At the moment I’m working on a reboot of classic fairytales. I know, I KNOW, everyone and their mother is doing the same thing and I can just hear people now: by-the-way, Ms. Gajda, what exactly do you mean by classic fairytales. <sigh>
Ok, but just stay with me a moment more. Here’s my beef with many (although not all) of these reboots: from what I’ve seen there is a dearth of diversity (the amazing Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer being a notable exception) and not just ethnically, but in orientation as well (yes, yes, also excepting the wonderfully written Ash by Malinda Lo). Anyway, there seems to be a gap there.
A blog I came across was awesome enough to make an entire list of YA books with LGBTQ protagonists and it was disappointingly small (you can read the post here). Rachel Manija pointed out that “less than one percent of all YA novels published in the USA within the last ten years have any LGBTQ characters at all, even minor supporting ones”.
Well, I like writing diverse characters for the same reason that I like reading about diverse characters: because I feel that it helps broaden my understanding of others and ultimately myself. What ends up drawing us all together are our common human needs. Everyone wants to be loved and love in return.
So, with those thoughts playing around in my head I came up with this idea to do the reboot of the classic (ok, ok, incredibly Eurocentric and somewhat misogynistic) fairytales. So far I have the concepts for three unconnected books (as in they are not part of a series, per se) which are thematically related by virtue of being fantasy based and their protagonists are not white AND straight (some protagonists may be white, some may be straight, but currently none are both). And let me clarify: I have no problem with novels that have white, straight protagonists. The story of my own life happens to have a white, straight protagonist. But if you consider that what we read influences our world view and we only read works with a narrow portrayl of characters then that can have a subtle, and possibly not-so-subtle, negative impact.
Now, I’m not trying to write for a niche market, that is to say, I’m not trying to be exclusive. I’m trying to be inclusive. I think if these works were solely about the struggles of being a minority or LGBTQ issues I’d probably be ill-qualified to fully address that. Rather, my aim is to write compelling stories that have broad appeal, whose protagonists are relatable and sympathetic, and just happen to be diverse and/or LGBTQ.
The most developed concept so far is Crimson. Click on the title if you’d like to read my pitch and back of the jacket summation. I’ll be posting the Prologue soon. Enjoy!
The other two novels are:
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