I have the honour of welcoming J.C Michael to To Another World today!
When Charli first offered me the opportunity to write a guest post for her blog (thanks Charli!) my first question was "what sort of thing do you suggest?" One idea was a post on what I used to read in my teens, and that got me thinking.
I don’t recall ever hearing the term Young Adult when I was a teen. There was no Harry Potter, no Twilight, and no Hunger Games. There were kids’ books of course, and children's literature, like the Narnia books, but once beyond that you were into fairly adult territory.
I'd always been a reader. I'd read Homers Odyssey, and The Iliad, at Primary School. I can remember my teacher rolling his eyes when I asked how to pronounce the Greek names, and the Latin scientific names of plants and animals in an old copy of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. By the time I was mid-way through Secondary School I was reading Stephen King, James Herbert, and a whole raft of other horror and thriller writers. These were the pre-Amazon, pre-Internet even, days, and I gathered up paperbacks like The Rats, and The Crabs, from car boot sales. A group of us used to read the gory bits together during dinner break at school, trying to find the most gruesome, and yes, I admit, the rudest, sections in these clearly "adult" books.
In some ways my own novel, Discoredia, ticks some Young Adult boxes. Many of the characters are relatively young, in their teens and early '20's, and it's set in the world of clubbing and raves. In essence though it is a very "adult" book with regards to theme, tone, and language. Yet I still think that there's a place for it amongst a younger readership, despite the explosion of the Young Adult genre. It's undeniably great that there are so many books aimed at the teen market, once we have all learnt to read it's vital that we continue to read to learn. However I fear that Young Adult doesn't appeal to everyone, teenage boys in particular, and it's a shame to see anyone lost to the simple pleasures of reading for fun.
With that in mind adult literature, like mine, can still have a part to play when it comes to younger readers. I concede that the swearing and gore isn't perhaps the best thing for youngsters to be reading, but they're going to get that from rap music, or movies, or video games, not to mention TV. You can't deny that the soaps cover some blatantly adult topics. Surely there's some value in just reading an actual novel, whatever the content, as the very act of reading has a value. It always seems sad to me when people say they've never read a book unless forced to at school, so if my novel prevents just a single person from ending up like that then, to me, that's a success.
Discoredia will be released this September by Books of The Dead Press. For more information on both J.C.Michael and Discoredia please visit http://www.discoredia.weebly.co.uk .