Packing for my move gave me a lot of time to dwell on this. If nothing else, it helped me clarify in my mind where I am targeting Angel Odyssey towards. This is a fantasy novel, it does skew YA since one of the protagonists is 14~15 but it is intended to be a fantasy novel.
Again, this is the kind of book I would have wanted to read when I was fourteen and I was not reading middle grade or even YA books at that age (no doubt because that category did not exist by that name back in 1984).
This is a book for those boys who are about to become men. It's for men who remember what it was like to be fourteen. This is my chance to talk to them and say, 'hey, this is what kind of life Jacob comes from. These are the challenges he faced and this how he faced them'.
This is also a book for girl who dream of falling in love with a boy who loves them back, not for their looks and not because of what they can do for them but for who they are. Its about being powerful and powerless, being dependent and yet having someone depend on you. It's about choosing between love and duty.
This is for people that are done with Harry Potter but may not want to jump to Joe Abercrombie.
This is ultimately a moral tale. Oh it's adventure story of course, with a healthy dose wish fulfillment, dragons, flying eagles big enough to ride on but it's also about the rites of passage boys go through (or went through once) to become men. Those rites of passage are: Leaving home. Sex. Killing. Taking responsibility. Not quitting, even when things get hard or look hopeless. I would hope that the novel could be judged by it's whole and not by two sentences out of 400+ pages.
I'm not trying to offend, the sex, violence and bad language here is so much less than anything you can see on TV it's not even funny. Which is what confuses me so much about the feedback I get over Luther and Samuel. I mean, really? A 19th century obscure reference to girl parts, an oblique reference to oral sex and a crotch grab and people are ready to write the book off?
Don't get me wrong, I WANT to know what stumbling blocks exist, if what I've written would make someone stop reading, I need to know that. But people read Robert Silverberg? George RR Martin? Stephen King? I'll leave Phillip Jose Farmer and Robert Heinlein to one side since they are pretty notorious and I'll avoid bringing up Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn (apart from that reference) but there's nothing here that's not mentioned much more explicitly in The Merry Wives of Windsor or the Canterbury Tales. Heck, Francine Rivers has much, much, much more explicit references to sex in just one of her novels and she writes exclusively for Christian outlets. (Redeeming Love, ISBN 1601420617)
And again, the context is always negative when this ribald language is shown. I am showing the wrong way and the right way to treat women in this book. We learn from both positive and negative examples, don't we? I mean, part of what got me started was reading some fantasy or sci-fi novel and thinking 'Oh, I know I can write better than that.' The same here, I want to show by negative example in some places and by positive example with my male protagonist.
Someone mentioned (and I'm not picking on her, heavens knows I respect her opinion) that "If one of my sons were reading this, I'd be having a stern conversation with him about respect for women and how this may color his perception of what is acceptable". I am having the same conversation with your son. I am showing him how respect women by Jacob's example (or Tibor's example for that matter, though he's....rougher). So have your talk with him, this book is MY chance to have that talk with him as well.
Do we all want to be writing books that have the tagline: 'Books your mother would approve of'?
Again, I'm not going out of my way to include adult content, I have my Sci Fi novels for that :) And I am taking all your comments very seriously but in the end, this is my story written in my voice. I hope it's a good, interesting story but I have to tell it my way. If these two sentences ruin the book, I don't know what to say. I'll think about changing it but I may wait until someone paying me for this tells me I need to.