Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Cover Art & Diversity in Speculative Fiction


Simon & Schuster surprised me recently by telling me that my Pocket and Gallery books, including my frothy social satire, Nancy's Theory of Style, will have new cover art for the digital editions. I really like this initial artwork for Nancy, which slyly mocks my character's persnickety personality.

The American Library Association's Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has formally announced the nominees for 2012's Best Fiction for Young Adults, and Dark Companion, my gothic tale, is included.  Jane Williams, my protagonist, is not always easy to like. She's not a bright and shiny "heroine," but a damaged girl from the foster care system who makes some terrible decisions. I'm really happy when readers understand Jane's motives. Liz Burns at the School Library Journal wrote:
I was so frustrated with Jane, but then I remembered who Jane was. A child without parents; without any memory of her dead mother; raised in some of the worst situations possible. OF COURSE she is going to have her own needs, her own dark desires, that those raised in a healthy family would not have. Like I said, Jane was brought to Birch Grove. Part of the reason is not just that she is an orphan with no relatives; it’s that she has the types of needs that can be used or manipulated by others. Who would think that the desire for family, for friends, for belonging, could be twisted and manipulated?
Classic Gothics, including Jane Eyre, are straight-forward about social class, money, and power.In our current society, social class and issues of race/ethnicity are inextricably tangled. Educator and author J.A. Blackman and I have been having an ongoing discussion about diversity in speculative fiction as part of her "Minority Report" feature.
Although the publishing world is in culturally rich Manhattan, publishers, editors, and agents are not a diverse group. Those who go into publishing as a career must have an education and the financial stability to survive in such a poorly paid profession in such an expensive city. You’ve got to consider not only the connection between race/ethnicity and social class, but also the fact that an educated person of color might be encouraged to pursue a more stable career, or a career where she feels as if she can advance and have her voice heard.
You can find the links for our entire discussion at J.A. website.

AudioFile Magazine is featuring my Casa Dracula audiobooks, narrated by beautiful, hilarious, and talented actress Patricia Fructuoso, in their current issue. Patricia and I hope to have the audiobook of Nancy's Theory of Style completed soon. I'll miss working with her!

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