Yes, that’s me – writing for 13+ readers.
This means I want more than 13 people to read Of Night and Light.
(That was a joke – sort of – in case you were wondering…)
This genre and age-group pigeon-holing thing. I don’t know. It’s hard to fathom.
I’m not that, well…market-oriented…if that’s the right phrase. If that phrase even exists. (It does now!)
See, I didn’t sit down and say ‘I am going to write a book for 13+ readers.’ I wrote Of Night and Light. From my heart, because that was what was inside me needing to come out. If you’re a writer too, you’ll understand that.
This approach may be one of my many Big Mistakes.
Admitting that’s what I did may be an Even Bigger Mistake.
I had literary consultants review my manuscript. One of them said I should make my protagonist 16 years old because teenagers ‘like to read about someone older than themselves.’
This made no sense to me. Rosa, my narrator, is 14 years old, with all the confidence and insecurities of a 14-year-old but not the life experience of a 16-year-old. So anyone younger than 14 will be reading about someone older than themselves, surely?
I looked, and quickly found a book with a 14-year-old protagonist.
I bought it. I read it. I enjoyed it. I contacted Kate Thompson, explaining my dilemma. She was kind enough to reply, advising I stick to my guns.
And I like reading about 14-year-olds and indeed, 16-year-olds – and I’m a LOT older than that. At least in years, if not in mentality.
So, Of Night and Light is not exactly YA – which, if you didn’t know, is short for Young Adult. “Authors and readers of young adult (YA) novels often define the genre as literature as traditionally written for ages ranging from sixteen years up.”
Hence – I’ve placed it, nominally, in the 13+ category. Which does exist, incidentally.
Having said that, I CAN say that people have read my book who are NOT 13 but in their thirties and, oooh, even older. And they tell me they loved it.
(If Of Night and Light is a big disaster because it’s not possible to place it easily in a category, please refrain from reminding me I said that!)