I got the great chance to talk with the author of the new book, Chameleon Moon, a fantastic dystopic novel. Read the description here:
The city of Parole is burning. Like Venice slips into the sea, Parole crumbles into fire. And trapped inside is an entire population of people with bizarre, beautiful and terrifying abilities – people who really should not have them. When Regan, an anxiety-ridden hitman with the peeling skin of a lizard meets Evelyn, singer, revolutionary, and unofficial superhero, it’s up to them to get to the heart of the mystery of Parole and its quarantined inhabitants. Along with a diverse group of superpowered friends, they will evade a deadly totalitarian police force, discover the truth about their entwining pasts, and together find the strength to survive a cataclysmic disaster.
Q: This is your first novel, but you’ve worked on a lot of other creative projects in the past, including writing for Phoenix Online Studios video games. How has your experience writing Chameleon Moon differed from writing for Phoenix?
A: With Phoenix Online, I mostly wrote short stories for their extended universe. It was awesome – I wrote for the King’s Quest unofficial continuation, “The Silver Lining,” which I loved because I grew up on King’s Quest. KQ2 was one of the first computer games I ever played, and learned to type with! So getting to write for Phoenix Online was basically like getting to write official fanfiction! Those were mostly short stories (which you can read here) but I also drew concept art for the games, and helped come up with puzzles and character bits. (I also am the voice of Fand in The Silver Lining, so that was amazing as well!)
Q: You’ve also done a lot of work with short-fiction. What challenges came from going from short fiction to novel-length fiction?
A: Not too much, honestly. I’ve been working on Chameleon Moon for 6 years, and doing short fiction at the same time. It’s not really a matter of which I did first, just which one I released first. I honestly find short fiction harder, because once I start writing it’s hard to stop!
Q: What really drew me to your book for the first time a few months ago was the inclusion of queer and marginalized characters. What drives you to include these kinds of characters prominently in your work?
A: The fact anybody would ask me that question is why. (That’s not a shot at you! It’s a shot at the fact that the vast majority of books aren’t inclusive in the slightest.) The very fact that Chameleon Moon is unique in this sense is why I did it. It shouldn’t be unique. The fact that writing diverse casts of people with different genders, races, sexualities, physical and mental abilities is so rare is one reason why I thought this book was necessary.We desperately need representation, all of the above and more. These people exist – I exist. It is so, so incredibly important that we see ourselves in fiction, because we exist in life, and have stories that need telling.
Q: What does your writing process look like?
A: Long periods of procrastination, crying and hiding under blankets, interrupted by frantic periods of productivity. I’m terrible and irregular and will put it off until I can’t anymore and then write 20 pages in one sitting. I’m the first to admit that this is a bad system and I need a better one – I’m working on it. Have a regular writing time and do a little every day so it doesn’t sneak up and overwhelm you. Don’t be like me, kids!
Q: What advice would you offer aspiring writers who want to publish their work one day?
A: I answered this question on my blog here – and if you’re also dealing with depression, anxiety, or other chronic illnesses or disabilities, I wrote about that here. Most of all, YOU CAN DO THIS! You’re a rock star and are gonna rattle the stars.
Thanks, RoAnna, for talking with me! Chameleon Moon is out now and available for purchase through Amazon.