After procrastinating on it for quite some time, I’ve decided to post a little bit of an FAQ about myself so that if you see me mentioning something on social media you won’t be like, “WTF is she talking about?”
The Iamos Trilogy
Q: I heard that Fourth World includes ace characters—who are they?
The main books of The Iamos Trilogy (i.e., not including Different Worlds) are narrated in dual-POV by Isaak, a teenage boy living on Mars 60 years from now, and Nadin, a girl from Mars’ ancient past. (Hello, time travel!) Both Isaak and Nadin fall on the ace spectrum. Isaak is demisexual, which is addressed (on page/word used) in the first book. Nadin is asexual; however, as of the first book, she is just starting to realize that her experiences are different from those of others, but she doesn’t have a word for it yet. Her experiences as an ace are described in book one, but the word “asexual” is not used. It will be in book two (New World, releasing in 2017), so look forward to that!
Q: Is the asexual representation in The Iamos Trilogy #OwnVoices?
Yes! I go into it more below (see “Queer Stuff”), but I am ace. Nadin’s experiences very closely mirror my own.
Q: When is New World releasing? It used to say 2017, now it says 2018!
I don’t have a firm release date on New World yet. Due to fun and special health times (see this post, as well as the Health Stuff section below) chipping away at my writing time, I am cutting it really close on my deadline to get the book completed in time to send to my editor at Snowy Wings Publishing. Due to the publisher’s schedule, I would have to have the book completed by September in order to make an end-of-2017 release; otherwise, it will be pushed to 2018. It’s possible it could still make it out in 2017, depending on my recovery time after my surgery, but I want to play it better safe than sorry. If something changes, I will update you all!
Cheerleaders From Planet X
Q: Is Cheerleaders From Planet X considered Young Adult or New Adult?
That depends on your definition of those genres. If you’re looking at the age of the characters, Cheerleaders would definitely be NA since the main characters are all college students. However, New Adult tends to have certain expectations assigned to it in addition to the characters’ ages—for example, NA is usually quite steamy, and though there’s been pushback from both authors and readers trying to diversify the genre to include both “sweet” romance and completely romance-less plots, that expectation is still strong and difficult to get around. Because Cheerleaders From Planet X contains no sexual content, and because its themes and writing style are similar to those of YA (such as its focus on self-discovery), I’ve decided to market it primarily as YA. But it can definitely go either way, and I’m still hoping that NA will continue to diversify as time passes.
Q: Will there be a sequel to Cheerleaders From Planet X?
This is somewhere between an outright “yes” and a strong “probably”. The reception to Cheerleaders has been phenomenal, and I couldn’t be more excited about that! I definitely have some ideas for continuing the story, but right now they’re still firmly in “idea” territory rather than “plot” territory. In the meantime, I do have to finish the Iamos Trilogy, which fans have been waiting for for quite a long time. But whether I do a full sequel to Cheerleaders or just some short stories, you’ll definitely be hearing from Laura and Shailene again—hopefully sooner than later!
Q: What’s going on with your health? I’ve seen you mention it periodically/noticed it’s affecting your book releases…
I try not to go into this too much online because it’s a bummer, but it is something that unfortunately does have to come up every now and then, because it has a huge impact on my writing capacity and is a major part of why my books are published so far apart.
The condensed version is that I have a number of unpredictable health problems stemming from a (non-cancerous) pituitary tumor that first reared its ugly head about four years ago, and has recurred twice since then. These include chronic fatigue, a weak immune system that catches every virus and bacterial infection that crosses its path, and random extended periods of brain fog that make it incredibly difficult to concentrate. I also have a seizure disorder that may or may not be connected to the brain tumor, but the medication I’m on for it right now has largely contained it, so it’s more of a minor inconvenience than it was when I was first diagnosed. All these things combined with the ongoing treatment for the tumor and the necessary follow-up and monitoring take their toll on my writing in two ways—first, it means that when I get sick, it often lasts upwards of a month or two rather than just a few days, and that cuts into my writing time significantly. Second, it means that when I’m not sick, I have to work twice as hard, because my medical bills are very expensive. Writing (so far) is a great career, but it’s not consistent enough to pay my premium, so I work a number of freelance jobs doing everything from graphic design to book formatting. In months when I have a lot of clients, writing has to take a backseat. I don’t like it, but the alternative is not paying my bills, so for the time being, that’s just part of it.
I’m still learning my limits and trying to set my publication goals accordingly, but even when I give myself a generous deadline, life has a tendency of just happening—for example, the Cheerleaders From Planet X fiasco. So basically, please know that if you’re looking forward to a book and it’s not coming out very fast, I’m not doing it to be a jerk, I promise.
As mentioned above, I (like Nadin) am asexual. This means that I do not experience sexual attraction—which is, of course, different from romantic attraction. Unlike Nadin, who is heteroromantic, I am biromantic. That’s a large part of the reason why some of my books have m/f romance and others have f/f; just like how I’m (theoretically) happy dating any gender, I’m happy writing romance between any gender. I do have an upcoming book planned with a bi heroine, but for the most part I just don’t go into it and you get the pairings you get. (If you get pairings at all. Because I also don’t write that much romance to begin with.)
I struggled for a while trying to figure out whether it was “okay” for me to write m/f and f/f both under the same pen name, as these two genres tend to not have much overlap when it comes to readership, but I ultimately decided that I was writing these books for me and for people like me. (And mostly for sci-fi/fantasy fans who [hopefully] don’t care.) So if either m/f or f/f are not your cup of tea, just be aware that I write both and maybe check the reviews of each book before you buy.
However, I am very unlikely to ever write sexual content, regardless of gender. I stay PG-rated, and my PG is probably most people’s G.
Q: How do you feel about [insert political issue here]?
I intend to add to this FAQ as more questions become frequently asked, so if there’s something you want to know more about, please feel free to leave a comment below!