Thoughts on becoming a YA author, part 1

As we slowly approach the Sept. 13 release of After Obsession, the book co-written with the awesome Carrie Jones, I’m seeing an increase in hits to my Web site and am getting a few messages from new readers. This is great. Mostly.

I’ve looked forward to this, believing that readers who like After Obsession will want to read more of my books, so sales of my werewolf books will pick up. But I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. Keep in mind that I was a teenager during the splatterpunk movement in horror. Shocking was good. Sex, violence, violent sex, sexy violence … that was the norm. And it carried over to the writing of Shara, which was originally finished in 1993. Shara, in wolf form, has sex with a wolf and I describe her being stuck on the the dogknot. That’s just one scene. Murdered by Human Wolves has the rape scene, which really isn’t that graphic; I’d compare it to the devil’s copulation with Rosemary in Rosemary’s Baby. Call to the Hunt has one werewolfy oral sex scene that was graphic enough The Oklahoman refused to review the book, calling it pornography (which it certainly is not). Of course, the worst of the bunch is my ghost story Seven Days in Benevolence, where I really tried to be as shocking and gross as possible. By the time I got to Ulrik I’d toned things down, at least in the sex department.

I’ve let my high school students read my werewolf books. Mostly seniors, some juniors, and these are kids I know and can warn and sometimes check with their parents. Nobody’s been shocked. Nobody’s complained, and most of the kids claim to like the books.

The other day I was contacted by a young reader with many questions about the writing process. She found me because of After Obsession. Well, she’s only 14. This got me to thinking about crossover readers a little differently. I wouldn’t have let my own 14-year-old daughter read my books (if she’d asked). Now, because of Carrie’s huge following, there’s a possibility that many other young readers may pick up my adult books and find that they are not … well, not for young adults.

Two months after Bloomsbury releases After Obsession, Bad Moon Books will release Amara’s Prayer, a very sexual adult novel. By this I don’t mean pornographic. The sex isn’t there just to be there, and that’s never been the case with me. But there is a lot of sex, and there’s a fair amount of detail about the act because it’s integral to the story. It isn’t a book for the YA audience.

It’s an interesting scenario. Since the adult books are from small presses, maybe very few of the After Obsession readers will notice them. Maybe parents who let their kids read paranormal young adult romances are okay with their kids reading about werewolves with dogknots. I don’t know.

Maybe I’m being too uptight about the whole thing and it isn’t even an issue.

2 responses to “Thoughts on becoming a YA author, part 1”

  1. Here’s my thought on it. (And I have two daughters, so hopefully that makes my opinion worth something.)

    Parents should at the very least be aware of what their kids are reading. If time allows, they should also read it, or at least find out what it’s about. And in this day and age, they could easily look up the title online and find out all about it in a matter of minutes. And if they are concerned about the subject matter, they can discuss with their child. That’s what parents are for anyway, right?

    I say, don’t worry about it. You’re not these other kids’ parents. I think it’s great that you have a conscience – awesome, actually. But, really, your job is to write the books, not worry about who’s reading them.

    So, I say that you should enjoy the increased visibility and have fun! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Heather! Of course your opinion is worth something! I guess the bottom line is there’s really nothing I can do about it. I have to write the story that comes to me. Someone likely will be offended eventually, anyway. Even J.K. Rowling couldn’t avoid that. 😉 I appreciate the feedback!

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