I write dystopia. Adult dystopia. For some reason, many readers assume dystopia is synonymous with YA.
My 14-year-old niece took Botanicaust to school because she was excited her aunt wrote a book, and planned on doing a book report with it. (My sister allowed it – that whole, “It’s dystopia so it must be YA thing.”) The teacher called and asked my sister if she knew what her daughter was reading. “The cover is a little... saucy.”
Uh, yeah! This is a book for adults. Look at my cover. That is the first thing a reader sees – it’s a promise about what they are going to get inside. Does my cover say YA to you? The image is a woman, not a youth. And she’s naked. I’d guess there may be adult themes in the book. So, why do people assume it’s YA? Because it is dystopia. (If you’re unfamiliar with the term dystopia, I wrote a short article on it a while back, which you can read here.)
Many adults are reading and enjoying YA these days. There is even a group on Goodreads called Our Guilty Little Secret for adults who enjoy YA. I’m writing for those people, who appreciate the deep thinking themes and fast pace of YA dystopia, but might want a protagonist who’s over sixteen. Dystopia fans of the world, unite!
To finish the story about my niece, my sister went ahead and allowed her to read the book because the two sex scenes are very vanilla. What I would call rated ‘R.’ She and her daughter have a very good relationship when it comes to being open and talking. But I will forever be (jokingly) called the “slutty aunt who writes porn.” Welcome to adult dystopia!
Tam Linsey lives in Alaska with her husband and two children. In spite of the rigors of the High North, she grows, hunts, or fishes for much of her family’s food. During the long Alaskan winters she writes speculative fiction. You can find her books on Amazon and other online retailers, or visit her website at www.tamlinsey.com and follow @TamLinsey on twitter.