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Which author inspired you the most to write your own stories?
Honestly, an author named AN NA. She wrote a YA contemporary I read a few years back about a Korean American girl (the author is also Korean American) and how she struggled with eurocentric beauty standards and it was the first book I’d ever read that made me realize that that’s a thing most girls of color struggle with. In my head, it always seemed like East Asian girls had it all. They’re always the most desired, and while I know many times it’s for the wrong reasons, I didn’t know that that was something some East Asian girls battled with. So naturally, that book made me understand that white supremacy is something that’s affected us all. All my life I thought it was just darker skinned people.
Do you think we need a black speculative fiction month? Why or why not?
I wish we didn’t need one but my sister and I are happy that it’s here. I think it’s great to celebrate Black Speculative Fiction stories and authors and you’d never hear the words, “we don’t need one”, leave my mouth. I think as authors we’d love to reach a point where we didn’t need a month dedicated to Black Spec Fic writers, but the truth is, we’re just not there yet. If we don’t celebrate our own accomplishments, who will? Until we get to a level where Black Speculative Fiction is grouped up with mainstream Speculative Fiction, we need to recognize our own community and it’s accomplishments!
As a reader, what would you like to see more of from black speculative fiction authors?
More queer representation. More gender identities and I’d love to see portrayals we’re not used to seeing. Like black heroes who aren’t always indestructible. I know it’s important to see black men as “strong” and impenetrable but I’d love to see more black heroes who are sensitive and make room for love and pain and everything else in between!
Do you remember the first time you encountered your first black character in a work of speculative fiction? How old were you? How did it affect you?
Guin: I was a tween(11 maybe?) and it was IT by Stephen King. I was just super glad there was at least one black person. I wasn’t sure I totally over-analyzed it like I’d do now in my 30s.
Libertad: Honestly, I think for me it wasn’t until my 20s. Really when I avidly started reading again. It wasn’t a great representation. The girl actually died in the first or second chapter but it’s weird when I realized she was black I was just okay with the scraps. She was nothing but a stereotype but I was so excited she was there. Now I know I was happy over something not meant to be positive but that’s how important representation is. When everything is meant for you, you don’t understand the joy someone can feel when they actually relate to a character in a book that’s positive!
Guinevere and Libertad go by many superhero aliases. Whether you know them by G.L. Tomas, the Twinjas, or the Rebellious Valkyries, their mission is always the same: spreading awareness of diversity in books. Oh, and trying to figure out the use for pocketless pants! They host other allies and champions of diversity in their secret lair in Connecticut.
You can find more info about Guinevere and Libertad Tomas here: www.lynnemery.com
The Twins are giving away free samples of The Mark of Noba for Black Speculative Fiction Month. You can enter below, or go here for instant access.
A call of souls. Union of power. Transcendent of time.
Sterling Wayfairer has one goal for his senior year: make his mark. But things don’t go as planned when he starts to encounter his mysterious classmate Tetra.
Tetra not only has answers to the recent disappearances, but Sterling will soon find, that making his mark isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Sterling discovers he shares a spiritual bond with Tetra, and that only their power has the ability to stop the malevolent evil they face. They must work together or risk the destruction of their world.