Today I’m delighted to be sharing my interview with Calista Lynne, whose new title We Awaken was released in July. I was really interested in this book as soon as I’d heard about it, as not only does the magic-laced contemporary story sound really interesting, but this is also one of very few titles I’ve seen out there where asexuality is a main aspect.
THE BIBLIOMANIAC: Hello! Firstly, could you give a quick overview of your latest book, We Awaken, is about?
CALISTA LYNNE: The main characters in We Awaken are two asexuals in a F/F relationship. One of them is a creator of dreams who helps the other girl try to get into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. It is YA Magical Realism, so there is a fair amount of conflict and adventure, but at the heart of it all, this is a tale of romance.
Was there anything in particular that sparked the idea for the story?
The characters came from the fact that I wanted to write asexual representation, but the plotline came from a variety of places. Fairytales, a sonnet I never wrote, stories friends told me at parties. I had a friend growing up who had a fake license so she could rent cars underage and go to auditions in the city. Shockingly enough, that led me to make the main character a dancer.
What was your writing process like for We Awaken?
It was a bit more structured than my current writing process. I had long lists of scenes and events and wrote them as chronologically as I could without getting writers block. The first scene that came to me was one in the middle, though, so that was my anchor. There was also a fair amount of screaming at my laptop screen.
Did you always plan on having a supernatural twist in your writing?
I like to pretend that I can write in any genre, but fantastical elements just come to me better. Recently I abandoned two completed drafts of a contemporary romance because it didn’t feel right. Now I’m working on a fantasy and it is coming out so much better. I write whatever plots come to me and, for some reason, they always seem to involve creators of dreams or fairies or something supernatural. It’s not even planned it’s just in my nature, I suppose.
What made me really interested in We Awaken was that your main characters are asexual, which I think should be represented a lot more in YA. Did the asexuality aspect of your novel just happen as you wrote, or did you have the intention of representing minority characters?
I definitely had the intention of including minority characters going in. My goal was to write the novel I wish I had growing up and show that asexuals aren’t broken. I wrote the representation I wanted to see in the media. Although I will admit, originally there was only one asexual character in the book but during rewrites I changed it to two.
And, lastly – do you have any book recommendations?
This is a difficult question! Tragically, I don’t know many books with asexual characters- feel free to send recs my way- so I can’t offer up any titles in that regard, but I do highly recommend every book by Neil Gaiman. American Gods is my personal favorite. Honestly it’s written so cleverly it almost makes me angry. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz is my favorite LGBTQ title. I just recommend you read whatever makes you happy and don’t let anyone give you shit about it.
Thanks very much for visiting the blog, Calista! (And I second the Aristotle and Dante recommendation. That book is beautiful)
Are you interested in We Awaken? You can find more details about it over on Goodreads – and it’s out now from Harmony Ink Press.