June 20, 2012

whaleparties said: Have you found any lady/lady, lady/dude or dude/dude romances in recent YA that you've been particularly enamored with? Are they canon romances, or not? And, just because I'm curious, how do you feel about people liking non-canon romances as an author and as a consumer? Is there ever any cognitive dissonance there, or are you pretty comfortable with the shippin' ways of yourself and others? What about with your own books? Sorry, I'm just pretty curious! Also looking for recs :T

What an awesome question! I just moved house and only got the internet back today (internet, I missed you, never leave me again, baby) so I have a mile-high pile of work to do, but I shall CELEBRATE my return by answering.

Okay, since last time when I started babbling about shipping there was a bit of confusion, a brief primer on these terms!

Canon = actually in the books/movie/TV show in question

Fanon = something the fans would like to be in there. ;)

Shipping = wanting people to be in a romantic relationship.

Aaaaand now we power ahead!

I am not just comfortable with non-canon romances. I looooove them. I think it is a fabulous compliment if readers want any two or more people in a series to get together. It means they care about the characters, and want them to be happy, and are thinking about them when they close the book and having discussions about how perfect people are together: it means they particularly enjoy the interactions certain characters have together, and people enjoying my book is awesome!

So yes, I think people liking non-canon romances is awesome. I have liked many myself. Mary/Colin in The Secret Garden. Draco Malfoy/everyone-whose-name-began-with-H-except-Hagrid in the Harry Potter books, Jo/Laurie in Little Women. Kel/Joren in Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small series. The list goes on and on! (The evil blonds problem I have is ongoing also.)

As anyone who follows my tumblr knows, I think two characters from the TV show Revenge, Emily and Nolan, should marry and spend their lives raising blond billionaire genius babies, solving crimes, and punishing criminals with convoluted revenge schemes.

At this time in the show, they are not together and the creator of the show said they weren’t likely to be: Emily’s romantic life consists mainly of sleeping with dudes as part of an elaborate revenge scheme. Actually Nolan’s romantic life consists mainly of sleeping with dudes as part of an elaborate revenge scheme too.

I still want them to be together! Doesn’t matter. I like subtext, deliberate and otherwise: I like seeing different combinations of characters.

Plus there are not as many lady/lady and dude/dude romances in canon as there should be, so I completely get people hoping for more. I’m not saying things becoming canon doesn’t make a difference (like I said, I think there should be more lady/lady and dude/dude romances about!) but I understand people wanting them even if they aren’t going to happen—and I think said romances shouldn’t be seen as out of the realms of possibility.

As for my own books super-specifically, I have sometimes been surprised by what people shipped but always been very pleased they cared! Even when surprised, I was never bothered. I want people to like the canon pairings, obviously, as I like them, but I like people shipping too! 

Just so long as people seen as ‘standing in the way’ of a romance between two other characters, particularly girls ‘standing in the way’ don’t get called names. ;)

I was writing out favourite pairings from recent YA books and then it occurred to me that it’d be a spoiler if I said who was canon and who wasn’t: so here are a list of romances I enjoy, and none of you will know which actually happen!

Kaisa/Ash in Malinda Lo’s Ash. (I really like Kaisa! She does this foxy kinda-mysterious few-words focused-on-her-task dedicated-to-her-job but you know will-love-you-forever quiet humour thing I see dudes get more, and it was great to see a lady get to do it. Long story short, Kaisa’s a fox.)

Chloe/Derek in Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers series. She is a tiny shy blond NECROMANCER who deals with being not-super-physically developed for her age and loves movies! He is a big bossy werewolf who deals with being VERY-physically-developed for his age (plus-acne-and-need-for-constant-showers) and loves maths! She learns to stand up to him and he embraces being taken care of by her! I yodel ‘Kiss kiss kiss’ at book pages an embarrassing number of times. 

Lissa/Rose in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy. You know… devoted bodyguard, blood drinking, on the run, them against the world … just me, then? (I also really like Christian, so he can join in any time.) (Nobody tell Richelle Mead, she’ll think I’m a deviant.)

Will/Tessa/Jem in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices. Team Tessa Should Have Everyone She Wants! Victorian society may not be ready, but I am. Anyway, nothing’s as bad as the stuff Lord Byron got up to. (Cassie already knows I’m a deviant, you can tell her.)

Cassel/Lila in Holly Black’s White Cat. Ah, the well-meaning but dark-past-ed teen noir detective and the ruthless heir to the mobster family fortune! Also, Barron/Daneca, the super-shady conman and the campaigner for equal rights! 

Anna/Cas in Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed In Blood. You know, your typial Romeo and Juliet love story, where Juliet rips people in half for ghosty vengeance and Romeo is sworn to stab all ghosts with a magic dagger.

Blue/Mirabelle in Sarah Cross’s Kill Me Softly. A girl fighting not to be a fairytale princess and a boy fighting not to be Bluebeard via being as unlovable as possible. Terrible at musical instruments! No social graces! LADIES, KEEP AWAY! (Not SUPER-INTREPID ladies though!)

Fire/Brigan in Kristin Cashore’s Fire. She is the foxiest lady in all the land, so supernaturally foxy that all long for her, which is super inconvenient when she is trying to prevent a war. He is just trying to ignore how foxy she is and do his duty! This of course means he is HARD TO GET, so cue the foxiest lady in all the land getting her pine on. 

Cricket/Lola in Stephanie Perkins’s Lola and the Boy Next Door. She is a defiant dresser and he is a devoted darling.

Romance is something people make fun of others for caring about, and yet it’s something that’s very natural to care about—it’s a loving connection between people, like family and friendships: it’s a significant emotional choice people make. If you care about romance, you’re caring about characters, and I’m complimented.

(Not everybody but a lot of people, and that is cool!)

Plus, as should be obvious, I’m a shipper myself. ;) One of the great things about being a writer is that you can make all your own ships canon. 

And I hope people will ship many pairings in Unspoken and Team Human.

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