Today's interview is with author Lianne Simon.
Lianne's father was a dairy farmer and an engineer, her mother a nurse. She grew up in a home filled with love and good books. Small and frail, she spent much of her time indoors, reading. She graduated from the University of Miami and eventually settled in Georgia. She and her husband live in the suburbs outside of Atlanta. Her debut novel, Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite is due to be released in September.
What inspired you to write this story?
Jamie is a teenager who was born with one testis, one ovary, and a pixie face. The doctors initially put male on his birth certificate, but when it became clear that she considered herself a girl, her parents let her live as one. When Jamie was nine, however, circumstances forced the family to have their child live as a boy again. At sixteen, the four-foot-eleven soprano leaves a sheltered home school environment for a boys' dorm at college. When a medical student tells Jameson he should have been raised female, childhood memories return and he questions his gender. The ensuing struggle puts his education and his relationship with his family at risk. Jamie can thrive as a girl, but are a boyfriend who may desert her and a toddler she may never be allowed to adopt worth the risk?
The book explores some of the issues faced by intersex children growing up in a male-female world. It's based on conversations I had with a number of intersex adults. As a conservative Christian, I was appalled by the way some of them had been treated. And having my own genetic anomalies, I could sympathize with them regarding the physical issues involved. I'm hoping the book will contribute to people's awareness of intersex.
How long did it take you to write?
I woke up one morning in August of 2010, with the basic idea for the story. By that Christmas, I'd completed a 110,000 word first draft. While writing, I'd come to know the characters well enough to understand that they wouldn't have done what the plot had them do. So I tore up the manuscript and started over. In the spring of 2011, I sent my third draft off to an editor for a manuscript evaluation. He recommended rewriting the entire manuscript in first person and sharing more from the heart. I finished the fourth draft late in the summer of 2011. That fall I made extensive changes based on reading Hooked and Story, both excellent books on writing. In December and early January, I received three contract offers. I signed with MuseItUp Publishing because of their reputation and author community.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
Where else do you get to so freely exercise your imagination and creativity? A reader recently told me that one particular scene convinced her that I was writing about my own experiences. In that one tiny place, at least, I'd conveyed an image from my imagination to hers. From my heart to hers. That's also my favorite thing about reading--seeing or feeling something new and different.
What is your least favorite thing about writing?
For me there was a bit of a let-down when I finally had to let go and stop changing things. The creation process had become so much a part of my life that I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy the next phase.
If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?Um, okay. Here you go. My husband says I already drive like Ken Block. Not true, but I might like to.
What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
There are a couple of bottles of homemade beer that someone gave us, um, two years ago? Maybe three by now.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
My second book is a fantasy involving Scottish mythology mixed with modern-day issues. In World War II, a bio-weapon killed off most of the people living on a remote island in Scotland. A few pregnant women survived long enough to give birth to a new race of people, much like the Fair Folk. Seventy years later a human body, still barely alive, washes up on the shore. It's the first contact between humans and the quarantined island.
Thanks, Lianne. Good luck with your book.