Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of a book’s, and writer’s, target audience is brought to you by novelist Saskia Akyil.
What kind of writer do I want to be?
We’ve all heard that J.K. Rowling’s upcoming book is intended for adult readers. Why is this big news? Because all of her previously published books were intended for young readers. Her first book was written for middle-grade readers, though it clearly appealed to young adult as well as adult readers. Ms. Rowling’s second book was also for young readers, as was her entire 7-book series. By writing a series of books for young readers, she established herself as a superstar writer for them… so what’s she doing? Leaving her readers behind, or growing with them? Taking a risk because she wants to and because she can afford to? Perhaps she’s tired of writing for children? Maybe these are all reasons that led her to write a book of a different genre as her previous ones, but one thing that is certain is that she can afford to take a risk.
My first published novel is also intended for young readers. The majority of my readers have been adults, however, and as I plan my next book, I wonder if I should write another YA book, or if I should attempt writing another genre. In other words, what kind of writer do I want to be? Book 1, ‘Secrets of a Summer Village’, is a coming of age mainstream fiction / YA crossover. It’s fairly light-hearted, upbeat, and positive. The feedback I’ve gotten is that it makes readers feel good and learn something at the same time. It also makes you feel good when you’re writing happy, positive stories. That said, I don’t want to write fluff.
I have a storyline for my second book, but it could go either way – YA or general fiction.
The feedback I’ve gotten from young readers is that they enjoyed the story and they learned something new at the same time. I don’t want to disappoint them – I want to give them something accessible and intelligent, I want to take them on a pleasant adventure and for them to learn something new – that’s what I like best about my book, too. Whoever I write for, I want the book to teach the reader something new. I was thinking of making the main character of my second book 13 years old, but then I was told that 13 is a black hole because it’s considered too old for Middle Grade novels and too young for YA. So my main character needs to be either 12 or younger… or 15 or older. Which is a shame because I think that 13 is a fascinating age. It only makes things more complicated that so many adults have enjoyed my book…
So, what kind of writer do I want to be? Should I continue on the path I’ve taken with my first book, or should I try a new route? This is a dilemma that all authors must have at some point in their careers!
Having written four novels, all of different genres (lad lit, chick lit, general, crime), I’m still working that one out myself… thank you, Saskia!
After receiving a B.A. in International Studies from Emory University and an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) from the University of Minnesota, her writing took on a more formal tone as she wrote articles for academic publications.
Saskia gained incredibly diverse experiences while simultaneously working three jobs in Olympia, Washington; as a community college ESL professor for immigrants, as a state program administrator for displaced homemakers, and as a Spanish-language medical interpreter. She has also taught numerous cooking classes in the United States and in Germany.
As a hobby, Saskia collects languages, and has studied French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Turkish, and German. Her first novel, ‘Secrets of a Summer Village’, was published in September 2011. She now lives in southern Germany with her husband and two young children and has been writing stories ever since she learned how to write words, though her stories have significantly improved, as has her handwriting.
If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.
The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with travel and short story author Vic Heaney – the four hundred and twenty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.