latinegrasexologist replied to your photoset “Finished last big edit on the novel. It’s at 168 pages for now, very…”
is this a childrens book too?
The publisher generally decides the genre and the age range (a marketing thing, in many cases), but I’d say yes. It is also very much an adult’s adventure book.
Okay, here’s my pitch on the spot:
Imagine a Tolkienesque/Narnia-like/Earthsea-ish/Game of Thrones-ey meld authored by a PoC author who subverts (or attempts to subvert) the racist trope present in almost all fantasy fiction he can think of, without it being preachy at all; A magical drama that references various cultures and current day GWOT and imperialism through age-old Fantasy archetypes and story shapes, and also employs gender typing much in the way Miyazaki does. Upside down to what is normal. I’d like to think Ursula K. Leguin influenced my Fantasy writing a bit in that way, too. The story does other things, too, with other issues, but I don’t want to talk it to death. I want to send some copies out and see what comes back without too much of my own thoughts.
But that layering/metaphor is why it works for both kids and adults. You don’t need to read anything into it for it to be an engaging Fantasy story (again, I hope!), but if you as an adult do catch some of the historical and cultural and literary games I’m playing, you’ll be doubly delighted.
I’m pretty excited by the book for a couple reasons. Firstly, because I love the Magic/Dragon/Wizard/Fantasy genre, devoured it as a kid but as I grew older, was saddened to suss out CS Lewis’ anti-Arab/anti-Muslim/Pro-Crusading Christianity themes, as well as all the Racist coding in LoTR books, and in so many other titles. I want Fantasy I can feel good about, and that won’t train children in the corrupt ways that so much media does today, and that is simply more true (while being Fantasy!).
Secondly, because I took a huge break in serious creative writing—from my songwriting to my bookwriting—in 2006, to focus on decolonization of thought, and general education into some of the pollutants to my earlier work, which mirrored some ignorance I’d absorbed growing up: the entrenched racism and misogyny in American culture. I blogged my heart out for 6 or 7 years without pausing (UMX), and still do a more casual form here. But I purposely stopped writing creative work because I’d come to realize there was a lot of unconsciousness in my work. I didn’t want to come from that place.
So this is my first major creative work since I took a hiatus, 8 years ago. I think it’s good book. Granted, I’m pretty close to the material, but there’s no question that it is the best long-form fiction i’ve ever created. And I’m happy, too, because while I’ve received plenty of compliments on my work in one way or another, for all my life, an artist judges themselves, and that’s what matters. And personally, I know that so much of it has been practice. Nothing there was something I’d want people to look at after I died. Clever, weird, original, sure. At times. No ‘great’ work. Now, I don’t know if this is a Great work, I doubt it. But it is something I feel good about leaving behind. You know how you grow up hearing all about your ‘potential’ and later feel it was a bunch of bullshit? I feel like this book is me living up to my potential, or beginning to.
Or maybe I’m just superjazzed, coming off the high of creating!