I write dark fiction.
That is my answer to anyone who asks me for a general classification of my writing. But things never end there: readers want to know specific genres and what audience my stories are intended for. The easiest—and most accurate—thing to say would be that most of my fiction is not meant for children. Psychologically matured teenagers? Yes. Mature young adults? Sure. Forever young old souls? You bet your experienced behind.
A reader, who had yet to explore AlmaMia Cienfuegos and Other Stories, wanted to know why the short collection wasn’t “labeled Young Adult or Children Literature. Isn’t the main character younger than 12 y/o?”
If you’ve read AlmaMia’s stories, you already know that the depths and darkness of the tales’ motifs are not meant for too young or too impressionable minds. The person who made the inquiry is reading the stories now, so I’m waiting for his, oh-I-see-what-you-meant, email.
Thorn in Red is a bit different… Okay, a lot different. Even I had some issues placing Mattalina and Bran’s story in a specific category. She is about to turn seventeen and he is eighteen. They are very close to their parents. The families work as a team and depend on each other. This could place the first novella in the series under the Young Adult sub-genre, or even Coming of Age. But I see Matt and Bran as too grown-up for their young ages. Also, the plot forces them into some very adult situations. Take this passage, from chapter twelve, as an example:
“I readjusted my position on top of Bran, until I found an angle that set my line of sight directly in front of the full moon that was taking shape over one side of the gateway. Sighing, I said, ‘Is it always like this?’
Bran stopped rubbing my back. The rest of his body tensed. ‘Sorry, Matt. I’m not exactly used to being naked in the woods, and with you like this.’ He swallowed. ‘I swear I’m not a pervert, but my body really likes you. I like you. A lot.’
His words didn’t make sense to my ears. Not right away. I was too enthralled by the way the leaves continued on their steady path towards crimson. Then I felt Bran’s meaning pressed firmly against one of my legs. I went very still. My face was on fire. My heartbeat so fast, hard and loud that I was sure Bran could feel its thump, thump, thump hammering against the muscles of his abdomen.” ~ Magaly Guerrero
Scenes like the one above convinced me to think of Thorn in Red as Coming of Age and New Adult (NA) fiction. A writer friend told me, “Your mains [characters] haven’t even left mom and dad yet, they are not in college, they aren’t looking for jobs. It’s Young Adult Fantasy with a little romance in it.”
I’ve been thinking about this for a while. My friend makes a lot of sense, but I don’t agree with his conclusions. Bran is no longer in high school, and Matt will soon be in the same situation. They are reaching that point in life where teenagers begin to see that they are members of a family—with responsibilities!—not just children being raised and taken care of by adults.
What would you call Thorn in Red, my Wicked Luvs? Young Adult, Coming of Age, New Adult, something else… why?