In Fear and Loathing in Children's Books you made a comment about writing for the group you identify most with, and the need to recognize where that is as quickly as possible. Could you expand on that? And what about people who write for more than one age (especially as their children pass through those ages they're writing for)? Is that an example of reading producing like? (Assuming here the writer is reading to his/her children.)Some authors seem to have a fairly specific internal age; very likely it's the age they remember best from their own childhoods. When they write for this age, it sounds right; it feels right. Their characters' thoughts and speech and action feel inimitably their own, which comes both from the author's deep empathetic connection to the characters, and from the respect that empathy engenders.
There are other authors who seem to have vivid memories of a great deal of their childhoods, and can write empathetically and respectfully for a wide range of ages.
And then there are authors who, no matter how much they love their own children, cannot truly remember what it was like to be a child at all, and so should not be writing for children. This state leads to the earnest, kind, well-intentioned, and utterly disrespectful talking at children rather than to them.
People who remember childhood well not only remember how they thought and felt at a particular age; they know that in a profound way, children and adults are equals.
Because we are all equally human.