One of the fans of my client Chris Grabenstein wrote me recently expressing his disappointment that it’s been so long since Chris wrote one of his adult mysteries or thrillers. Since Chris took off as a rock star of Middle Grade with ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY, WELCOME TO WONDERLAND: HOME SWEET MOTEL, and his James Patterson collaborations, he has not had a moment to return to the adult fare—his John Ceepak mysteries and his holiday-themed suspense thrillers—with which he made his start. They were terrific, and a lot of readers miss them.
Good writing is good writing, whether it’s Middle Grade, YA, or adult, and there are many writers like Chris who have excelled in writing for more than one age group. Roald Dahl is one of the first who springs to mind. These days he is better remembered for his iconic children’s books, but he was equally celebrated for his very dark adult work, including the novel MY UNCLE OSWALD and some deliciously nasty short stories like LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER and GEORGY PORGY. And, of course, Rick Riordan launched himself with his Tres Navarre adult mystery series before finding his Middle Grade niche with Percy Jackson. Judy Blume spent a career writing children’s novels and then surprised everyone with the risqué WIFEY, which became a bestseller and led to two more adult novels.
You can even go back to A. A. Milne. Beloved for his Winnie-the-Pooh books, he was equally well known in England for his plays, and for his detective novel THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY. He even found lucrative work as a screenwriter in the silent-film era.
Sometimes a writer has to try on a lot of different hats before finding the one that fits. And sometimes, several different hats will fit just fine. Please feel free to let me know your favorite examples of authors who have found success writing in more than one age category.