Coming across an article where Paypal and Amazon have been censoring erotica-indie authors across the spectrum–by removing hundreds of titles from their sites (some of the removal is legit, the others…? Questionable at best), it had me wondering just how far Amazon would go to censor books that have suggestive or adult material in them?
In my upcoming (and soon to be self-published) two-part novel The Starchild…this science-fiction/fantasy novel has plenty of examples of suggestive and adult-themed material in them.
Keep in mind, I wrote this book almost twenty years ago before Amazon and Paypal started taking and publishing indie books on their various sites and the aspect of adding sex or a relationship hadn’t quite entered the picture. It took several rewrites of the book before a relationship between my 14-year-old heroine and her 18-year-old boyfriend cropped up and started to take root.
So would Amazon take offense and censor the book (removing it from their list) like they’ve done with erotica authors over the past month or so? I just don’t know.
I’m assuming that things will remain kosher so long as people (and my readers) understand that what’s in the book isn’t any less shocking or tame than what you would find on a reality TV show or worse.
Of course, I’m also reminded that some authors prefer the “shock value” approach to writing where they take things to the extreme, but all I’m more focused on with my writing is the intricate relationships that my characters have undertaken.
Nothing sucks worse than having a relationship that doesn’t work for two people and the reader finds nothing of interest in either one–primarily because nothing either happens in that respect, or the writer had taken a stupid pill and decided to go on the longest–boring–writing stretch the world had ever seen. (Does happen.)
For the longest time–I admit–I worried about how people would treat this teen relationship I nutured between Isis McGowan and Bayen Yelou, because let’s face it: Teen sex is a bit of a sore point with some circles in our country and we all know how much they hate having to be reminded with some fictional account staring them in the face every step of the way.
But given how teen sex has been dropping over the years and The Starchild was written long before some teens were even born, how safe would I be when the book finally came out? I sometimes wonder if I would be accused of inciting kids to experiment or have sex because of what’s there in the book–even though it’s a work of fiction.
Then of course, there’s also the aspect of how I build my myriad of relationships–character-wise: Each party in question has to have something positive or negative come out of it, or what would be the point in having one?
Teen sex or the hint of it (in The Starchild particularly) is something that I didn’t approach lightly. I didn’t want either Isis or Bayen to come out sounding completely jacked up on their hormone levels and horny as hell every step of the way, but carefully nutured or measured. Keep in mind, these kids have grown up in a world so different from our own that things like basic laws and decency have taken a backseat to survival.
I don’t even know–for sure–how courtship and relationships are conducted in my book. All I know is that most people don’t frown upon teenagers having relationships or sex. To be honest, the question of sex has popped up in one of the chapters (Bayen’s mom for example), but from the way Isis and Bayen’s relationship has been built upon both trust and love, I don’t think that either character is about to make a gigantic mistake by jumping the gun prematurely–especially since there are a ton of variables and unknowns to deal with as is.
But would the whole book be censored or pulled anyways–because of the said material in the book?
All I can say, is: “It depends.” It depends on the reader, the people, the audience, and of course, Amazon.com’s policy towards adult-oriented material.
Like I’ve indicated before, I don’t write porn in my novels. When it comes to sex, I take things seriously. But the last thing I want to see is twenty years of hard work wasted because some frigid asshole out there has a burr up his ass and decided that teen sex in a fictional setting was too offensive to his virgin ears, eyes, and mind.
Then there’s The Price of Freedom. A book that has more adult sex than a Hustler magazine. But that’s a story for another time. ^_^