I’ve been talking about my experience so far after a couple of months sharing my books on Wattpad.
Wattpad allows you to tag your stories so interested readers can find them. It was through the tag system I first realized there’s a sub-genre of general and YA fiction revolving around siblings. In most cases, the protagonist is a girl in her early-to-mid teens, the siblings are mostly older, mostly boys, and the stories are first-person accounts.
There are sub-sub-genres in this category. I’ve found stories where the relationships are fairly toxic (the girl is bullied and physically abused… all in good fun??!), where she’s subjected to intrusive or humorous overprotectiveness by her brothers, or where she has a more easy-going relationship with her siblings punctuated by endless pranking.
Whatever floats your boat, you can probably find it on Wattpad.
But I had no idea this genre existed when I wrote the Wynter Wild books, although I’ve always been interested in writing about siblings. (FYI, I come from a family of four kids, and I have just one of my own.) The books started as two separate ideas that have been rattling around my brain for probably a decade: a sibling rock band with absent parents, and a girl who grew up isolated (such as in a cult). I put that girl into my sibling rock band story, and the Wynter Wild series was born.
The music is just a backdrop for the relationship stories within the family, and an excuse to delve into themes such as the meaning of love and the long-term damage done by growing up in unsafe, unsupportive environments.
Including the three brothers’ POVs meant I needed to create separate and complex lives for each of them (not to mention individual voices, of course). There are various subplots about their lives that don’t directly involve Wynter, although their life experiences (past and current) influence how they relate to her — what they can teach her, what she can teach them, and where things might go wrong.
All stories are different in their own ways, even when they start from similar ideas, and this focus on the whole family is what makes mine a little different from some of the other teen-girl-with-siblings stories on Wattpad. The series covers several years of Wynter’s life, so as she grows up she does face typical teen problems like high school, boyfriends, summer jobs, etc. but Wynter isn’t a normal girl so don’t expect her experiences to be normal either. On top of that is her atypical past, which keeps throwing things — and people — back into her life when she least expects it.