GL Tomas are two of my favorite authors out there and I’m so happy they agreed to collaborate with Bibliosapphic this month. They decided to do each one a post so today we have Guinevere doing an interview and soon Libertad will bring a Guest Post too. Thank you, Guin, for all your nice words and for taking your time to talk with me about your writing.
Q1: You’ve published so many wonderful books already. Is there one that was your absolutely favorite to write?
Hmmm…since this is Guin talking, it’s kind of difficult to say. I think the one book/series Libertad and I would both be able to agree on is The Mark of Noba, our debut novel.
It’s a YA Urban Fantasy, so it’s not what people are accustom or used to reading from us. But a lot of people don’t realize the risks we take in New Adult Contemporary are because of the response we got from that book.
Tetra, one of the main characters in the book was our first queer main character in a novel, and is own voices in the way where she’s a dark skinned Black girl but also pansexual. I don’t want to erase that she’s also bigender, but that’s the identity of Tetra’s we don’t identify with.
Tetra is what we refer to as a “difficult” heroine. The point was to make her unlikeable, which is why I think people tend to like her because we’re cultured to only like Black girls whom are pleasant, nice, or people pleasers. She kind of mirrors my frustration of what it’s like to be considered difficult, when girls of other races don’t get those labels.
Long story short, we wouldn’t have taken the risks of making unlikeable heroines without The Mark of Noba having been in our backlist. Now we just have to write the rest of the series ;p
Q2: Is it hard working in a duo? Do you sometimes want to write completely opposite stories?
Sometimes we read reviews that suggest we’re just one person, so it not a ton of people know we’re two people unless we’re active on social media a lot.
Since we’re two people, there are three different situations in our project history. Projects we come up with together(which is rare, we only recently started doing this), projects that I came up with, or projects that my twin sister Libertad came up with.
Libertad definitely excels in the Contemporary area. I love Contemporary books too, but I feel like my preferences don’t sell as well as hers. I tend to prefer Speculative Fiction, mostly Fantasy. Obviously you can count on one hand how much Spec Fic we’ve released, lol.
But back to our process…naturally ideas we come up with alone, the individual will nurture more. Libertad nurtures her projects more, and the same goes for me. Take in mind, once we’re willing to help each other the process will change. If there are things we don’t like about the other person’s story, we’ll just straight up tell the other person it doesn’t work.
I can’t tell you how hard it is to create a story, and have some intruder come in and change half the story XD But we’ll just suggest things to each other as readers first, and why it doesn’t make sense to keep the idea that way.
Ideas we come up with together definitely get written quicker. Sometimes we’re stubborn. Sometimes we have different goals. Libertad definitely beats me in terms of her representation for f/f couples, Afro-Latinx rep and male Latinx representation. I tend to make more African women(and women whom are queer but not always with women), male Asian rep and religious diversity.
Which is totally hilarious because The Unforgettables and the Bookish Friends to Lovers series are both her ideas, and they have more Asian male, African descended women and religious diversity than the ideas I can up with on my own, which was the Friends That Have Sex series, which had an Afro-Latinx heroine.
But to be fair, I suggested Libertad expand on the Bookish series and make Ruby and Angel MCs of their own books(you’re welcome ;p) and I was the one who suggested Paul should be Buddhist.
So that’s what happens with the power of teamwork.
Q3: What is your writing process like? Does one of you start writing first and then passes it on to the other?
Oh if only it were that simple….
We write longhand first, we’re old school. We tend write at least two drafts before we type something we’re not ashamed of. I think the benefit of writing longhand is that I see what I write before I type it, so if I didn’t write enough dialogue or wasn’t descriptive enough, I tend to catch it before I sit in front of a computer. But that’s the technical side.
For the creative side, sometimes we come together, outline the acts and chapters we intend to write. That’s obviously a perfect world though, we rarely work that organized. But most times one of us will start a project, shape it a little and if the other one is open to helping the other develop it, we explain what we want to see and what hasn’t been written yet.
Most times that’s how we approach things. We try not to go more than a first act without asking for or suggesting help. The more one writes for a project, the less connected the other feels toward it, just because we haven’t or become as attached yet so we’re not invested in it the same way.
It’s not like we do 50/50. Most times it’s 60/40 unless we came up with an idea together or it’s speculative fiction. Speculative fiction requires all hands on deck, which is why our spec fic count is low, because it requires a commitment we’re often not both invested in at the same time.
Hopefully that answer isn’t too whack, but there’s nothing special or unique about our process ;p
Q4: Are there LGBT+ authors who inspired you to start writing your own stories?
The first person that comes to mind is Rebekah Weatherspoon. As a Black-Latinx queer woman, while there are books that fit that narrative for me, I didn’t actively search for them until I started reading her books. It was more because I didn’t know they existed, not because I didn’t want to read them.
I like that she fits all different identities of queer women. Bisexual, trans, lesbian, pansexual. It’s definitely shaping how I approach characters, even when they’re minor. I want to make sure people don’t forget they’re queer but at the same time that it’s not a big deal.
Fiona Zedde Lewis also comes to mind. Being Afro-Cuban, I love seeing a fellow Caribbean writing YA novels for people like me who are looking for validation.
My very first novel with an LGBT+ main character was Hero by the late Perry Moore. I hadn’t realized how little I’d seen LGBT+ characters in speculative fiction before reading Hero.
Rin Oliver, because they make speculative fiction with tons of queer rep, more than I’ve ever read in one novel. B.R. Sanders does that too, but I think they also write some contemporary too. I recently got into Roanna Sylver and Lyssa Chiavari’s work too. Ace representation is super important, and I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t read many before them.
Obviously you should check out everyone on the list though!
Q5: Any books we should expect to be published soon? Or are you working on any exciting new things?
We’re in hive mode at the moment. We’re trying to tie up some series’ before the end of the year. That’s the worst part about series’, you actually have to finish them! I don’t want to spill the beans just yet, but we’re probably definitely tying up the Bookish series by the end of the year, as well releasing something new under a pen name.
In a perfect world, we would’ve released 5 books by December, but I don’t want to reveal anything just yet!
I know everyone’s waiting for Bookmark, but we want it to be good. Even though it’s a stand-alone, it still requires making sure the culture of Symposium is upheld, lol. But we’re working on three books in that series because we just want 2018 to be on newer series’ or our most neglected series The Sterling Wayfairer series.
City of Fallen Stars is one of our most asked about sequels we’ve made people wait for. We’re writing it, but based on our marketing efforts for it, it probably won’t release until 2018, but the queer representation is like, multiplied by a 1000x.
2017 is pretty much planned up as much as I can reveal, but 2018 we can promise more queer women, more speculative fiction and more Afro-Latinx rep. Some stuff might be under pen names though ;p
Q6: What do you want to see being published more often in F/F fiction?
I’m pretty sure Libertad’s going to dig deeper in her guest post, but I’d like to see more Women of Color in relationships together. This is something I notice in all interracial couples in fiction. I’m a part of the problem too, because I tend to write it as well, but most interracial couples are always pictured white person + person of color.
I’m not asking for less of that, I’m just asking for MORE interracial couples where both the folx are PoCs =)
Q7: What message do you hope to send to your readers through your books?
Everyone gets a different message from our books, so it’s so hard to pinpoint what we actually want to send them. I think I low key hope that any confused queer dark skinned Black-Latinx girls pick up our books and recognize their identity a lot earlier than I did.
I wasn’t comfortable admitting I was queer until I was an adult, and now I don’t know how I ever lived that way. I want people to notice some of the subliminal stuff, like recognizing Black people aren’t a monolith, we come Latinx, African, Caribbean, Asian and/or mixed race but we’re not all visible. Or that slut shaming is effing corny, stop doing that. Or that a women’s worth isn’t in her likeability.
But that’s a lot to swallow, so the obvious message is that someone out there knows you exist and is writing stories for you. Hopefully they inspire you to write stories for yourself =)
About the Author:
G.L. Tomas is a twin writing duo and lover of all things blerdy, fearless and fun. When they’re not spending their time crafting swoon-worthy heroes, they’re battling alien forces in other worlds but occasionally take days off in search mom and pop spots that make amazing pasteles and tostones fried to perfection.
They host salsa lessons and book boyfriend auditions in their secret headquarters located in Connecticut.
We specialize in New Adult, Young Adult, Romance, and Fantasy! If you love QWoC, inclusive religious, racial, socio-economic, cultural, LGBTQ+, and size(and everything we forgot to mention) representation, check our books out =D
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