This blog has been quiet for a very long time, which I didn’t intend. There’s actually been quite a lot going on. Unfortunately, most of it has been under the pseudonym I use for adult novels—one novel wrapped up, and two short stories. I’ve also been doing a little plotting for another novel idea, but I won’t go into that just yet.
I attended the first Rainbow Con this April, which was terrific. Next year looks to be even larger and more fun. Unfortunately, I came into contact with a family of sick, coughing children on the plane and came down with something like strep throat immediately after the con. That laid me up for weeks, even with heavy antibiotics, and unfortunately prevented me from attending the Harmony Ink workshop this year. But they mailed me my “swag” and several authors wrote nice notes to me inside a notebook, which reminded me what a wonderful bunch of authors we have.
In the meantime, as a favor to a mutual friend, a mainstream agent agreed to look at the first three chapters and synopsis of Martian Born—not to represent it, but simply to give me some feedback about whether it would be marketable as a mainstream YA novel. Unfortunately, though I was told it was nicely written and absorbing, it wasn’t very fresh. Since I began working on the novel, several YA novels about Martian colonies have come out, such as the best-selling Red Rising.
That sort of thing is always depressing to a writer. We come up with what we think must be an original idea, because we haven’t seen it anywhere or been able to find similar novels with searches. Then, while we’re working on our masterpiece, a bunch of books hit the shelves with the same theme.
In most cases, this has nothing to do with people copying from one another. But we all see the same news articles going by, we’re all observers of popular culture, so we tend to come up with similar ideas at the same time. Mars has been in the news a lot in recent years, and there has been a lot of talk about establishing a Martian colony, so of course a number of authors start thinking about that as a good basis for a story. From that point, certain things click into place for all of us—dust storms, two moons, sub-zero temperatures, water frozen into the soil. Some of us will go in one direction, some in another. My story is, as far as I can tell, more scientifically accurate than a number of the stories on the market now, but that’s not an enormous selling point. Neither is a gay protagonist, from a mainstream perspective.
However, from my perspective, a gay protagonist is an enormous difference that sets my story apart from others. So I intend to finish it. Even if it the most original novel to come out this year or next, I’m still convinced it’s a good novel. It’s worth finishing, and I think it will be worth reading.