Because apparently some people took issue with how the book was described – by people who aren’t me – let me go over that with you.
The book was described in press releases as a “gender-bending” love story of fairytale retell. I did not choose that terminology. It was chosen by a team of people, some of whom are LGBTQ+. They chose that wording to give other publishing professionals an immediate understanding that there would be crossdressing. That’s it.
Some have taken issue to Declan being called trans. Again, terminology not chosen by me (the author). And really, I disagree with that. Declan is trans even though he doesn’t swap out pronouns or declare himself female at the end. Why? Because in the beginning, Declan is uncertain. He acquires understanding about himself as the story changes. He keeps his masculine pronouns for several reasons as I listed in another blog post, but this doesn’t make him less trans. So please don’t assert that the character is misidentified. Let the publishing people use the buzzword so that they can talk amongst themselves and please don’t appropriate my characters or what I’m trying to say with them.
Some people have gotten upset over the use of the words “female alter ego” in the cover description. “That isn’t how trans works”. No, it isn’t. But in this case, when in his life he is a boy with a specific name and no one knows he is also dressing as a girl who uses a different name…Layla is precisely a female alter ego in the absolutely obvious dramatic sense of the word. And as I said, he isn’t trans. If he was, by the end, he’d have picked a new name and pronouns. He’d have changed those important misconceptions about him and become who he always was. I promise you, he would have.
But fair enough. In that context that wording is not helpful. So I’ve gone to the publisher and asked them to change it. Cheers.
So let this just sit here and percolate a bit on my blog.
I understand how critical it is for fiction to be representative. It’s why I wrote the book. I am queer. I am a nonbinary pansexual. I use she/her or they/them pronouns. I am here to represent. So as I’ve said before, please don’t hit me with this “this is written by an outsider, obviously” malarkey. Don’t presume to think that press or copy text is written by me. And please don’t review any books you read based on that material. Those aren’t the books and they are written by third parties for purposes other than to express plot to the reader.