In general, I like to keep my stories light, but they do go to some very dark places, in particular, in The Mansion’s Family, and Acapella Angels. I have to really tell myself to tone it down sometimes. People said The Mansion’s Twins is a family friendly book, I’d like to keep my whole series that way, and that’s honestly more about pleasing the parents than the kids.
I really enjoyed darker things as a kid. Maybe because adults wanted to shield me from it. Maybe because I didn’t experience a lot of it. But I think it was because it was fantasy to me. And I think most kids are this way.
I read the Hunger Games a couple years ago, and honestly, it was too much for me. I liked it, I definitely see it’s value, but it was too dark, too real, and the whole time I was reading it, I was thinking, “where was this when I was sixteen?” That’s the age I would have loved it.
When something is pure fantasy, no matter how dark it is, it’s fun. I remember listening to two different sad songs, and I don’t remember what they were, but one of them was about missing someone who had died. It reminded me of some of my characters, and I loved it, I wanted to listen to it all the time, and it never really made me that sad. On the other hand was a song about a couple struggling with a long distance relationship, thinking they’d might break up or something. I just couldn’t deal with it. It was way too sad for me. I realized this was kind of weird. Death is a lot sadder than just distance, or breaking up with someone. But at that point in my life, I had no experience with death. I’d never lost anyone close to me. But I knew what it was like to be in a relationship, and be apart from someone I loved, and even though we didn’t break up over it, that song still hit me hard, because it was something real to me.
I think it’s really easy, when we feel something affecting us so profoundly, to think it’s going to be that much worse for kids. They’re younger, they’re smaller than we are, so we think these big dark things are going to be too much for them. But they’re not as fragile as we think. A kid can be super nice, and gentle, and empathic, but still see a dark world as fantasy and enjoy it. They still have a long way to go as far as emotional development, even if they seem “sensitive” to you. Of course, everyone is different, and I’m not sure how weird I was as a child.
Anyway… I wanted to put this ramble out there because I feel like most people don’t share this perspective, and rambling weird views are what Wednesdays are all about!