“How could I?” and other fan mail

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I never thought a WIP excerpt would offend anyone. But it has.

Some feathers were ruffled and questions have been raised. Apparently I can’t term myself as a children’s writer if I write stories about boyfriends who bite.

Technically that is right – a Young Adult (YA) writer is not a children’s writer. But a children’s writer can be a Young Adult writer.

I write stories for toddlers, 10 year olds, tweens and Young adults. Now do I write them well – only my readers can be the judge of it! I only know that I like writing for various age groups and I’m not going to stop it for anyone (I am having too much fun!).

Of course, I’m well aware of the danger of possible reader alienation, so I write cute, child-friendly stories under my real name and gritty YA stories using the pseudonym Smara. So I can assure you – no danger of a pre-schooler reading a PG 13 rated story 🙂

HOW CAN I

Credit: Imkelsi / Photopin.com

Teenage is like the twilight zone – everybody is a scared of it and most hardly know how to deal with it, including the person living it. A lot of parents (I know) have willfully suppressed the fact that teenagers, like children, do need unconditional acceptance along with guidance and support, in a different dosage, in a far subtle package. That’s why YA is and will always come under the umbrella term “Children’s writing”

Censoring books that deal with difficult, adolescent issues does not protect anybody. Quite the opposite. It leaves kids in the darkness and makes them vulnerable. Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Our children cannot afford to have the truth of the world withheld from them. – Laurie Halse Anderson, author of SPEAK

So for the gentle reader who wondered how I could write “sexy” stories for teens and distract them when they are at such an impressionable age, three things:

1. Teen novels dealing with sensitive issues need NOT to be a negative influence. SPEAK has been credited as having influenced many teens, i.e., school girls, to come forward and report their rape / abuse by their boyfriends. Teach one to fight rather than hide, I say. Remember what that wise fish said?

2. Edgy YA is so saturated in the West that it has become the norm. At least such an extensive collection like that exists there – where’s ours? Indian teens face the same temptations and dilemmas as any average western teen, so why shy away from writing about it? It’s high time Indian kidlit had its own contemporary YA line.

3. Please wait till the book is finished and I will send you a free copy. “Sexy” is the last adjective you’d use to describe that series!

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3 thoughts on ““How could I?” and other fan mail

  1. Oh, dear. So someone wants to put you in a box and nail the lid shut? Branding is an unfortunate (and lazy) habit of our species.
    Many writers cross genres and age groups. I do agree that YA really isn’t kid-lit. Childhood ends with puberty.

  2. I think this shows the danger of umbrella terms like “children’s books” that feature so many types of stories. I write for different age groups, too, and I think you’re right that it helps to write under a pseudonym for grittier projects. As for offending people…well, I think we can’t help doing that just by breathing sometimes. 🙂

  3. I write across the board, including some adult as well. Nobody has tried to box me in … yet. Or maybe I just don’t know. LOL. Happy writing.

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