Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Malinda Lo

Malinda Lo is the author of Ash and the just-released Huntress.

From her Q & A with Donna Freitas at Publishers Weekly:

Both Ash and Huntress feature star-crossed romances between two girls. Can you talk about the role of romance in your storytelling?

My books were always going to be between two girls—I didn’t make a radical choice to do this. I’m not interested in heterosexual romances. I just wrote Ash and then Huntress as a romance, and what’s funny to me about this is that I have never really enjoyed reading romances. Though I really love books that have romance in them as an element and in YA, romance is really king.

I ended up enjoying writing this aspect of the books. The romance in Huntress in particular I love a lot, but it was very hard to do. It starts off by telling you these two girls are going to be in love—sets an expectation for the reader—so you really need to make it feel real, and the two main characters didn’t come to me that easily. I felt like I knew who Taisin was from the beginning but I didn’t really know Kaede at all. I’m not really a character–driven writer. I need to write the whole book before I get to know the characters, their motivations, and how to build them.

That experience taught me a lot about writing romance. I ended up reading a lot of romances that I loved to get a sense of how to do write one—the most unsappy romances I could find. I looked for books with understated romance to try and figure out why they worked for me. I read Persuasion by Jane Austen, for example. When I wanted to figure out sexual...[read on]
Writers Read: Malinda Lo.

--Marshal Zeringue