Pitch Wars #PimpMyBio

Hi, I’m Emily Strong! I grew up in western New York but relocated to the Boston area about ten years ago, where I live in a Star-Wars-LEGO-filled apartment with my partner and two cats.

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As a western NY transplant, I have strong opinions on Buffalo wings.

I was a theater kid and went to the Rochester School of the Arts as a drama major for three years (eventually transferred out because I discovered writing and their creative writing program wasn’t a good fit). I still love musical theater (and musical movies, TV episodes, etc) and am currently obsessed with Hamilton.

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I am a fan of a lot of a lot of popular sci-fi and fantasy book, TV, and film series, many of which you can probably guess from my choice of pictures and gifs. My favorite doctor is the 9th and my favorite companion is Donna.

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I am bisexual and write stories in which being queer is normal. Not all of them have queer characters as the protagonists, but queer folks are always heavily represented in the main cast and never receive the Dumbledore treatment.

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I write heroines who are smart and capable and can rescue themselves.

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I write strong female friendships and make sure to have scenes that pass the Bechdel-Wallace test.

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I have PTSD and the dearth of realistic portrayals of reactions to trauma in spec fic has always bothered me. So when traumatic things happen, my characters have realistic, long-term reactions.

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I love antiheroes and morally grey characters.

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My target audience is my friends and I when we were in late high school and college still voraciously reading Tamora Pierce and Sherwood Smith and other YA authors because adult speculative fiction didn’t speak to our lives.

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(Also, Tamora Pierce is my idol)

I am in an awesome writing group called B-Spec (which Gillian Daniels is also in!). We do everything from critiques and a book club to meeting at Panera once a week to write in the midst of chaos. Probably half of my first draft was written in that Panera.

Speaking of which, my novel is a secondary world fantasy. It explores the question of what if the chosen one found out she was pregnant and decided to walk away from her destiny to save her unborn child. The novel focuses on her daughter, Skadi, struggling with the consequences of that choice, and on Skadi’s school rival Muri who believes he is working to end the resulting war but the group he works for is not what they seem. Some hopefully interesting details about my book you won’t get from just the query letter and first chapter:

  • This is an upper YA novel about older teens trying to cope with adult problems, with everything that entails. And they also have teenage problems like figuring out what they want to do with their lives when they are done with school or missing curfews or not being able to find a place to make out in private.
  • The technology level is circa 1700 (think early Scientific Revolution) except where necessity and the existence of magic has accelerated things.
  • This is a dual-lineal society created by a mother goddess. It is not a patriarchal society. Cooking and raising children is shared work. No one ever says “but you’re a girl” or questions women in leadership. There is no rape or sexual violence. Consider it the antithesis of Game of Thrones in this regard.
  • Skadi assists a famous inventor with her research after school and Muri is a street artist.
  • I don’t have an “X meets Y” for the book but the tl;dr is feminist Mallorean starring young Bones and Snape.

Why you should pick me:

  • I enjoy the world and characters that I have created but this is not my “baby.” I want this to be the best book it possibly can be, and a big part of making it better is incorporating feedback.
  • I am very used to receiving constructive criticism on my work in general, and this book in particular. Portions of it have been workshopped through three different writing groups over the years.
  • All that being said, a big part of receiving constructive criticism is knowing what cannot be changed. I know what is essential to the story, and when something isn’t working I am glad to explain why it is important and discuss better ways to approach it.
  • If we ever Skype you will get to meet my cats.

In closing, thanks Lana Pattinson for hosting #PimpMyBio! I somehow managed to do a gif-based post without using any Firefly gifs, so I leave you with this:

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