Saturday, January 28, 2012

WAY outside the lines

My first adult novel is due in about a month.

Well, maybe it's not my first, but my "first." I wrote adult novels before I wrote YA novels. They just didn't get published. My dream career was to have both YA and adult novels published and to bop back and forth between them. I had both an adult novel and a YA novel out on submission in 2005. The YA novel sold, the adult novel didn't, and it's taken another seven years to get the adult half of my career off the ground.

There was never any question of what name I would use to publish my adult novels. They were purchased by the division of Simon & Schuster that also publishes my darker YA novels, and since those have been successful, it was assumed I would use the same name. I have no problem with that.

I do distinctly remember, however, that when I was a 12-year-old rabid Judy Blume fan, I was horrified to learn that she had written an adult novel and that it was DIRTY. I felt betrayed.

Looking back at this now, I am mad at 12-year-old me and defensive of Judy Blume. This is pretty confusing.

I am not changing my pen name. I have enough trouble tweeting as @JenniferEchols. If I had to tweet and Facebook and blog under another name too, my head would explode. But I do wonder whether I will encounter any resistance to the adult half of my career from my YA readers.

There are plenty of precedents for adult authors starting to write YA and keeping the same name or changing their name only slightly: Gena Showalter, Nicole/Niki Burnham. Then there's YA author Trinity Faegan, who first won awards and made lots of friends as adult author Stephanie Faegan and told me she was having some trouble being recognized as her alter-ego, at least initially. But offhand, I can't think of any other authors who moved from YA to adult.

If you're a YA reader, all you all offended that I'm moving over to the dark side? And if you're a YA writer, would you have kept your name?


  1. I'd definitely keep the same pen name. I'm sort of surprised that this is a big deal to some people. For me, when I see your name, I associate it with quality fiction, because that's the reputation you've been building. Doesn't matter if it's YA or not.

  2. First and foremost, congratulations on your forthcoming release!

    I love my name because it's really, truly mine. It's mine, and it's what you'll see in TV/film credits, and in playbills, and on book covers.

  3. Congratulations! As a young adult reader I can't wait to read your adult novel. I have read a few of your books and love them all. I'm sure your adult book will be just as fabulous as your young adult books.

  4. I'm definitely not offended by your allegiance with the "dark side." :) I would keep the name only because it seems that you have built up a huge audience and presence and it would be confusing to keep track of it all.

  5. Your YA fans will grow up and start reading adult fiction. Perhaps they'll see you as an "old friend".

    Ellen Hopkins just released an adult book and I believe Ann Brashares crossed over to the adult side also. Congratulations on fulfilling your dream! BTW, I've enjoyed all of your YA novels ^_^

  6. Your YA novels are already more explicit than most (which I LOVE by the way!), so the kids who read your books would probably just read your adult books too and accept them, because they probably wouldn't be THAT much different except for the older characters! Right? xD

  7. Thanks so much, y'all!

    Angelina, I didn't know that about Ellen, but I did know about Ann, and then of course there's Meg Cabot now that I think of it.

    Alyssa, ARE my YA novels more explicit than most? I would not have thought this judging from the YA I've been reading lately, LOL!

  8. My friend, Lynn Cullen, had a long career as a kid/YA author (her last YA was I AM REMBRANDT'S DAUGHTER). She started publishing exclusively adult over the last several years and has done very well without changing her name. So, it can and does happen!

  9. Sarah MacLean started as YA with The Season and then moved onto adult Historicals :O)

  10. CONGRATS on publishing both YA and adult, Jennifer! I love the fact that you kept at your adult work for seven years. Kudos...Seriously.

  11. Are you kidding? I was THRILLED when I first heard that you were going to be writing adult books. You write my favorite chemistry in YA pretty much EVER, so I'm really excited to see that transfer over to adult characters. *waggles eyebrows*

    That said, I can't speak for all YA readers because I'm an older YA reader myself, and I've been reading adult romance books as well as YA for a long time, so I'm already a fan of the genre. I don't see why people should have a problem with it though, if they don't want to read adult books then they should just stick with your YA stuff!

    And seriously, congrats on everything! Your adult deal, your bigger name... I'm looking forward to anything you write. :)