Daily life is pretty dreary for eleven year old Reggie. She's already mastered the art of dumpster diving for scraps of food and being her own parent. Her mother, dangerously close to a full break with sanity, is of little help. Reggie has invented a dream world where she and her best friend, Tough Girl, battle aliens for glory. Life is manageable until new neighbors move in and Reggie's dream world begins to unravel.
Tough Girl is an adult novel written about an eleven year old girl. I find that age fascinating. Middle school is one of those magical and tragic times where your body rebels, your moods swing, and you become apathetic. In short, you're a lumpy mixture of child and adult. You're navigating new responsibilities and starting to be faced with very adult problems. And no one's aging at the same rate. You may be flat chested while your best friend is curvy. You may have sprouted a full beard while your best friend doesn't even have peach fuzz yet. It's weird and complicated and extremely frustrating, or at least it was for me.
In trying to write about a young protagonist, I think it's important to remember how adult you felt at that age. I never thought as myself as a little kid during those days and neither did my friends. Our romantic relationships were real to us even if they were short lived and not very physical. Every problem was completely immediate. It was still easy to get lost in imagination and play but reality was becoming ever more fascinating.
Because it's not a YA novel and because most adults prefer to read about adults, I'm not sure how large an audience Tough Girl will have. I was cautioned against writing the book for that very reason. But I have always wanted to write this story and to me, that's the best reason you can ever write anything.