Our second guest is Audrey Coulthurst, author of the upcoming Of Fire and Stars.(STAY TUNED FOR THE COVER RELEASE ON THE 16TH, exciting, no?) We were so excited to show off more great books with GREAT f/f relationships. It was such a blast to work with you, Audrey. <3
Audrey has a Master’s in Writing from Portland State University, is a member of SCBWI, and studied with Malinda Lo as a 2013 Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow. She lives in Santa Monica, California. Find out more about Audrey and her books at audreycoulthurst.com or follow her on Twitter at @audwrites.
Represented by Alexandra Machinist of ICM Partners.
Without further ado...
Many pieces have been written on the tendency of books about queer girls to end in tragedy—happy endings have eluded us for a long time. When I started seeking out YA books about queer girls years ago, most of what I was able to find were stories about coming out or secret relationships, like Annie on My Mind, Dare Truth or Promise, or Keeping You A Secret. The central struggle for the main characters in those books was often not only coping with a first same-sex relationship, but also the pressures of unaccepting parents or peers. While those stories are still crucial, and a real part of life for many teens, we’ve reached a point at which it’s also important to show that queer girls can be the heroes of any type of narrative. What I’m excited to see now are more queer girls whose biggest problem isn’t being queer, but perhaps figuring out how to save the world (or the galaxy!), coping with problematic magical powers, handling challenging relationships with parents, or perhaps navigating multiple marginalized identities.
As a writer of fantasy, one of the most awesome things I get to do is to create worlds in which queerness or other identities marginalized in our society are not condemned. That was one of my goals with OF FIRE AND STARS. The obstacle standing between my main characters, Dennaleia and Mare, is not the fact that they fall for one another, but the circumstances under which it happens—that Dennaleia is betrothed to Mare’s brother for a necessary alliance.
2. For Valentine's Day what would Mare give Dennaleia as a gift? And what would Dennaleia give Mare?
Knowing that Dennaleia is huge reader who enjoys scholarly pursuits, Mare would likely give her a book on some sort of academic topic to help her learn more about the new kingdom she’s moved to—something like WARRIORS OF WIND: A HISTORICAL EXPLORATION OF RELIGION AND HORSEMANSHIP IN EARLY NOMADIC MYNARIA. As for Dennaleia, she knows that music is one of the things that brings out Mare’s sensitive side, so she’d put together a private concert for the two of them. She might play music on her harp that was important to Mare in childhood and some songs they can sing together.