The Gender Thing
When I completed my first draft of The Camellia Resistance, I sent it to three people for feedback: one girl and two guys.
One of the guys is a good friend, a large, no-nonsense kind of guy who believes in big guns and big dogs, and reads a lot of end of the world as we know it kind of books. He was worried about reading the book for a number of reasons. One, he isn't the kind of person to lie, so agreeing to read a friend's book when you don't know if you'll like it is a big deal. You may have to tell this person that their writing is wretched and they should give up. Really, no one wants to do that. The second issue is that I'm a girl and in this odd little world we live in, girls read books by either an girl or a guy, but guys tend to think twice about reading a book by an girl.
So when my gun-toting reader got back to me and told me he had started with serious reservations and ended up loving the book, even I sighed in relief. In the writing process, the way my gender might influence the story wasn't something I thought about. It was only afterwards, when handing the book over to a guy for feedback did it occur to me that this gender thing might be an issue.
Now that The Camellia Resistance is out in the big bad world, much like a parent, I feel awkward about whether or not to qualify its existence. There are implications for being a female writer with a book that wasn't written for an exclusive audience of either gender, and I know it. There's no graceful way to address the unspoken uncertainty about whether a book written by a girl can speak equally to readers regardless of their gender.
So let me say this: I don't think that being a specific gender means that I'm going to write a gender-specific book. The world I live in has guys and girls in about equal measure. The world I found Willow in isn't so different. I'm a people. I wrote a book about people for people. If you're a people too, it stands at least a 50/50 chance of being for you. Assuming you like urban fantasy dystopia and stories about the end of the world as we know it.
Marked and unemployed, Willow falls in with a band of dissidents. Everyone wants something. In the process of discerning friend from foe, Willow begins to unravel secrets that will shake the New Republic of America to its foundation.
Where to purchase The Camellia Resistance
About the Author
Ms. Williams feeds her obsession with curiosity: people, philosophy, technology, psychology, and culture. Living in Washington D.C. is a good source of inspiration. From the sublime heights of arts and achievement available for free at the Smithsonian to the bureaucratic banality of Beltway politics and scandals, it is a great city for fantasy, possibility, power, and consequence—ideal fodder for the fictional life. She lives between an ordinary external life filled with time cards, meetings, and deadlines; and an extraordinary imaginary world where anything is possible and everything is fueled by music.
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The Gender Thing - Guest Post from Author A.R. Williams Reviewed by Joshua Cook on 11:45 PM Rating: