Guest Post || Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick

Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick authors of Snowsisters.

Tom and Jen:  Duet, the young adult imprint at Interlude Press, will release our debut novel, Snowsisters, on February 15, 2018. High school students from different worlds are thrown together as roommates at a week-long writing conference. As Soph, who attends private school in Manhattan, and Tess, a public school student who lives on a dairy farm in New Hampshire—get to know each other and the other young women, each discovers unexpected truths about friendship, their craft, and how to hold fast to their convictions while opening their hearts to love.

Tom:  People ask us all the time how we write together and how we began. I live in New York and Jen lives in Rhode Island, but I travel regularly to Massachusetts to attend to my elderly mother, so we arranged to meet for brunch on a rainy Sunday in June, 2015 and talk about writing our first novel. I don’t remember who suggested it first, but we wanted to each take a character and write that character’s voice in the first person.

Jen: Ideas for scenes and story directions pop into my head all the time.  Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a good one or a nagging concern. Often, I text Tom from the grocery store, something like: “a high schooler who wants to be a drag queen wins a guest appearance on his favorite show!” Or I’ll just write a scene and send it to him with no warning. He’ll ask where it fits and I will have no idea.   Tom’s pretty good at letting me run.  Tom and I email multiple times daily about our work.  We also talk by phone weekly for at least an hour-and-a-half.  

Tom: Once we have a general outline, we decide who is going to write what and when.  I usually write on weekends, when I can spend several hours at a keyboard.  We talk on Saturdays or Sundays–both when we’re really trying to get something out.  We do our scenes and chapters on Google Docs and share with each other once we’re ready.  When we’re working on drafts, we use “suggested” for editing so that it’s clear what is new and who is inserting or removing text.

Jen: We split the voices, but by the time we are done editing and revising, it’s often hard to tell who wrote what.  And sometimes I’ll have an idea that I want to write down that needs to be told from Tom’s character’s voice. But I always ask him to edit the voice to read the way he wants it to, and we each get final veto on edits to the voice we are assigned.  

Tom and Jen:  We love the back-and-forth of collaborating. Early on, we made a decision not to let writing differences get in the way of our friendship.  Both of us are good at communicating when something is important to us and at letting go when it isn’t. And we have a commitment to the work. If we have a deadline, whether external or internal, we both know that the other will do what it takes to meet it.

We also balance each other out in terms of managing anxiety and stress. If one of us is worried about attending an event, or how a chapter will be received, the other one is usually able to calm fears. Getting a book published takes a lot of courage, a lot of persistence and a lot of time. Sharing all of that makes it much easier.

Tom and Jen: Snowsisters is available now for for pre-order at Amazon, bandn.com and Interlude Press, and will be in bookstores on February 15. We want to caution prospective readers that triggering warnings are posted on the Interlude Press website based on some of the content.  We can’t wait for you to read it!

 

About the authors:

Tom and Jen met in high school in Massachusetts in the early 1980’s and started a conversation which, years later is ongoing. Tom is gay, partnered and lives in New York. Jen is straight and lives with her husband and two children in Rhode Island. Tom and Jen follow all kinds of popular media, especially those with an LGTBTQ youth theme and are voracious readers. Both work as attorneys in their real lives.  They write fanfiction together online.  Snowsisters is their debut novel.

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Afterparty and lesbian representation in sci-fi || A Guest Post by Arwen Jenkins

I picked up Afterparty by Daryl Gregory at a bookshop because I was intrigued by the tagline on the cover: ‘Take a Pill. Get a God.’ Reading the blurb – which spoke of a future in which smart drugs are so advanced that they can even create faith in God – convinced me that I would love this book. It almost seemed tailor-made for me, as someone who enjoys both near-future science-fiction and religious themes. The fact that the book has a female protagonist was an added bonus too. I didn’t think it could get any better.

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All is to be dared || a guest post by Alex Conall

Some men say an army of horse and some men say an army on foot

and some men say an army of ships is the most beautiful thing

on the black earth. But I say it is

          what you love.

 

When I was in twelfth grade, a boy asked me to prom. I said no; I barely knew his name and I didn’t want to go to prom at all—it would be too many people, too much noise—and prom as a first date, as my first date, didn’t really seem the thing.

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Sapphic Graphic Novels || A Guest Post by Candela

I love comics and graphic novels, but I don’t really feel like as a queer woman, I belong. In the last two years I have found that there is a place for me in this wonderful, hopeful and colorful world. Of course, there are too many identities missing, too many stories untold. But there are also many amazing and important graphic novels and comics that deserve all the support.

So here there are my two cents, four sapphic graphic novels that I loved. And please, feel free to leave me your recommendations!  Continuar lendo

Second Novel Syndrome || A Guest Post by Kit Eyre

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Second novel syndrome – it’s such a recognised problem that an internet search brings up results from major publications and indie bloggers alike. There’s even an award presented by the Royal Society of Literature called the Encore Award for the best second novel. In short, there’s anxiety and reward. The trouble is, when you’re a self-published author, you tend to get far more of the anxiety.

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Write What You Know || Guest Post by Niamh Murphy

We have all heard that phrase before. Even those of you who aren’t writers have heard it repeated in films, articles, and English classes.

But we all know that there are stories of magic, dinosaurs, space-battles, pirates, and schoolboy wizards that can’t possibly have been drawn from the writer’s own life (no matter how much we hope that J. K. Rowling is telling the truth about Hogwarts).

So how do we cross the great divide of the fantastic whilst maintaining that fundamental authors’ tenet?

Research.

Research it until you know it. Then write it!

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Reading my Sexuality || Guest Post by Susie Purvis

When I was discovering my sexuality, and coming out in the early to mid-noughties I felt extremely alone. I grew up in a very religious, Christian community where I went to church multiple times a week, sang in the church youth band, and was a faith-based youth leader and community outreach worker for my church. The first time I tried to test the waters telling someone what I was feeling and realising about myself, I was met with a very typical but nonetheless hurtful, “That’s disgusting and so wrong!”.

Growing up, I had never been any good at making close friends. I always found myself in a large group of friends, I was rarely totally alone, but I still felt disconnected and on the outside. Reading has always been a true love of mine and growing up feeling disconnected from my sometimes-troubled world, I often sought refuge in the books I read. The characters were my friends and family, and their experiences and adventures were mine too.

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Catch That Feeling || Guest Post by Cait

Nicola Lancaster and Battle Hall Davies.

I don’t speak of these two characters very much or even the book in which I read of them, Empress of the World by Sara Ryan. Which is odd considering the impact they had on me. It was way back when in 2007, I was a sophomore just getting my bearings in high school surrounded by hormones and a critical lack of self-awareness. Nicola, or Nic, and Battle are two teenage girls who meet at a camp for gifted students and begin a summer romance. They were my first encounter reading bisexual characters. With confidence, Nic informed the reader that her romantic attraction to Battle didn’t take away all the romantic feelings she had for boys in the past. She asserts that she still likes boys but she likes girls too, that she’s sure to have feelings for either gender in the future.

At the time, I was aware that I was attracted to men and woman but was hesitant to acknowledge it, even in my own thoughts. So there was something extraordinary about reading that, in print, in a book I took out at the school library. The feelings I had but never spoke of had a legitimacy that I had silently desired. I don’t remember if the word bisexual ever gets used in the book. It would take a couple of years for me to identify myself as bisexual. But Nic’s feelings were my feelings. Battle’s feelings were my feelings.There is something to be said about that emotion one gets when the thoughts you originally thought were unique to you, are mirrored in the characters of a story you’re reading. It’s almost indescribable, that mixture of happiness and relief that I felt in that moment. But boiled down and in the simplest way, I will try to explain. I had received a profound moment of clarification and one of the most hopeful messages I had ever received in my life; that I was not alone.

And that feeling? I began to chase it.

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Trans-Inclusive Sapphic Relationships in the Media || by Sari Taurez

The only mainstream representation of my marriage has been (for the most part) cancelled.

The Netflix series Sense8, featuring a trans-inclusive sapphic relationship between Amanita and Nomi, will no longer be gracing the screens of its viewers. For two seasons people watched these two women, very much in love, face the hardships before them. I know of no other mainstream fictional relationship to replace it.

 

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It felt nice to have something I could point to and say, “Look! That’s us”. Had it been allowed to continue beyond the two-hour finale that will air in 2018, maybe I could have more of those moments.

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Sooner or Later || by Celeste Castro

During my childhood the sizzling of hotdogs and the smell of chili indicated it was Friday night in the Castro household. Get the mustard. Set the table. Feed the dog. Dinner! How was your week? As the youngest of four I couldn’t compete. How could I top a tale as exhilarating as my brother’s detailed account of peeling dried glue off his hand in one single sheet? Or my sister’s account of how she had saved her entire class by raising her hand to tell Mrs. Trumble that Holly had white bugs crawling in her hair. The few times I was able to get a word in edgewise it was taken out of context. “Is this my bike?” I yelled on my way up to see Santa at my dad’s company Christmas party. I carried the three by three inch wrapped gift back to my seat. Surely why not? My dad had tools. “I won a dime in the spelling B…” Congrats! That I promptly threw away, my consolation prize for being the first to tap out. The word was: Truck. T-R-U-K. I won’t bother to tell you about my lisp phase. And so was the plight of this youngest of four. The sauciest of comebacks a dollar too short. A day, make that a week and sometimes several years too late. Like driving down the interstate at seventy miles per hour. It’s raining and it’s loud, but a bridge is ahead then deafening silence as you pass underneath it. That was your moment! Darn it’s too late.

Yet here I am using my voice, it’s a voice in a sea of much more eloquent voices. I’m classically untrained. I took English 101 three times. Third time was the charm that and a tutor. What’s an Oxford comma? How does it differ from a Yorkshire comma? Does Kansas have a comma? I know that’s not a thing. I have no business writing, but I do anyway. I use made up words for my made up worlds. My observations from a life of listening. It may not look pretty or sound that way either. I’ve come to enjoy the looks paid upon me. Pinched brows, nervous laughter and avoidance of eye contact. Maybe it’s my irreverent nature? My jokes about Jesus? Or Nunscects, my upcoming comic book about nuns and insects. Coming soon, no really! I have found my voice and have found my platform through books and art and poetry. Where can I use this? I better write that shit down. Sooner or later it’ll make a ton of sense.

About the Author:

Celeste Castro, @writerceleste, is Mexican, dyslexic and a janitor by trade and a lot of other things too including the author of Homecoming a lesbian romance.