It took a hurricane for K.P. Smith to discover her passion. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Smith evacuated to Atlanta with her children. While in Georgia, a writing course inspired her to pen a story loosely based on growing up in New Orleans. Growing Pains: Kendra’s Diaries is a young adult coming of age story dealing with issues most teens face making her words relatable. Smith says she used her life as a starting point, but Kendra (the protagonist) took over and told her own story. Smith says of this 1980s era tale, “Times change, but experiences are timeless.”
Young adult fiction is popular and coming of age stories are important to readers, but Smith had no intention of writing a young adult book. After getting feedback, many adults said it was reminiscent of their childhood. Much like a hurricane, a tumultuous childhood can rip everything away except a strong foundation. Smith has a strong faith that anchored her through family struggles and more than the usual teenage angst. Smith says, "Growing Pains: Kendra’s Diaries is a book mothers and daughters can read together, then discuss the challenges, decisions, and changes that come with growing up. I want young men and women to know they are not alone in the journey.”
After the hurricane, K.P. Smith returned to New Orleans to rebuild her life. Smith now speaks at churches, book clubs, and writer’s conferences encouraging young adults to never give up a God-given passion.
Smith says, "We all remember growing up; coming of age is a journey and sometimes a difficult journey. If we knew then, what we know now – we would do things differently. Let’s give this generation the benefit of what we have learned. Let’s help them learn in the “classroom” so they do not have to take the “field trip.” I wanted to share my “field trip” as a work of fiction in Growing Pains: Kendra’s Diaries.
C. A. Webb from "Conversations Book Club" says, "This book is just the kind of journey that those young and old should be able to appreciate. Age has nothing to do with avoiding problems and the different circumstances that we face, however, it can make a difference in the way we address them. I think author K. P. Smith has contributed to an important dialogue with Growing Pains: Kendra’s Diaries and as the series continues I think we will be able to use the corresponding books to help others throughout life's journey as well."
Smith plans to write more in this series. However, she wants to share her writing experiences with other emerging writers and show them the path to publishing.