one coming out?’ That’s just priceless to hear."
The Dear Diary books and Sisters in the Name of Love are available online anywhere books are sold. To learn more about Rebecca Greene, visit her website: www.whoamIministries.org.