Parent vs. Author: What do I do now?

The big day is tomorrow, and I’ve been busy getting guest posts written and biting my nails. The hard copies came, making me cry, and presenting a problem I didn’t expect to have.

I set them in a neat stack on the bookshelf, and yes, I pet them every time I walk by. Five copies in a tidy pile, with my name on the spine… (One of them will go to a Goodreads winner, and there’s still time to sign up. An ebook copy will also be given away on Stumbling Over Chaos — run and enter, because today is the last day!)

My son’s girlfriend, a charming young lady (an opinion I held even before this incident) noticed the stack. Youngerson explained that Mom had written them. I knew nothing of this until I came through with a stack of laundry — funny how a book release affects nothing of the daily needs of the household.

Charming Young Lady congratulates me on the achievement, and then *gasp* asks if she can read it.

OH SHIT

I did SO not see this coming.  CYL has just turned seventeen. What do I do now?

I don’t think Youngerson explained exactly what sort of romance it is; his own knowledge of my writing, or so I  imagine, is that it involves men kissing. He may have put together a great deal more in the two years since we had that conversation. Since writing is a boring adult activity of no conceivable interest to him, I don’t know that he even read the back blurb.

CYL is the intelligent sort who does read back blurbs. So the content may not be a mystery to her, though the degree of explicitness might. Not kidding myself about other things she may have read at this tender age, because goodness knows I read my way through much racier material as a teenager. But is this something that I as a parent want to put into her hands?

I flashed on the horrific scene of me having to explain to her mother (a nice traditional Asian lady) why I thought this was a good thing to give to her daughter. “An expanded understanding of the stock market and the mortgage crisis” is probably not enough to counteract handsome, naked Ricky on the cover.

When I found my wits again, I told CYL that I was sure she was mature enough for the material but that I didn’t feel right about putting  it into her hands.

The book isn’t even out yet and I’ve turned down a reader. But what else could I do?

15 responses to “Parent vs. Author: What do I do now?

  1. Thanks for the mention!

    Um. Maybe tell her to ask again after she’s 18? 🙂

    • Heh, yeah. I know there’s nothing exactly different about the last day of being 17 and the first day of being 18, except for all the things one can magically do because of the number changing. But seriously, I don’t want to give sexy books to anyone who’s kissing my teenaged son!

  2. You did the right thing, Pam. My daughter is 16 and I’ve shared some of the LGBT YA books with her that I’ve read and loved, and she’s read and loved them too. But if someone were to hand her something with more adult themes without checking with me first, I’d have to have a talk with that person. It’s not that she doesn’t know about the mechanics and varieties of sex–pffft, I’m not an idiot–but no, it’s my job to at least *try* to know and understand what she’s doing and what she’s reading and what she’s seeing.

    And then I just want to dig all her American Girl dolls out of storage and demand that she be an innocent 7 year old again. ::snort::

    • I appreciate the parental feedback and reassurance. And I hear you on demanding the olden days back — my son is busy being seventeen tonight and I’d like to wring his neck.

  3. I would’ve given it to her. As you said, I was reading much racier material at 17(and younger) and I think we all turned out alright. But, I can see how being the one to give it to her would be uncomfortable.

    • Sweetcakes, did I ever mention that I gave a certain principal of a Texas high school a frickin’ heart attack because I was policing ages limits at a fanfiction site? I appreciate the thoughts, but it’s different when it comes from my hand.

  4. LOL I still remember when my aunt handed me a slash fanzine. I was 12 or 13 but, then my parent’s let me listen to G’n’R and NKOTB at the same time. I think that warped me. ;P

  5. If you’re afraid her mom might make a fuss, then ask her mom if it’s okay for her to read it. “Hi, Mrs. Girlfriend. Your daughter’s asked if she can read my book — it’s a romance about two guys and has sex scenes in it. Is that all right with you?” Mrs. Girlfriend says yes or no, and there you go.

    Angie

    • I wasn’t thinking that clearly, I’m afraid. Also, my interactions with her parents so far lead me to believe CYL is the translator for the household.

  6. I think you did the right thing. My 14-yr-old daughter has been flashing around copies of Wolf because ‘the covers are so awesome OMG!’ and a couple of her friends asked to borrow copies. So I got the phone numbers of their parents, explained to them what was in the books and asked them if I should allow their daughter to borrow them. One said no, one said yes, and one opted to let her daughter read ‘Aisling’ though the daughter declined. *snort* The cover, apparently, was not awesome enough.

    You have to be so careful when they’re under 18. You were very smart to do as you did. And if she really wants to read it, she’ll buy a copy. In which case, it’s entirely out of your hands and you’ve gained a paying customer. 😉

  7. I will agree completely on the awesomesauce of the Wolfs’ Own covers, and think young lady would enjoy Aisling, cover or no.

    It really was not part of my thinking that CYL’s father is a Chinese chef and owns an enormous cleaver. Or not much.

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