Interview with James Erich
How do you find a good balance of sexual tension with fiction for young adults?
I don’t think the “young adult” part really affects it, apart from being a little less explicit in the love scenes. But the story dictates when the characters will have time to get together romantically. There is always a pull between them, but the events in the story hold them apart, except for those rare moments they can manage to be together, however briefly. This is how it works in real life, when you’re young — at least, that was how it was for me. I wanted to be with my boyfriend all the time, but we could only manage to steal moments together here and there. On the other hand, that made it more intense when we did manage to find time together.
Is it difficult to write romantic elements centering on teens in general?
Not exactly more difficult. A bit different perhaps. Teens don’t have the long-term outlook that we acquire as adults, so there’s more sense of urgency. And there seem to be more obstacles to being with the person you love, especially if parents don’t understand.
When is mature too mature for a younger audience?
Personally, I don’t think teenagers are particularly shocked or traumatized by descriptions of sex. Some of them are already having sex, so it’s unlikely that they’ll be upset by descriptions of it, as long as we’re not talking about a scene of abuse. But they themselves have been conditioned to expect a certain level of explicitness in YA novels, and they don’t pick up a book from the high school library expecting to read graphic sexual scenes. That would bring them out of the story, if for no other reason than it wouldn’t be expected.
I think it’s good and healthy that YA novels are now depicting sex more honestly than they were when I was a teenager, but you can talk honestly about sex without having to give graphic details. So I would say if the scene doesn’t absolutely require a description of what’s going on with the characters’ genitalia, there’s no reason to include it. That level of description is for erotica, which is a perfectly respectable genre, in my opinion, but not the same as Young Adult.
So you mentioned your dog Kumar, the Mighty Duck Hunter has aspirations of becoming a fierce warrior himself. Has he caught a duck yet?
Not yet, though he keeps trying. In the meantime, he has plenty of stuffed ducks to practice on and he is never seen without one in his mouth, except at dinner time. A dog has to have his priorities.
Well, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I really fell in love with Seidman. Good luck to you in the future.
I’m glad you liked the story. Thanks.
To learn more about James, visit his blog.
If you want to order Seidman, you can go to Amazon.
Part of the 2012 LGBT Blogathon.