Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Erica Cameron | Characters: Building Them Up and Breaking Them Down
Author Guest / November 1, 2019

I love worldbuilding. It’s fun, the best kind of neverending logic puzzle, and it’s easy for me to spend days or months layering details onto a burgeoning universe. Nobody wants to read what amounts to a history book about a fictional world, though. No matter how intricate and interesting the worldbuilding is, it’s the people who populate it who are going to be the tethers that pull readers across a landscape. I’m not one of those authors who knows everything about a character down to their blood type before I put words on pages. In fact, often the non-physical truths (i.e. things other than height, age, eye color, etc) I know about a character when I start writing can be listed on one hand. I treat characters like strangers I’m meeting for the first time, and I write partially to unveil the core of an individual. For me, worldbuilding is layering up. Building characters, though, is more a process of stripping down. Everyone has a core of principles, beliefs, motivations, and needs. Sometimes (okay, rarely) these are all in easy alignment and sometimes they’re diametrically opposed, but no matter what, the core of a person is what drives everything they…

Erica Cameron | Why Fantasy?
Author Guest / November 8, 2018

One question I get asked the most is, “Why of all the genres did you choose to write a fantasy series?” I have always loved the fantastical. Epic adventures captured my imagination. Impossible magic enthralled me. Dragons, mermaids, fairies, and monsters thrilled every time I met them. One of my earliest book-specific memories is my father reading The Hobbit to me and my younger sister chapter by chapter every night, beginning to end. Twice. My first favorite author—at least the first I discovered for myself—was Tamora Pierce who gave children of the 80s and 90s female knights, demigods, and heroes, and from her, I branched deeper into the science fiction and fantasy section of the library and the bookstore. It was basically a given that when I committed myself to write a book, I wanted to create a fantasy world. It took me about fifteen years between the first attempt and first published fantasy novel. It took me a little longer than that to truly understand all the reasons why writing the book was so hard as well as why I loved fantasy for far more than the layer of magic on its surface. Speculative fiction—which includes fantasy, science fiction,…

Erica Cameron | The Top 5 Reasons MOGAI Characters Are Needed in YA
Author Guest / December 8, 2017

More and more, stories centering on MOGAI characters have been appearing in young adult fiction, something I am exceedingly happy about. Solid, respectful, and accurate MOGAI—which stands for Marginalized Orientations, Gender Alignments, and Intersex—representation is incredibly important, and here are five reasons why. Fiction should be a reflection of the world both as it is and as it could be. It’s not yet a universal facet of literature, though. Readers have been subconsciously trained by books and society to apply a “default” description to characters, so much so that unless an author takes special care to describe and define each person’s characteristics—whether that’s race, orientation, religion, ethnicity, or other—we assume they’re a white, heterosexual, Christian, able-bodied individual. Contemporary and historical novels can so easily incorporate the truth about the existence of people of color or those on the MOGAI spectrum. Fantasy and science-fiction worlds are capable of showing us what humanity could look like if it released its prejudices fell away. If books began to reflect the truly beautiful diversity of the world we live in, this “default” would begin to break down. Or we can hope it would help this happen over time, at least. Many teenagers are searching…