aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,
aprilhenry
aprilhenry

You're nobody until somebody hates you

This weekend was the Wordstock Festival and the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association trade show. I did a couple of events on each day - including interviewing Patrick Ness on a big stage under bright lights - and tried to see as many other authors as I could.

The way Wordstock is set up is that most children's authors speak on the Target Children's stage. (If you are really in the big leagues, like Patrick, you get on one of the standard stages, but most do not.) It doesn't matter if you write picture books or gritty realistic fiction, you are on the Target Stage. At least 20 feet past the last row of the audience, there are a couple craft areas for kids, and someone dressed in a Clifford the Big Red Dog costume might go walking by.



When Nancy Coffelt and I spoke, there was one actual teen in our audience. The rest were adults. At the end we were taking questions. One was, "What's next for you guys?" Nancy answered and then I answered and started talking about the next adult book I have with Lis, which is based on a real life woman who drowned two children when she was 13. I didn't say anything more than that - and didn't plan to - but this guy standing in the back started waving his arms and yelling, "Watch what you are saying! This is the children's stage!"

I was really taken aback. And then I looked at the audience - most of them well over 40 - and said, "Well maybe Wordstock needs to put the YA writers someplace else, but this audience is not made up of children. Even if you considered the kids doing activities on the fringes, who were engrossed in their glue and pipe cleaners, I wasn't being graphic, unless saying the word "murder" is graphic.

It really made me feel uncomfortable.



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