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Author Interview Malinda Lo

I was lucky enough to be a part of a small tour for Ash by Malinda Lo. You can check out the second part of the tour tomorrow at Pop Culture Junkie. Here is a short interview I conducted with Malinda.


What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?

The most interesting comment I’ve received is something that I cannot repeat here because it is a spoiler. :D However, I loved that comment with a passion.

So I’ll pick something different. Some of the most interesting comments I’ve read were in response to my Big Idea post at John Scalzi’s Whatever blog. I wrote there about how the big idea behind Ash isn’t that Cinderella could be a lesbian, it’s that nobody in Ash’s world cares that she falls in love with a woman. Some of the commenters took issue with that, because they seemed to believe it’s necessary to be persecuted in order to have a gay identity. I don’t necessarily agree, but sometimes minority identities are indeed tied up with the shared experience of discrimination.

In Ash, though, I’m trying to imagine a world where homophobia doesn’t exist. So it requires shifting entirely out of our real world into a fantasy world. Can we even imagine being “gay” without needing to have “pride”? It’s an interesting concept.

Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?

Not really. I’ve had to train myself over the years to be able to write in different places (at home, in a cafe, in a library) and in different mediums (I usually write with my computer, but I do sometimes write in longhand). I used to have too many “must haves” and I eventually realized they were just roadblocks to sitting down somewhere, anywhere, and writing.

There is one thing, though, that I absolutely must NOT have while I’m writing: the internet. I have to stay away from it for hours at a time, otherwise it ruins my concentration.

If you could travel back in time for one year, what time and place would you choose? And if you could only take 3 things with you, what would they be?

I suppose I’d like to go back to 1892 San Francisco. I’d bring an outfit with me that would disguise me as a man (hopefully that counts as one “thing”?), because I think it would be safer that way. I’d bring a mini video recorder so I could record the stuff I saw. And, honestly, I’d bring a weapon.

Yes, I have specific research in mind that I’d like to do, and I’m very concerned about safety. :)


You can see my review of Ash.

Here's also some additional information about Malinda Lo and her debut novel Ash:

A playlist of music I listened to while writing ASH
Frequently Asked Questions about ASH
Article I wrote about LGBT characters in YA fiction
My column about my own coming-out story

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Author Interview Malinda Lo + novel