I am delighted to announce that Stranger, the post-apocalyptic YA novel that I co-wrote with Sherwood Smith, will be published by Viking (Penguin Group) in Winter 2014.

The acquiring editor is Sharyn November. I have wanted to work with her ever since we met twelve years ago, at World Fantasy Con in Corpus Christi, Texas. She said that she was reprinting classic children's fantasies. I grabbed her by the shoulder and said, no doubt with a mad gleam in my eye, "Lloyd Alexander's Westmark! Elizabeth Wein's The Winter Prince! Patricia McKillip's The Changeling Sea" She smiled and said, "We're doing all three. Got any other suggestions?" Sharyn, thank you so much for championing our book.

Also, thank you very much, Eddie Gamarra and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein of the Gotham Group!

Yes, it's the Yes Gay YA book. Here's a little more about it:

Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, "the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. "Las Anclas" now resembles a Wild West frontier town… where the Sheriff possesses superhuman strength, the doctor can warp time to heal his patients, and the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed.

Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever – an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read – nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.

There are five main characters. One is Ross, who knows all about prospecting, fighting, and desert survival, but hasn't had to interact with other human beings on a regular basis since he was twelve. The others are teenagers from Las Anclas: Mia Lee, introverted genius and town oddball, who can design six different weapons before breakfast; Yuki Nakamura, an aspiring prospector who is dying to get out of his small town and explore the rest of the world; Jennie Riley, Changed telekinetic and over-achiever, who must choose between becoming the teacher of the one-room schoolhouse or joining the elite military Rangers; and Felicite Wolfe, the Mayor's narcissistic daughter, who likes to spy on people with the help of her pet mutant rat.

And yes. Yuki is still gay. So is his boyfriend, Paco Diaz, the drummer in the town band. And Brisa Preciado, who has the power to make rocks explode, is still dating shy Becky Callahan, who works after school waiting tables at the saloon. As you can see, this isn't so much a "gay book" or a "straight book" as an ensemble book.

Sherwood and I wanted to write something fun and exciting, with adventure and romance and mutant powers and martial arts and a vivid sense of place. And we wanted it to be about the people who are so often left out of those sorts of books: Latinos and African-Americans, Jews and Asian-Americans, gay boys and lesbian girls, multiracial teenagers and teenagers with physical and mental disabilities. We didn't do this to fulfill some imaginary quota, but because we wanted to write about teenagers like the real ones we know, the real ones in Los Angeles, the real ones we were.

We hope that, however flawed it may be, our novel will make even a few of those teenagers happy.

This is a very personal project for me. People often ask me if I'm ever going to write about coming back to America, after spending most of my childhood in an ashram in India. In a metaphoric sense, this is that book. To tell the story of what it was like for Ross to come to Las Anclas, I drew upon my own experiences of stumbling into an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar rules, beset by memories I couldn't bear to recall and reactions I didn't understand, longing for connection but with no idea of how to relate to people.

Stranger is a post-apocalyptic adventure, not an issue novel. But all stories have their genesis somewhere, and for me, it was my wish to say, "It's okay. You're okay. You'll get better. You'll make friends. You'll fall in love. You can be a hero." I hope it finds its way to the people to whom it will speak.

If you would like to be notified when the book actually comes out, please comment to this post to say so. I will reply to your comment when the book is published, and you should get an email notification. Or you can leave your email address in a comment. (I can copy the address, then delete or screen the comment.) If you're not on LJ/DW, you can comment anonymously (or email me) with an email address where I can reach you.

Incidentally, I am putting out an e-book anthology of my short stories and poetry in a couple months. If you'd like to be notified when that's available, please comment to say so.

If you're interested in reading our book, you may also be interested in this list of YA science fiction and fantasy with major LGBTQ characters. And here's a list of YA fantasy and science fiction with protagonists who aren't white..

I would be happy to answer any questions you might have, about the novel or anything else.

Finally, please feel free to Tweet, link to, or otherwise promulgate this post. Lots of people mentioned during Yes Gay YA that they would like to know what happened to this book, but the vast majority probably don't read my blog.
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laurashapiro: happy Chiana (yay!)

From: [personal profile] laurashapiro


Congratulations! This is so exciting -- I can't wait to buy it and read it and rec it to all my friends!
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)

From: [personal profile] rymenhild


Fantastic news. I'm so excited that we'll be able to read this book.
genarti: Red-haired young woman beaming, hair blowing loose, with text "nothing to do today but smile." ([misc] nothing to do today but smile)

From: [personal profile] genarti


Oh, huzzah! Congratulations to you both!

I'll definitely be on the lookout for it, and I'd love to be notified when it comes out.
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)

From: [personal profile] mme_hardy


HOOOOOORAY! FANTASTIC! I will preorder as soon as I get the chance!
umadoshi: umadoshi kanji (Rin smiling (kawaiiayu))

From: [personal profile] umadoshi


That is AMAZING news! I can't wait to finally read it!
londonkds: (BLOOD AND TITTIES FOR LORD CHIBNALL!!! ()

From: [personal profile] londonkds


Congrats! I'm glad it got published unbowdlerised.
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


ROCK THE FUCK ON.

*throws confetti and sparkles*
oyceter: Calvin pointing at something saying "!!!" (wow)

From: [personal profile] oyceter


EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(I feel this should also get the "it could only happen to rachel" tag to counterbalance all the wtf-ery that you sometimes get landed with!)
umbo: B-24 bomber over Pacific (b24)

From: [personal profile] umbo


YAAAAAYYYYYY! I definitely want to be informed :-)
rivkat: Rivka as Wonder Woman (Default)

From: [personal profile] rivkat


Congratulations! I look forward to reading it! I will be watching this space, so no need to put me on a list.
oursin: Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing in his new coat (Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing)

From: [personal profile] oursin


The yayfulness is ectastically yayful! Congratulations all round! Break out the virtual champagne! Let off some fireworks!
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (B5 - Delenn OMG)

From: [personal profile] eruthros


Congratulations! That is so exciting - I can't wait to read it!
skygiants: a little girl spreads out arms and wings and beams up towards the sky (wings glee)

From: [personal profile] skygiants


EXCITED FOREVER TO GET TO OWN AN ACTUAL COPY OF THIS :D :D :D

From: [personal profile] indywind


I will be interested to know when your book comes out.
lab: (Default)

From: [personal profile] lab


Congratulations to both of you (and to us, since we are getting to finally read it! <3)!
loligo: Scully with blue glasses (Default)

From: [personal profile] loligo


WHOO-HOO!!! Congrats to you both.
l_elfie: (Default)

From: [personal profile] l_elfie


i would love to be notified. :D
thistleingrey: (Default)

From: [personal profile] thistleingrey


Awesome! Congratulations, and I look forward to reading it!
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