Monday, May 11, 2015

Why write diverse YA?

Over the years, I’ve written a fair number of stories that range from contemporary settings to complete fantasy worlds and in those stories, I’ve written a diverse range of characters. It wasn’t something I intentionally set out to do by any means. I always write where my story takes me, where my character lives. My character might be black or Asian or white. My character might be male or female. I never really know what ideas are going to come to me or why.

The first time I wrote a story from the point of view of a person of color, I worried about it terribly. Would I do the character justice? Would I offend someone? Who was I to be telling this story? What right did I have? Truth be told, I wonder these things every single time I write a diverse story, but I don’t let it hold me back any longer. Yes, there’s a danger of “getting it wrong”, but there’s a greater danger of being boring if I don’t.

I don’t know about you, but I read and write so I can experience things outside of the world I personally know. That’s the point of creating a fictional story – to go places you haven’t been, to be people you can never be- right? So why, oh why, would I make all my characters like me?? That would bore me to death!

In Vessel, the story started out with a humble slave girl in a future, dystopian Europe. I’m not exactly sure when I discovered she was Asian, but I knew she had been sold by her family into slavery and traveled very far from her home as a child. It made her an ‘other’ in a world of Europeans, another reason she was an outsider, and it served the story well. People move. They don’t always stay where they’re born. It only made sense to have diversity in a dystopian future, just as we have it today.

So why write diverse YA? To better reflect the world we live in and all the possible, wonderful stories within it. Why read diverse literature? To better enjoy and understand the world we live in and all the people in it.

~About Vessel~
      The sun exploded on April 18, 2112 in a Class X solar storm the likes of which humankind had           never seen.
          They had exactly nineteen minutes.
Nineteen minutes until a geomagnetic wave washed over the Earth, frying every electrical device created by humans, blacking out entire continents, and every satellite in their sky.
Nineteen minutes to say goodbye to the world they knew, forever, and to prepare for a new Earth, a new Sun.

Generations after solar storms destroyed nearly all human technology on Earth, humans reverted to a middle ages-like existence, books are burned as heresy, and all knowledge of the remaining technology is kept hidden by a privileged few called the Reticents.
Alana, a disfigured slave girl, and Recks, a traveling minstrel and sometimes-thief, join forces to bring knowledge and books back to the human race. But when Alana is chosen against her will to be the Vessel, the living repository for all human knowledge, she must find the strength to be what the world needs even if it's the last thing she wants.

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Title: Vessel
Publication date: May 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Lisa T. Cresswell

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