darlinstewart  asked:

Hi Alex, huge fan of TDM books! Ruby is probably my favorite fictional heroine and I just wanted to thank you for her! Also, as a writer, I find myself never fully satisfied with my writing and always wanting to go back to tweek something. Do you have anything you wish you could change in any of the TDM books? Thanks so much!!

Oh yes! There’s plenty I still angst about plenty–typos, certain metaphors, and so on. The bigger things I wish I had the foresight to fix are super emphasizing that Chubs is black beyond his initial description since so many people miss it, being more overt about the fact that Clancy doesn’t sexually assault Ruby beyond forcing a kiss, and Zu’s muteness.

The last one ties me up in knots a lot, actually–I think what it represents to the series as a whole is still important (their inability to vocalize what they’d been through, her trying to regain some control over her life after the emotional trauma and ultimately how it comes to control her), but I had no idea when I wrote TDM that there’s actually a harmful trope about mute/quiet Asian characters. I think Zu does speak through her actions and sass, but… yeah, I still torture myself over it pretty frequently.

Edited to add: I’m also perpetually frustrated with myself I didn’t catch that her having abilities labeled Yellow is not great given the history of slurs used against Asian people. Obviously there are Yellow characters of other ethnicities in the trilogy (also referred to as “S/he is (a) Yellow,”). It’s an unintentional coincidence based on the abilities I wanted her to have and how dangerous those abilities would have legitimately been considered. The color coding, if you remember, is based on the old terrorism risk warning scale in effect after 9/11, but I should have made this connection back in 2010/2011 when I could have scrapped that idea and found another color or label to use. Same goes with not knowing that the NAACP finds the song “Black Betty” offensive in their reading of the lyrics, and that its origin/meaning is uncertain (I had always heard the story that it was based on a marching song and musket). So I sincerely apologize for any offense I might have caused by not doing my due diligence back in the day and researching these elements.  

In all honesty, there just comes a point that you have to let go of a manuscript or story, trust you did the best you could, and move on to something new. Good luck with all of your writing. xx