My Hero Monday is an original feature (and now a link-up!) from the feminist blog A Girl’s Voice. In the words of its creator, Chloe, “It celebrates female heroes in our society, and promotes learning about new heroes.” My Hero Monday posts feature women both real and fictional, living and deceased.
The full link-up schedule can be found at the end of this post – and if you’d like to join next month (I strongly encourage that you do so), you can find the rules and other information here.
So, this month Chloe was super busy… and I offered to help her her with the MHM blog chain, thinking she’d probably say no thanks. But she agreed! So I chose the theme for this month – lady authors, because November is NaNoWriMo – and I was the one who ever-so-nicely made that handy-dandy schedule found at the bottom of the post. You’re welcome.
Anyway, enough blabbing. Here’s my post. Enjoy!
Note: You can find my previous MHM posts here.
Date of birth: I was not able to find this. Um, 1970s, maybe?
Current age: See above. Evidently I have poor Google skills.
School(s): Wellesley College, Harvard University, Stanford University
What books has she written? Which one is your favorite? Why?
THEY ARE ALL MY FAVORITES AND I CAN’T PICK JUST ONE. Kidding, kidding. I mean, I wrote this question, so I really can’t complain…
Her books are:
+ Ash. This is a retelling of “Cinderella,” but the romance features two girls instead of a girl and Prince Charming. It’s ADORABLE and REALLY BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN and I would recommend it to, like, everyone. This was the first Lo book I read and it remains my favorite.
+ Huntress. This is a companion to Ash, and it takes place before that story. I haven’t read it yet. I say that this is due to all the other books on my to-read list, but truthfully? She hasn’t published many novels, so I’m making them last as long as possible and I don’t want to have run out of books to read! PUBLISH MORE STUFF SOON, MS. LO. PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
+ Adaptation. What does aliens + government conspiracies + love triangles + bisexuality equal? An amazing story, that’s what. I read a lot of dystopian fiction/other science fiction, but not much of it impresses me. This novel, however, did. Yay!
+ Inheritance. This is the sequel to Adaptation and it’s great, too. There should be more YA duologies; I haven’t found many but the ones I’ve read have been quite good. Trilogies get a little old after a while, don’t they?
Additionally, Lo has written a novella (Natural Selection; a companion to Adaptation and Inheritance) and several short stories. She’s contributed to multiple anthologies: Defy the Dark (which I’ve also read), Grim, and Diverse Energies.
When did I first hear about her?
2012, I think. The fantastic and lovely Orphu over at A Mirror Made of Words (who is also participating in MHM this month!) adores her books and kept talking about them. So of course I had to see what all the fuss was about!
I didn’t get around to reading any of Lo’s books until this winter, though.
I wish I’d read them sooner. I say that about a lot of books.
What makes her one of my heroes?
Well, first of all, she’s a tremendously talented author. Her stories have highly original plots, and by the end of each one I always feel like the characters are my friends! Plus, her writing style is absolutely gorgeous – clear yet wonderfully descriptive. I mean, Ash‘s writing style is basically Tolkien-level gorgeous.
Secondly, diversity and representation are super important to her… and I care a lot about those things too! (As evidenced by this post and that post and this other post. Oh, and how about this one? And that one? I care a LOT, as you can see.) She’s a queer Chinese-American author, so all her books feature A) Asian characters and B) queer girls.
Reading her books was like… well, like finding everything I’d ever wanted from a story. Beautifully written, intriguing stories with diversity FTW! When I read Ash I was just so done with reading straight love story after straight love stories. I wanted a story that was a little more “me,” and eventually I found it, and basically: Thank you.
There’s one more reason I admire Malinda Lo. She is fantastic about interacting with her fans. She tweets a lot, and she goes on book tours. (I would’ve totally pestered my parents about going to the Indianapolis signing if I’d heard about it more than a day in advance.) She runs a website called Diversity in YA (which you can also find here) along with another author, Cindy Pon, and it’s awesome.
But perhaps most importantly, SHE BLOGS. Right here. And quite frequently, too. She talks about all kinds of neat things: writing advice and how to write characters who are different from yourself and YA and huge list-filled posts about LGBTQ+ fiction.
And I think that’s pretty cool.
I want to write beautifully; I write diversity into all my stories; I want to become a published author someday, an author who interacts with her fans and talks to them about writing and whatnot. And Malinda Lo does all three of those things!
P.S. Before I move on to the quotes section, I’d like to share a video with you – since I seem to have made that a tradition in my previous MHM posts. Here is Malinda Lo’s video for the It Gets Better project!
“It may not be your dream, stepsister, but do not scoff at those who do dream of it.”
“Then they took the last step together, and when she kissed her, her mouth as warm as summer, the taste of her sweet and clear, she knew, at last, that she was home.”
“She would rather be alone in her room than alone in the midst of a celebration she was not a part of.”
“All you can do is make your decisions based on what you know now.”
“People are always going to think something about you that isn’t real. It doesn’t matter what they think.”
“There was something magical about it: this warm September night, the yellow-and-green flags fluttering from the ceiling, the salsa burning hot on her tongue, the Mexican Coke a rush of sugary sweetness. This is normal, she thought, and she wanted to cry.”
“Homophobia isn’t the same as heteronormativity, at all, and I think that heteronormativity can be harder to fight because it’s so subconscious, so deeply ingrained throughout our entire society in all kinds of cultural productions, TV, film, books, everything. It’s everywhere. That’s harder to fight.”
– From her blog
Last but not least, I’d like to add that Ms. Lo wrote a pep talk for NaNoWriMo in 2013. It’s about sticking with your story even when your inspiration is dissipating and you should totally read it.
So, tell me: Have you read any of Malinda Lo’s books? (If you haven’t, you should. Definitely.) If so, what was your opinion of them?
Be sure to check out the other My Hero Monday link-up posts!
nevillegirl @ Musings From Neville’s Navel