Anonymous asked: How do you deal with parents who email to complain about themes or bad language in your books? And, on the same note, how do you deal with parents who challenge your books in school libraries?
The only parents I worry about are my own… which is fairly easy bc
- my dad doesn’t read books. He CAN obviously, but in the 41 years I’ve been his daughter I don’t think I’ve ever seen him read a book for pleasure
- my mother LOVES books. She reads mostly romance, but also ghost stories, classics, & the random non-fiction. She reads hardcover, trade paper, MMPB, ebook… She reads indie pubbed & small press & Big 5 published books.
So, yeah, I think about their opinions bc they’re my parents. That doesn’t impact the content of my books though. By this point in my life, they know I have sex (the whole getting pregnant bit about 16 yrs ago kinda made that obvious), they know I cuss like … well, like my mother does. They’re very aware of my politics—both stances they agree & don’t agree with.
All that said, I know they’d love me even if I screwed up. We all three have tempers… but never once in all my life was there a sense that they’d think less of me over WORDS said aloud or in a book.
As to other people’s parents?
Totally not a factor in my life. I don’t shove my books in reluctant people’s hands like some cartoon drug dealer. I write them for myself, my kids, the people I’ve known in my life. If any parent wants to say my books aren’t for their kids, that’s completely their right.
Now, if they want to say my books aren’t for OTHER people’s kids, I’d get a bit miffed. I don’t think I have the right to determine what their kids read, but I don’t think that disapproval of a book for their own child has a bit to do with other kids.
Now, admittedly, even as I say that I have to admit that I don’t deny my kids the right to choose their books, so there is a bit of confusion there. I have said—
1. I’m not sure you’re ready for this— which has always meant they say either “okay” or “you’re wrong & here’s why …” In my home, if they can successfully challenge a decision, it is overturned. My kids are exceptional debaters as a result.
2. Not with my money, honey. You want it, you ante up.
Answer #2 is the one that they scowl over.
There are, in truth, books I won’t buy my kids. One author has offended me so much that I simply refuse to buy his books. My teen son, however, likes that author’s books & tells me that politics aren’t enough to deny himself the reading pleasure. That is his right. He’s 15. So, if he wants to read that author, he has to get the book from the library or buy it with his own money. That’s my rule. I’ll buy most any book my kids want—except for a few authors on my “refuse to put my money in his/her pocket” list. I don’t expect my kids to blindly obey my stance there, any more than I insist they are my same political party, religion, or share all my personal beliefs. They are people who have a right to their own views.
… which is pretty much how I feel about everyone.
I don’t expect ANYONE to believe something bc I do, but I also don’t think they have the right to impose their politics on other people.
So what do I say to parents who object to my books? Nothing. I write what I write. I live how I live. I raise my own kids to know that they should question EVERYONE, including me, and form their own views. If a parent opts not to like my book, not to want their own kid to read it, that’s their right. If they send me an ugly letter, I … do nothing. Life is too short to waste on replying to hostility. Writing the letter probably made them feel better. So be it. My replying, however, wouldn’t make ANYONE feel better.