When Your Kid Reads Your Book…

The first time my husband read a book of mine, I waited with bated breath. Would he like it? Laugh at the right parts? Encourage me to continue spending gobs of time doing who knows what the writer’s life in my office? (Dear reader, he enjoyed the book. And that is why we’re still married. Just kidding. Obviously, it’s only one of the reasons…)

You had me at strawberries…

The spousal-reading experience is intense, but I survived. Plus, it’s nothing compared to the kids-scrutiny period. I knew this day would come and yet, I still didn’t prepare myself enough. Oh, the parental worries floating around in my head!

I kind of feel like this guy…

I didn’t censor myself while writing, so now I have to really think back on my work. My musings about what I’ve written and are now exposing my kids to include:

  • Wait. Is the content even PG?
  • Is having an amateur sleuth who puts herself in danger at every turn really a good role model?
  • Will my kids’ vocabulary now expand to include rigor mortis and lividity?

With a cover so pretty, no wonder my kiddos couldn’t wait to get their paws on it!

Not only that, but did I mention that my kids don’t have a filter? Goodreads can be a minefield, but kids’ opinions are unvarnished and personal. (To be fair, I love their honesty, but when that critical gaze is turned on me, it’s tough.) What kind of comments have I been getting?

  • She’s just so obvious in her sleuthing.
  • Gee, you really can’t write romance, can you?
  • I guess if cats can talk, then anything goes in this book.

On the bright side, it’s given me more family bonding time—and my kids get an inside dive into my wild mind.

Of course, they’re all in for my next series, the L.A. Night Market Mysteries. I think they appreciate that I have to get my culinary research just right, so they can tag along for the foodie fun.

I’m hoping their reaction to Death by Bubble Tea is all cuddles and grins like the following plush cuties… (A mama can dream, right?)

*In breaking news, there’s talk of making Mimi Lee Gets A Clue a book club read for school friends. Um…

Have little ones read your book and/or what books have you enjoyed with younger readers?

26 thoughts on “When Your Kid Reads Your Book…

  1. Sounds like you have wonderful kids and an understanding husband! My little one outgrew the nest years ago, but I can relate to having a spouse read your work. My wife and I have separate blogs and routinely review each other’s work before release. I remind myself to turn off all the writer defense switches so I can glean words of wisdom from her excellent advice.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I don’t think The Hubby has read one of my books in years, but he liked the one he did. My kids are older – 21 and 19 – but my daughter doesn’t read mystery and my son flat out doesn’t read.

    But my dad likes them.

    I think the last books I read with my daughter when she was young was Harry Potter. We read the entire series together and remember it fondly.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Family reading habits are so interesting. Glad that your dad likes your books! (My dad reads mine, too–some he enjoys more than others.) The Harry Potter series–of course! I remember reading The Westing Game to my kids, which was fun for them and for me.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. LOL, Jennifer!!

    My first book, a romance (just re-released as Manda Steps Up by Cathryn Collier) was selected for the Summer Reading program at the 5th largest school district in New York State, and I had those same mixed emotions. My editor had said the title I preferred would give the wrong impression, as the content was “frankly adult” and we shouldn’t market it as YA.

    When it came time to meet the adolescent students to talk about the book, I was blown away by their insights about the central problem– a young woman’s rapid descent into alcoholism and her recovery in a twelve-step program, with support from her boss.

    Can’t wait to hear more about your new series!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Congrats on the re-release, Kate! Kudos on being part of the Summer Reading program–that’s huge! Teens are so insightful, and I feel like a lot of YA lit is diving into really thought-provoking subjects.

      (Also, thanks about the new series. It was fun writing about two cousins who run a food stall at a local night market and encounter–what else?–murder.)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kudos to your kids for reading your work, Jen! Mine are like, “Hey, good job on the new book,Dad. Maybe, I’ll read it someday, but don’t hold your breath.” 😅

    Liked by 3 people

  5. LOL I can definitely imagine the joys and worries of having family read your books. I feel that way with the books I GIVE my niece and nephew, so I can only imagine how I’d feel if they were reading something I’d written.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ha! My wife Robin beta-reads all my manuscripts, and it is SO scary waiting for her response! (Thank goodness she does like the series…) I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have my kids–if I had them–read them. Yikes!

    So excited for you for the new series, girl–it’s terrific!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My husband has never read one of my books and I am so okay with that. My daughter’s favorite is the one that never sold! It was a jaded mystery set in L.A., so I think she could relate to it. My mother, on the other hand, has read everything and will call laughing when she reads a Catering Hall Mystery because she knows exactly who I’m talking about sometimes since it’s based on our lives!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I cannot WAIT for the new series, Jen–your kids are going to love it, too. (How could they not?) My husband reads my books after they are published. I’ll be interested in his reaction to the new short story, because he may recognize the setting. All three kids grew up reading my YA mss. and served as editorial consultants. My middle daughter was disappointed that she never got to go on the real-life celebrity cruise with Mary-Kate and Ashley (that would have been a book in itself). My sister won’t read my current books because they involve murders, even though I assure her they’re hilarious. That gives her even more pause, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lisa! My hubby has been reading post-publication now, too. You should definitely get your husband’s reaction after reading your short story.

      Editorial consultants–love it! Did they get any compensation? 😉 (For now, dedications and acknowledgments suit my kids just fine.)

      Yeah, funny murders may make people look at us strangely!


  9. Look at you staging that beautiful photo of your book! Great pic of a great book.

    As I’ve probably said a gazillion times, I started writing for middle readers, so not only did my kids read my book (historical fiction), but their entire class(es) did too. Ay caramba. That was terrifying! But it turned out fine. Funny thing is, those kids are in their 30s now, and I’m still friends with many of them.

    Here’s the rough count on my mysteries:
    Hubs: We own a printshop so I have him shoot my final draft out of the copier. He never tells me, but I suspect he might read it in secret because he’s not good at confrontation and he wants me to keep doing the cooking.
    Daughter: She’s a freelance editor so she happily reads everything… more than once. But I have to pay her.
    Sons: Both big fans
    Mom: My biggest fan, even of the crappy stuff. She’d send my books all around her nursing home, acting like a one-woman bookmobile.
    Dad: Claimed he “never read fiction.”
    Siblings: Probably many of them have read, but they’d never admit it, lest I forget my place in the pecking order.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny you should mention that book photo, since it’s the one my marketing team set up… so credit goes to them!

      Great rundown of your family readers, Becky!

      One of my kids said they read my book in an awkward position at school–the book cover actually sticks straight up and hides their face, so I can get free marketing. A friend did ask, “Did your mom write that?”

      Liked by 1 person

  10. So great that your kids are reading your books. Love that they’re advisors on writing romance!
    Hubs is always my first reader. He’s read every version of every manuscript I’ve ever written. He’s a patient man! Family has been kind. John’s cousin read a couple of my books while he was stationed in Afghanistan, and said he enjoyed them! As far as kids, I had a nervous moment about my goddaughters reading them. Their parents brought them to my first book signing and bought a book for all three girls, so they’d each have their own signed copy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hmm, maybe I don’t want my kids to be advisors on romance. I mean, how do they even have experience about that?

      Love that your family is so supportive, Vickie! That’s really cute how each girl had a signed copy!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Aw I love this! Their comments are so perfectly kid-like!

    My son has read all of my books and is, in fact, one of my beta readers. He has a gift for spotting plot holes, a keen ear for dialogue, and is ruthless about comma use. It’s been a great bonding experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. 1. Book club for school friends? SWOON!
    2. You had me at strawberries too.
    3. I just laughed REALLY loudly at this: “Will my kids’ vocabulary now expand to include rigor mortis and lividity?”

    Thank you, Jen!!

    Liked by 2 people

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