Hey everyone! I’m thrilled to be guest blogging here at Adrian’s blog. I’m S.A. Snow, and I have decided to write about gender neutral writing today since that’s something I’ve had some experience with that a lot of other people haven’t.
I’ll start off by saying that Across Worlds: Collision is the first novel I have written that involved non-gender conforming characters. Usnavi doesn’t identify as one gender or another at all. Zhe can be either, depending on what zhe wants at the time. Notice what I did there? Zhe. That’s in place of “he” or “she”. Other pronouns I had to get used to using are “zher” and “zhim”.
To be completely honest, I still get mixed up on using them sometimes. My betas and editors were catching me calling Usnavi “he” or “she” several revisions into the novel. I would catch myself falling back on the pronouns I was familiar with while writing the first few chapters, and figuring out when to use “zher” and when to use “zhim” was difficult. For the record here’s: “it belonged to zher”, “she said to zhim”. I think.
Going through the process of writing Across Worlds: Collsion was completely eye-opening to me on the importance of these pronouns. My characters are real to me, so by a few chapters in, Usnavi was a fully fleshed out person. Zhe had quirks and dislikes, and I knew what zhe thought about things. When I would catch myself using the wrong descriptor, I felt bad about it. It was a struggle for me to get to the point where I could consistently refer to zhim in the right way all the time.
Writing this book has translated into real-world applications for me. I don’t tend to think about things until I’m faced with them and getting to know Usnavi and exploring zher feelings about gender and the fluidity of things helped me really shape how I view things in the world we live in. Simply, our world is changing rapidly, and we have more diversity around than ever before. Instead of just assuming everyone fits into the “he” and “she” boxes that have existed for so long, we need to be open to expanding our definitions and the words we use to describe people.
Writing about Usnavi was a lot of fun. Zhe is a great character, and I loved going on zher journey with Jane. I personally felt a lot like my journey was similar to Jane’s. As I wrote about Usnavi, I learned a lot about being sensitive and aware that not everyone is like me and being open to accepting them for who they are, no matter what form that takes. I sincerely hope that reading this book takes you on the same journey it did me. If you’re interested, you can purchase it on Amazon.
After chasing around puppies and corralling kittens, S.A. Snow flips open her BSG replicated console and enters her mysterious world of imagination. Seeking to escape the rigors of her day jobs, she enters flight mode and powers her engines full-speed ahead.
A prolific writer of non-traditional erotica, S.A. Snow grew up on a small alpaca farm high in the Andes Mountains. A lover of yoga and meditation, she spends her free time constructing alien space stations, organizing werewolf governments, and cataloging all episodes of Star Trek in order of technical soundness. A firm believer that one need not choose between Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas, she also has closely examines all Star Wars movies in order to determine which episode is more factually based.
S.A. Snow writes truth and only truth, factoring in all evidences she can find. She writes only about parallel universes she has personally visited, and believes if something about her books isn’t shocking, she’s not effectively telling the story.
Jane Butler, a CIA operative, is assigned the task of infiltrating the Xanthians and determining if they’re a threat to humanity. Going undercover as a Xanthian mate, she boards the transport ship and meets Usnavi—her new mate. After spending six days traveling through space, Jane is ecstatic to explore the Xanthian station and soon sets out to complete her mission. The only problem? Usnavi—and the feelings she is quickly developing.
Fumbling their way through varying sexual expectations, cooking catastrophes, and cultural differences, they soon discover life together is never boring. As Jane and Usnavi careen into a relationship neither of them expected, Jane uncovers dark secrets about the Xanthians and realizes she may no longer be safe. When it becomes clear she’s on her own, Jane is forced to trust and rely on Usnavi. Simultaneously struggling with her mission, her feelings for Usnavi, and homesickness, Jane faces questions she never imagined she would have to answer.