Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bridging The Gap

There's always been a generation gap, I suppose, and these days it's no easier for mothers and daughters to find things in common. Music tastes, television viewing, movie picks - they all vary with age. But a good book? A good book can oftentimes be a perfect bridge for that gap.

Think Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, The Wizard of Oz - all books that can be enjoyed by women and girls alike. It doesn't matter if you're fifteen, forty-five or seventy. You'll still cry over Beth March, fall in love with Gilbert Blythe and enjoy a stroll down the yellow brick road. Great ways to nurture conversation!

When I wrote Fireflies In December, I wrote it for adults. The main character may have been thirteen, but the experiences she went through were decidedly frightening at times, and I never even considered that it would be aimed towards teenagers. Which was something of a problem for me when trying to get it published. For many publishing professionals it fell somewhere in between Adult and Young Adult, and it seemed after a while that I'd never find the perfect spot for it.

But I did, and despite the fact that I've heard wonderful things from women of all ages, some of my most excited readers are teenage girls. In fact, one of my young readers traveled 140 miles with her grandmother to come to my latest book signing. It was truly a highlight of my short career, and the minute I glanced down at her well-read copy of Fireflies In December, I was overjoyed. There's nothing better for an author than seeing their book all dog-eared and wrinkled. Those books are the ones that have been devoured. I've dog-eared and wrinkled up quite a few in my time.

And I remember discussing many of these books with my mother when I was a teenager. We didn't always have the same favorite parts or have the same opinion about the ending, but that was what kept the conversation interesting and made for some great memories.

I truly hope Fireflies In December joins the lineup of novels like those, the ones that light up the imaginations of mothers, daughters and granddaughters alike. And I hope there are many wonderful writers out there who will continue to add to the list.

How about you? Are there any books you share/shared with your family?


Ethan M. said...

140 miles?!?! Whoa, congrats Aunt Jen that's awesome. Anyway, sorry about the Pens game.

Jennifer Valent said...

Thanks, Ethan! And now that it's a few days later, I can still say "let's go Pens!" Game 7 tonight! :)