On Family Reading Your Work

I want to establish, before I get into this post, that the majority of my family is amazingly supportive. Questions they ask range from, "When can I buy my copy?" to "You're going to sign it, right?". They like all my posts on Facebook and give me I'm-so-happy-for-you hugs that almost hurt when we see each other. So I know what it's like to have an awesome family behind me in this venture.

I also know what it's like to have someone close to you decide they're not going to be so supportive. 

See, back when I wrote Some Quiet Place, I didn't make any official decision to write what I wanted to write. I just did. The words flowed onto the page, and there were no thoughts about what was right or wrong or what other people would think. The story was all that mattered. So when all was said and done, there were some passages among the pages that my conservative family might not approve of. There's some swearing, some steamy moments, some violence. And when I chose to warn someone of this, the response was not positive.

It was the first time someone had ever told me they would not read the book. It was the first time someone had ever expressed how disappointed they were in me for making this choice. And it was the first time I realized that something like this could happen to me. It may not end here. It could happen again. 

And that's something I need to prepare myself for. 

I could make things easier for myself. I could go back and remove those words, those kisses, those painful confrontations. It would definitely make conversations less awkward during Christmas. It would also make my signings even more special, looking up and seeing that person in the crowd. 

But I can't. I won't.

Because the point of writing a story is making it as real as we can. As raw, as poignant, as effective as we can so that not only have we done justice to these characters, but to the reader, as well. Granted, there are amazing stories out there without all those elements people may disapprove of. But they're not my stories. I may not have made a conscious choice when I was writing it, so I'll make one now. I love my family. I always will. 

I'm just not going to change my art or my beliefs for anyone.