Tag Archives: YA books

7 Questions of Utter Seriousness with Danika Dinsmore

Everett: Okay, Danika, first let me thank you for serving as the editor on my own novel which shall not be named—you did a great job, despite what reader Debbie said on Goodreads about there not being enough “pauses” in the story, which I suppose I should just be accountable and own as my personal failure, I mean honestly there was only so much you could do with that manuscript. I really appreciate your work!

Danika: It was a pleasure to work creatively with you, Ev. I really do enjoy story editing and wish I had more time for it. And to all possible future story editors of Ev’s out there – you would be lucky to work with someone as eager and amenable as he is. (The mutual admiration society now adjourns.)

E: So as a writer I on occasion have a story idea or a character or a scenario wander into my mind, and then an urge to explore it and write about it grows from there. Can you tell me how you came up with the idea for the faeries, or Narine, or the world they’re in? 

D: Characters definitely wander, pop, float, push, tickle, and cajole their way in. I like to fall in love with characters, especially if I’m going to spend any amount of time with them. To fall in love with them they have to feel real, which to me means complex.

About 13 years ago (previous to the MG/YA fantasy explosion), I was assisting in a lovely shop full of things like incense, divination tools, Renaissance wear, dragon statues, crystal balls… At one point I realized I was surrounded by faeries. I blame it all on them, because I suddenly had the urge to write a quest story featuring faeries. But I didn’t want a Tinkerbell story. I wanted the faeries to be as complex as humans are. I wanted them to be believable.


Steven DePolo under a Creative Commons license

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S. Bear Bergman and the Mighty Fine Kids’ Books

Flamingo Rampant logoI was very fortunate to get a chunk of time from trans humorist and author S. Bear Bergman about ze’s project for young readers, Flamingo Rampant, which got some support through Kickstarter earlier this spring. With two books due to be released on June 1, Bergman answered some questions about these trans-themed picture books for kids, and what ze read as a youngster.

EM: You’ve written for LGBT audiences for years—what brings you to books for young readers?

SBB: This particular project came about because a couple of years ago, I was contacted by the kids’ camp director for the Gender Odyssey conference, Tanner, who asked me if I thought I could come up with a children’s story or two to read the kids. They wanted them to be gender-themed, but entertaining and fun—I have the clearest memory of Tanner saying to me “some of the things in camp should be abut gender, but I don’t want it to be “Welcome to camp! Let’s sing songs about our genitals!”

I said I would give it a try. And in a couple of months, I had produced these two stories.

EM: Tell me about your project—what’s the story, who are the characters? What kinds of books are these? Read More…

Changing the Trans Narrative in YA Fiction

This post originally appeared over on GayYA.org.

There’s a fight going on, but not many people know about it. It boils down to what many fights look like after a long time simmering and evaporating away their unnecessary parts—the right to tell a story. Like many other battles this one is about a people, access to power, and ownership.

I’m talking about where transgender comes from, why it occurs, and what meaning to draw from it. Read More…

Story Scalability

pantone notebook where I keep my ideas about my short storiesThis past summer I published a short story that generated some feedback from readers, much of it the same. Happily enough, they said they wanted to see 200 more pages to the story; I’d flung a world at them that was similar to our own, but askew in several ways, most dramatically in that this world’s children all metamorphosized, sooner or later, into fantastic and mythical creatures.

Readers and publishing pros I know wanted to know why this was happening, something I knew in my own mind but hadn’t explained in the confines of the story, which only runs for 1,200 words. My goal in the story was to show the big and subtle changes that the main character—precociously named Hannah Pace—emerges with at the end of the story, but readers wanted to know what happened the next day. And the next after that. It was a flattering response. I smiled and wrote back, not communicating that this was all I’d intended. I was on the cusp of getting started on a new novel about a 500-year-old mummy in the 22nd Century (take that, genre purists), and I didn’t need ideas like lengthening a one-off short story into a long piece crowding my vision.

Well, it didn’t just crowd my plans, it upstaged them and then threw them out of the theater. Read More…

Fiction Flashback: Stranger with My Face

This originally ran over at IFryMineinButter.com.

I was an avid fan of anything suspenseful when I was a teenager. Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Dean Koontz novels, Hitchcock movies, I soaked them up like lemonade. Once I had read through a book, chances are I would read it again immediately thereafter, in order to actually comprehend its pages sans hyperventilation. I entered into those narratives with high expectations, but not so for Stranger with My Face, by Lois Duncan. It was the first novel of hers that I read, and it spawned my love for all things fantastic. I think it’s fair to say that I read Ursula K. Le Guin because I read Duncan first, and yes, I understand how different these two writers are. Read More…

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