The Silver Ship and the Sea: 9-90’s Fiction and YA
I believe you can write fiction for all age groups that will appeal to a YA audience. By the time I was thirteen, I often went to the adult shelves to find books to read.
I think there are two reasons for this:
This book is “otherness.” It’s about six genetically enhanced children left behind on a planet that detests genetic modification. While the theme of “otherness” is appropriate to people of all ages (and currently a major point of our national conversation), it is perhaps most germane to teens. For many, one of the most import tasks is to find their chosen tribe and then find a way to belong there. I know that I tried on many personalities and social circles, and also tried to join some I just couldn’t quite reach for. At that age, every social rejection mattered, every time I was referenced as a “geek” or a “smart kid” or a “mentally gifted monkey.” Yes—that was a thing in my life—being called a “Mentally Gifted Monkey.” I’m pretty sure teens are called worse things now.
The Silver Ship and the Sea is narrated by a teenager. Chelo Lee is the oldest of the teens, and the one who feels like she has to get her little tribe through its dangerous existence. This is also a very teen thing—a chance to explore taking responsibility as a leader and to feel what that might be like.
Even though it has always been shelved in the adult science fiction section, teen readers have found it and commented on it to me at conventions. So there are other teens now who are like I was—looking to the adult sections to find works that might appeal to them.
Brenda Cooper writes science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories, and sometimes, poetry. Her most recent novel is Spear of Darkness, from Pyr and her most recent story collection is Cracking the Sky from Fairwood Press. Brenda is a technology professional and a futurist, and publishes non-fiction on the environment and the future. Her non-fiction has appeared on Slate and Crosscut and her short fiction has appeared in Nature Magazine, among other venues. See her website at www.brenda-cooper.com.
Brenda lives in the Pacific Northwest in a household with three people, three dogs, far more than three computers, and only one TV in it.