28 September 2010

Reactions to f2m - the boy within’

a transitioning gender & punk music YA novel

What Happens When You Don’t Write What Your Regular Readers Expect?

by Hazel Edwards

Earlier this year, I wrote an article What Happens When You Don’t Write What Your Regular Readers Expect? http://www.australianwomenonline.com/from-hippos-to-transitioning-gender/ about the challenges of a children’s author who also writes in other fields.

Several do. But I made the mistake of not using a pseudonym.
The article was mainly about diverse media and personal reactions to my being a co-author of a YA novel on transitioning gender. Ryan, my co-author is an f2m (female to male) and this means our YA novel is first internationally, by a transitioned f2m co-author.

Despite being YA fiction, f2m;the boy within novel has been shelved as biography, autobiography, psychology, self help, health and even put in the adult category in bookshops and some libraries.

Readers appear disconcerted by writers who cannot be catalogued in one genre or categorised. I had always considered this a strength for a writer.

Educators, librarians and booksellers are especially wary of this gender subject.

This wariness is compounded when there are periodic TV current affair specials which sensationalise the more bizarre aspects of transitioning gender.

Our book is not sensationalised. We hope it humanises. Even if schools and librarians are wary, many youth support groups see this fiction as vital vicarious experience, and maybe saving lives. Social media response via blogs especially has been significant and fast. And the youth blogs are a way of enticing readers to libraries and books. Our e-book version is a significant attraction. Amazon http://tinyurl.com/28xys5o

Ironically science fiction/fantasy readers are interested in credible, transgender characters and with the Aussiecon 4 in September this is timely.

‘You might wonder what a review of a book dealing with a girl becoming a boy is doing on this website. It is here because I thought it sounded intriguing and also because gender-swapping is such a prevalent theme in SF that a serious and realistic novel based on one of the authors’ own experiences warranted it. The concept of gender-swapping goes back at least as far as the ancient Greek legend of Tiresias and is a part of many other mythologies as well. In modern times we have Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, Baum’s Princess Ozma, and countless other examples.'
Ian Banks The Specusphere: SF site

I’ve learnt that if I talk about our process of collaboration in an approachable way, by stressing the social media responses, readers will buy the book, read and make up their own minds. Then they tend to recommend it ‘as a good read’.


Publisher: Ford Street Publishing
ISBN: 9781876462901
Category: Young Adult Fiction

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