When my first YA novel, Fair Coin, was published in 2012, and I started participating in author panels, library visits, and book store events, it seemed that I was usually the only guy on the program. This wasn’t too surprising — I know that more YA books are written by women than men, so statistically speaking, it made perfect sense. For my first few panels, I even introduced myself as the “Y chromosome,” which got some laughs. But I’ve stopped using that line, because a) I don’t want to keep using the same old material, and more importantly, b) I realized it might imply that I thought my inclusion was an act of tokenism, and it wasn’t that. (It also probably isn’t as funny as I thought it was, and people were just laughing to be polite. “There’s only one guy up there, let’s take pity on him.” So, thanks for that.)
Granted, I’m aware that I do get invited to more YA panels because I’m a male YA author, and hey, it’s nice to be welcomed whatever the reason. My author friends are often asked if they know any male authors to invite to participate in programs with them, and I’m happy that they think of me. Perhaps by virtue of my geographic location and the events and conventions that I attend, there generally aren’t that many guy YA authors to choose from. Sorry, I’ll at least try to be a good one for you!
But we aren’t exactly as rare as unicorns. We aren’t an endangered species. And we certainly don’t need the attention.
Continue reading at The League of Extraordinary Writers
My short story “Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell” is available today in the anthology Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories!
I’m honored to be in this collection with amazing authors Garth Nix, Karen Healey, Sean Williams, Ken Liu, Sofia Samatar, Vylar Kaftan, Amal El-Mohtar, William Alexander, Shveta Thakrar, and many more. From the flap copy:
What do a disabled superhero, a time-traveling Chinese-American figure skater, and a transgendered animal shifter have in common? They’re all stars of Kaleidoscope stories! Kaleidoscope collects fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads. These twenty original stories tell of scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and heartbreaks of teenage.
I think this is an important book, and I also think “Kiss” is one of my best stories. (See an excerpt below the fold.) I wrote a bit more about the anthology and diversity in YA over at the League of Extraordinary Writers today, and there have already been a couple of very favorable reviews that offer deeper glimpses at the stories within:
I hope you’ll check out this collection and enjoy my story. It’s available now in eBook and print (available Oct. 1 in Australia) wherever books are sold. You can also enter to win one of ten free copies at Goodreads through Aug. 20 and enter another giveaway at the Book Smugglers (and read an interview with the editors) through Aug. 9.
Continue reading ‘new short story available today!’
The big news broke yesterday that my next novel is The Silence of Six for Adaptive Books! Here’s the announcement from Publisher’s Weekly Children’s Bookshelf:
Appropriately enough, I’ve been silent on this for the last six months. ;) They say you should challenge yourself with each book, and I really have been pushing myself with this one. It’s so different from Fair Coin and Quantum Coin, which is fantastic because one of the things I love about YA is I can write pretty much anything I want. It’s been a fun project, and an eye-opening one as I looked deeper into not only what is possible with technology, but what is actually happening in the world right now. Scary stuff, and I’m sure I’ll be discussing that more here in the future.
Thanks to everyone at Adaptive Studios, especially Perrin Chiles and Marshall Lewy; they’re are a savvy creative team who have been great to work with. I’m learning a lot. Also thanks to Eddie Schneider, Kristy King, and Tiffany Schmidt! Many more thanks are sure to come–we still have a lot to do before November!
Photo by I.W. Gregorio
Today, I was honored to speak to some amazing teen writers and readers at the Little Flower Teen Writers Festival about the importance of diversity and how to approach writing from perspectives other than their own. I promised to post some links to read more about this topic, and I hope these are useful to anyone interested in reading and writing more diverse books, even without the context of my presentation.
Art by Tina Kugler/ tinakuglerstudio.com
Read More About It
Writing the Other: A Practical Approach by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, Conversation Pieces vol. 8, Aqueduct Press, 2005
Diversity in YA – http://diversityinya.tumblr.com/
Rich in Color: Reading and Reviewing Diverse YA Books – http://richincolor.com/
Articles & Data:
2013 Statistics, Cooperative Children’s BookCenter, University of Wisconsin – http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp
Diversity in 2013 YA Best Sellers –
Kid Lit’s Primary Color: White –
Diversity is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing –
Want More Diversity in Your YA? Here’s How You Can Help –
We Are Still Not Doing Enough for Diversity in Kidlit –
Where’s the African-American Harry Potter or the Mexican Katniss? –
We Need Bigger Megaphones for Diversity in Kid Lit –
Why Hasn’t the Number of Multicultural Books Increased in Eighteen Years? –
Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is –
Why We Need Diversity in YA Fiction, Plus Book Recommendations –
My Take on Diversity in Children’s Books While Growing Up:
I’ll be at the Harrisburg Book Festival Saturday, March 29 in Harrisburg, Pa., talking YA with authors Tiffany Schmidt (BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE, SEND ME A SIGN) and Jessica Spotswood (BORN WICKED, STAR CURSED). Midtown Scholar Bookstore, 2–4pm. Hope to see you there! Some books will be available for signing or bring your own, or pick up a free bookmark or bookplate!
Updated! — I just learned that tomorrow’s panel will be televised! The Pennsylvania Cable Network will be recording the event for a future series about PA Book Festivals, and it will be streamed live on the internet (if the internet cooperates) at http://pcntv.com/2014/03/28/2014-harrisburg-book-festival/. So, that’s not terrifying at all. Tomorrow, 2 – 3 pm!