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I think my life would have played out very differently had I stayed in NJ, yes. Yes, it is much more liberal than most of the rest of Texas. There’s a lot more about me and my life that isn’t in the book, and will never be a part of my public persona, and that’s really just to protect myself. Many teenagers out of step with their environment end up seeking connection on social media.
It’s a struggle though – people read Spinning and feel like they know me. Did you eventually find a community or space online that became important to you? I never felt entirely comfortable online, I don’t think it’s ever really suited me.
Do you think creators are becoming more or less private online about their work? I don’t like all that information coming at me so fast, and I don’t like the whole culture of favs and likes and retweets. And that right there is what I ran away from in ice skating, and what I’m still running from.
And as soon as I have enough money to pay someone to run all my social media…
I worked hard at skating and at the same time, I didn’t like it. and people ask me how I produce so much work so quickly. It’s rare to see underage female desire depicted in literature. In you recount early memories of realizing you are a lesbian that feel very honest. Everyone recognizes Texas as a conservative state, but you grew up in Austin which is a city known for being a “liberal haven”. There are very few queer heroes in fiction for young people to connect to. I gave up pretty quickly on books because I couldn’t find what I was looking for. People are very quick to ask me ALL the personal questions, most of which I can deal with, but it can go pretty far. Everyone ever wants to ask me about how people in my life reacted to the book, and that’s no one’s damn business but my own.Do you feel like that environment impacted your experience as a queer teenager? I remember in high school I read about a lesbian couple being attacked in Corpus Christi, a town not too far from Austin. Were there characters that were important to you or that you projected queerness onto as a kid? And when I found queerness and openness in musicals, well, that was where I put my heart. I won’t talk about other characters in the book, unless it’s me.Do you think it would’ve been different if your family stayed in New Jersey? As drawing comics has become more of your job and part of your public life, are there creative activities you do outside of it that are more private outlets? And for the most part, I keep the information I share pretty close to what I said in the book. In the book there’s a scene where you mention not being on Facebook.I have never written something without magic in some form, so although technically the Riverside series is fantasy, it feels more like alternate historical to me.Everybody in the stories is queer and it’s built into the world so there’s no real structural homophobia (though as we expand the world to other nations and continents we’re playing with different forms of structural oppression based on gender and sexuality, as well as class).