Sunday 28 January 2018

Guest Post: Writing our Reality in Books by Author M Hollis @_mhollis #KrakenFriends2018

The Kraken Collective launched February 1st, 2017, and in celebration of their one-year anniversary, they've put together an awesome promo sale of 19 books with queer characters for 99¢ each. You should really check them out (selfish plug, since one of the books is mine).

Be sure to go here to take the personality quiz and find out which queer character you are most like!

As part of the big event, I've asked author Maria Hollis to write a guest post on the blog, which she so graciously did. Writing as M. Hollis, Maria's novelette RIPPED PAGES is about a Princess named Valentina who lives a reasonably comfortable life, but after her mother's death, her father gets tired of taking care of her and locks her in a tower. She spends years on her own, talking to the birds on her windowsill, and reading books with adventures she will never experience. Her plans of running away are usually left for another day because she knows the vast forest surrounding her tower is too dangerous to cross alone. Until one day, another girl passes by on her horse and Valentina wonders if she’s finally brave enough to seize her chance of freedom.

Be sure to check out RIPPED PAGES here.

Without further ado, here's her post!


Writing our Reality in Books

When I was around eleven years old I wrote my first book. It was my cheesy attempt to write a magic
world where I could see myself and my reality existing. Today, I recognize it as fanfiction more than
an original story, but at the time I didn’t have any knowledge about these things and the internet would
only reach me later that year. But something that always stays with me from this book is that I rewrote
Harry Potter with a female protagonist who lived on a small island in the south of Brazil. She was a part
of me I couldn’t find in the famous and accessible books and movies that everyone loved at that time.
Flash-forward to a decade later, and today I’m still trying to write stories where I can see myself, but
this time they are stories about women who love other women. It took me such a long time to accept
my sexuality and identity. I still struggle with this some days. It’s not something I like to talk about all
the time because as an author I always feel this need to show my younger readers that they can have
hope, but my hope is still a fragile thing that I have to try so hard to hold on to.
The media hides LGBTIQAP+ content from kids and leaves the mainstream for the most privileged.
Sometimes, you see parts of yourself but can’t find others. I’m still a white, cis, able-bodied person
and it already took me until my twenties to realize so many things about who I am. What changed
was that I was able to find TV shows, movies, books, and web series about girls falling in love thanks
to the internet and the research I’ve been doing lately.
That’s why representation matter. Because we all live in a world where being marginalized from
society is also being erased from the media we consume. There’s a slow change happening that can
be extremely frustrating in the age of fast consuming media, but it’s a change that makes me happy.
I read Young Adult books with girls loving other girls and I think: this is exactly how lost I was when
I was their age. Someone out there is reading these books now at the right time and figuring out they
are not alone.

Since I’ve published my Rapunzel retelling, Ripped Pages, I’ve received a couple of messages
from readers telling me they read the story for their kids and they adored it. Nothing makes me
happier than that. To know that kids of all ages can find some hope in the words I wrote. In this
little fairytale I wrote for younger me that is now finding other people who need it. And I guess
that’s our role as creators, to write stories where people can see themselves as the heroes who
save the day.

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