Chuck Sambuchino, Faerie, Julie Andrews, Knysna Forest, Literary Agents, MG, NA, NaNoWriMo, preview of work, Rottweilers, South Africa, The Adventures of Saphira the Faery Dog, Writer's Digest, writing, YA
I found this post a while back and I’ve been actively using it to find myself an agent – I’m done only querying agents from the UK.
It led me to thinking about what makes characters and/ or story diverse.
My stories usually have a heroine from middleclass suburbia in South Africa encounter the weird and wonderful. I always anchor my stories to reality by bringing in the humdrum school and home life experience of the heroine (usually with the ignorant meanness of children when they encounter someone special). Mostly I do this because I like to read about someone from ordinary circumstances encountering the extraordinary.
For instance: in my young reader series, Greta and Eddie fall off a slide and end up in the magical Knysna forest where a Faery Dog helps them to escape the gardening obsessed Imps. They help elephants in the process; making new friends and even getting over their shared animosity. The rest of the stories have the same theme of the two of them saving small civilizations with the help of their Faery Dog friend.
Is meeting, helping and befriending people/animals/faeries from other walks of life enough diversity?
In my Middle Grade series, Christi and her dog, Saphira, go to different parts of Faerie. This is the main story the Adventures of Saphira the Faery Dog is heading. Christi gets older in every book, bringing with it its own problems as she encounters different Fae and their issues she helps to resolve. She even meets Morgana (King Arthur’s sister) and stops her from taking over the world – after she’d accidentally released her from her eternal Fae prison. Eventually Christi’s story becomes more Young Adult than Middle Grade as she gets older.
Is saving the world, twice before Friday, while meeting diverse creatures enough diversity?
In my Young Adult trilogy, Kate and her twin brother have to save the world from power-hungry Obayifo (witch and vampire combined). They’re the last Druids and that means that they are the most powerful of all magic-users: the only real threat to the Obayifo. So, they have Faery Dog protectors who have to teach them how to use their magic once the Obayifo enter their lives and threaten their very existence. Kate’s best friend, Jeannie, has caramel skin and unknown parents (well, until Kate finds out that her friend’s mother is Mami Wata – the most powerful of all water Fae). Cal (Kate’s twin brother) and Jeannie date throughout book one. Kate falls in love with Ian – he’s gorgeous, dangerous, a Warlock and the son of the leader of the Obayifo. Without giving too much away: there’s a love triangle, betrayal, death, the true meaning of the twin bond, Faeries complicating the world and a teenage girl who has to save the world with the help of her twin and the Warlock who may be either her salvation or her destruction.
Is that diverse enough?
In the New Adult book I wrote during NaNoWriMo, (Ray of Night) the heroine is half-Fae living with various others in a house in Melville (near UJ campus). People and Fae of various walks of life make up her world – the one she has to save from Obayifo and a coven of witches hell-bent on destroying Faerie and recreating the world according to their own twisted values.
Maybe only writing about Faeries, human girls from middleclass suburbia getting caught up in whatever evil plot there is to take over/ destroy the world and other magical things isn’t diverse enough? Who knows? But I do know that I haven’t read about Rottweilers actually being Faery Dogs anywhere else but in my work…
How about you, scriveners: ever thought about diversity in your work? What does diversity mean to you? What do you like to write about (common themes in your writing)?
Well, I’m done asking you questions about diversity, dear reader. I’m off to finish writing a chilling short story about zombies attacking faeries – the real story of the villain from Ray of Night. Yes, I’m still obsessed with the novel but I’m channelling it into something positive.