I’ve shared this cover on Facebook and Twitter the other day, but I was saving putting it up on my blog until I had a few minutes to talk about the book and representation.
When looking at old blog posts, I found some talking about working in this setting, on this project, from April of 2013. It’s been a long time coming. Back then, from the very beginning, I’d not put a romance element in the novel. Because it wasn’t that kind of book. It was, on many levels, a coming of age story that revolved around a sheltered academic finding her place in the world–surrounded by untrustworthy mentor figures.
I’ve got nothing against working romance elements into my books. Several of them have some kind of romance sub-plot. For some reason, it never felt right for Preston, the protagonist of Of Rooks & Ravens. I don’t know why.
See, back in spring of 2013, I was just kind of finding out about Asexuality and Aromantic personality types. They’d always been there, but they typically weren’t talked about. Thankfully, there’s Tumblr. And it was a great resource of first-person accounts of what it meant to be ace/aro. But Jughead from Archie Comics notwithstanding, there’s not a ton of ace/aro representation out there. Especially in genre fiction.
I realized, the deeper I got into the book, that Preston displayed ace/aro behavior. So, I steered into it. It was a good fit, and helped me make better sense of the character. But most importantly for me, the fact that she was ace/aro wasn’t at all important to the book. It’s just who she is. It doesn’t define her.
No, what defines Preston is her smarts. Her academic drive. Her curiosity. And some difficulties with male authority figures due to an emotionally distant father. She also has a strong love of books and coffee and pastries from the rival nation, the Caliphate of Dust. She’s a lot like some of my favorite people.
And it was important for me to do those friends justice. It was important for me to give them a hero they could identify with.
By the time I was done, I had grown to love Preston. I’ve even come to love her mentor, Yuri Vostov–in a way.
I can hardly wait for you to meet them starting September 30th.
Of Rooks & Ravens should be launching from Razorgirl Press in a week. I’ll be at their booth at Geek Girl Con for signings most of Saturday. I’d love to see you! Come on by! If all goes well, I’ll be handing out convention exclusive D&D 5th edition stat blocks for some of the unique dangers of Ravensgate.