Hi lovelies! I am so thankful to be part of the tour for the release of Kindred: 12 queer #LoveOzYA stories! For all the info & other stops for the tour, make sure you check out the masterpost here.
What does it mean to be queer? What does it mean to be human? In this powerful #LoveOzYA collection, twelve of Australia’s finest writers from the LGBTQ+ community explore the stories of family, friends, lovers and strangers – the connections that form us.
This inclusive and intersectional #OwnVoices anthology for teen readers features work from writers of diverse genders, sexualities and identities, including writers who identify as First Nations, people of colour or disabled. With short stories by bestsellers, award winners and newcomers to young adult fiction including Jax Jacki Brown, Claire G Coleman, Michael Earp, Alison Evans, Erin Gough, Benjamin Law, Omar Sakr, Christos Tsiolkas, Ellen van Neerven, Marlee Jane Ward, Jen Wilde and Nevo Zisin.
Includes a foreword by anthology editor Michael Earp, resources for queer teens, contributor bios and information about the #LoveOzYA movement.
This was so good. I’m usually pretty picky when it comes to anthologies, and I don’t think I’ve ever read an anthology where I liked every story until I read this one. I related to so many of these stories, and I feel like it’s done an excellent job of showcasing the diverse, spectacular talent of Australian authors. This was such an inclusive anthology, and I so appreciated that.
There was also such a great mix of genres throughout here– some were whimsical and magical, some were dystopian, some were contemporary and everything in between. I felt a range of emotions throughout this as well. They were just all so good! My fave stories were definitely Bitter Draught and Waiting, but they were all really good. It’s so good to see so much queer talent in Australia, and more than that, it was so great that this was inclusive not only in sexuality and gender, but also race, ability and neurodivergence! I can’t wait to recommend this to literally everyone I know, and make sure I recommend it to everyone at work!
Interview with Jen Wilde
I can’t even explain to you guys how excited and lucky I am to have been able to interview Jen Wilde for this tour!! Queens of Geek is one of my favourite books, and Jen Wilde is easily one of my favourite authors.
How did you get into writing?
When I first started writing back in 2012, I had no intention of letting anyone read it. I was burned out from work and wanted to try something creative to challenge myself, and decided to try writing. I fell in love with it instantly, and summoned the courage to share my stories on Wattpad. The encouragement and support I found there gave me the confidence to submit to Swoon Reads, and I haven’t stopped writing for them since.
What draws you to writing contemporary YA stories? Do you see yourself writing in other genres or age groups?
I write what I like to read, and contemporary YA stories are my faves. YA stories are incredibly important, what we read and love as teens can shape who we become. I’ll always remember the stories that shaped who I am today, whether they were books or tv shows or movies. I consider it a great honor to be able to inspire others like that. That being said, I’d also like to try my hand at writing an adult rom-com one day. But my heart belongs to YA contemporary romance.
Your books are unapologetically queer and have some of the best bi rep I’ve ever read. Queens of Geek was one of the first bi books I read and was one of the books that helped me realise my own sexuality. What does representation mean to you, and what was the first book you saw yourself represented in?
Thank you so much! I am so happy you connected with Queens of Geek. As someone who always felt different growing up, representation means everything to me. Being able to see yourself in a story is a gift that not everyone has been able to experience, it gives you a sense of belonging, the validation that you’re not alone or wrong or broken. The first time I had that experience reading a book was with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Until then, I’d never seen anxiety repped so accurately, and it helped me see that I’m not alone.
Which of your characters do you identify with most, and why?
Definitely Taylor from Queens of Geek. I wrote a lot of myself into her, especially my experiences as an anxious, autistic girl. It was scary to put so much of myself into a character, but seeing the overwhelming love Taylor continues to receive makes all that vulnerability worth it.
If you could co-write a book with any author, who would you write with, and what would the book be about?
Oh, great question! I’d love to write something with Helen Hoang, maybe a queer rom-com starring two autistic characters. I’d also love to write a queer, geeky rom-com with Britta Lundin or Claire Kann!
What are some staples you believe all people should have on their bookshelves?
This is a tough one. I’m not normally one to tell people what they should or shouldn’t read, as everyone’s tastes are different and what I consider a staple might not be right for someone else. For me personally, I love anything by Nina LaCour.
What advice would you give to your past self if you could go back in time?
Not so much advice but I would take myself by the shoulders and say; You’re so gay, dude.
Do you have any writing advice you would give to up and coming authors?
My favorite piece of writing advice that I live by is to write what you want to read.
Okay, that’s all I have for today! I’m so happy I could be part of this tour, and I really hope you pick up Kindred!