I seem to have had a few toes eaten by lit bloggers since my essay’s been published. They’ve misinterpreted a few things, and several people seem to have mistaken my “surprise” and “confusion” at my novel selling as YA for hand-wringing disappointment. I wasn’t filled with hand-wringing disappointment. In reality, having a book that I labored on for 8 years finally find a publisher didn’t leave me and my loved ones sulking in my apartment. Let me assure you, there was champagne, there was complete and absolute relief and joy, and the thanking of various deities. I thought I should clarify a few other things about the essay too:
The article is only 1400 words, so a lot of information had to be left out, due to space limitations. I’m also the author of a YA series called Missing Persons, so this essay really is about this particular book, Cures for Heartbreak. I wrote Cures for Heartbreak as short stories originally, and many were published in magazines for adults. My surprise at it selling as YA was that as a writer, if I had intended for this book to be YA, I would’ve approached the material differently during the many years I was writing it. It has a lot of bad language and sex, and a reflective tone that I assumed would disqualify it from consideration as YA.
Some clarification on my agent’s “bad news” comment, as well: it was also in reference to the rejections it received from adult houses, and for the editor in chief not supporting the adult editors who wanted to make offers. My agent represents some amazing YA authors, so obviously she’s not ashamed of the genre. She was surprised as well that publishers viewed it differently than we did. It’s a strange business.
One thing I have to say here is that I’m a bit surprised (ok, not totally surprised, just a little new at this, since I’ve never published such a widely-read essay before) at the way in which people feel free to fling vitriol. One blogger commented “I wanted to punch the author.” Um, what?! I’m a very petite person–one might say completely unthreatening– and hearing that a strange man would like to punch me (even if it is metaphorically) and for him to admit it in a public forum…let’s just say it’s rather ungentlemanly, to say the least, and perhaps downright creepy. Anyway, I commented back and he apologized, which I accepted. Still, I think this disrespectful tone people take is really, well…disrespectful. I think if you wouldn’t say it in person, then don’t say it at all. (About the punching, my husband emailed him too and said, if he’s still interested in fisticuffs, he’d be happy to oblige. My husband is really big, people! You don’t want to mess with him!)
Anyway. As my friend Mike’s ten-year-old daughter says, “Whatev.”
Coming tomorrow: an interview with Markus Zusak!