It’s that time of year again: The School Year.
Readers of my fiction, you can feel free to skip this, unless it interests you.
Students, parents of students, and employers: This one’s for you.
My name is Andrew Linke. By vocation I am a middle school English teacher in south-east Virginia. By avocation I am an author. With the school year starting up again, I feel it’s a good time to discuss the separation between these two.
Teaching is an all-consuming profession. It takes a lot of time and involves lots of thought, planning, and analysis. And my promise to you is that I put in that time. I devote every hour of the working day to preparing lessons and assessing student performance. If you feel that your student needs additional assistance, feel free to send me a message on ClassDojo or Synergy. I also encourage you to enroll your student in after school study hall. I assure you that the success of your student is second only to caring for my family in my priorities for 10 months out of the year.
Yes, if you choose to find me on the internet, you will find that I post frequently about my writing, but I assure you that I devote no more time to this hobby than a sports fan might to their favorite team. I do my writing in the evening and on weekends, just as a teacher who enjoys woodworking might spend their free time carving mallards and shopping for new bandsaw blades.
I do not discuss writing in school beyond appropriate anecdotes that might help students develop their own writing skills. I do not advertise my work to students, nor do I write with them as my intended audience.
As to the content of my writing: I write for adults. I’m sure some teens would enjoy my work, but they are not my intended audience. Compared to other authors, I’d say that my work is probably on par with popular authors such as John Grisham and Tom Clancy for “explicit” content. It is certainly less disturbing than the adult novels of Stephen King, who is widely popular with readers of all ages, or Neil Gaiman, who has been awarded a Newberry Honor for one of his children’s books (and was still given the award, despite his manner of celebration).
If my books were to be faithfully adapted to film, the adventure novels would likely be in the PG-13 range, with the science fiction being a solid PG-13 or R (depending on the director). Put another way, my adventure stories fall somewhere between Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Da Vinci Code, while my science fiction is in the neighborhood of Alien (often dark and violent) and Chappie (attempting to be profound, but collapsing into chaos due to the odd characters).
As to anything else you might find online: I am active on social media, occasionally post YouTube videos, produce several podcasts, and run a Patreon project. I am careful to keep my social media activities polite, but I cannot vouch for the actions of individuals who follow me. Due to the “viral” natural of social media, I must emphasize that re-tweeting, liking, or otherwise upvoting an individual post does not constitute endorsement of the individual or organization that created that post. Especially in the current political climate, controversial content may be reposted with ironic commentary. My YouTube videos and podcasts are intended for fans, but I do keep them appropriate for a general audience. The only content I produce which might be considered inappropriate for a general audience is my Patreon project. Backers who pay to support my work occasionally receive access to my first drafts, which are not always fit for public consumption.
I discourage students from contacting me online, except through Synergy and ClassDojo. Except for a few cases of former students who visited my table at Tidewater Comicon and, with their parents’ approval, signed up for my mailing list, I routinely block any student who comments on my online posts. If I block your child or delete their comments, please be assured that I am not acting spitefully. It is simply a matter of policy for me. If your child reads any of my work (hopefully with your permission) and wants to follow me online, please encourage them to devote their attentions to studying or creating their own works of fiction instead.