S.A. Starcevic has been following my blog for a while now. He contacted me to ask for a cover reveal. I asked him about the subject matter, and it turns out he has written a YA urban fantasy with a LGBT angle. Naturally, I was intrigued, so I suggested we couple that with an interview.
A YA urban fantasy with a LGBT angle is pretty unusual. What inspired you to write this book?
Is it? I never really thought about it. UNTOUCHABLE sprung up out of nowhere when I wrote the protagonist’s name: Ethan Elliot. As soon as I saw it, I instantly knew who the main character was and what the story would be about. Prior to that, though, I’d read a scientific article about how people’s sexualities are determined by their DNA. I think I was interested in superheroes at the time, and the two ideas kind of meshed. Secret identities? Genetic diversity? It all tied together. That said, I don’t want UNTOUCHABLE pigeonholed as solely LGBT fiction. There’s nothing wrong with that, obviously, but it’s genre fiction with a protagonist who happens to identify somewhere in that spectrum. That’s all.
Fair enough. What was the first thing you ever wrote?
Well, the very first short story I ever completed was in Grade 6. I think I still have it somewhere, actually. It was about the Hiroshima disaster, and it was pretty gruesome, if memory serves. The teacher I had at the time – who is super and fantastic and gets a special mention in UNTOUCHABLE’s acknowledgements – encouraged me to find my voice. When I think about how it all began, I invariably end up thinking about that story. I got an A.
Nice! I love stories of teachers who empowered the children in their care, by encouraging them to find their voice. What other writing have you done? Anything else published?
The folks over at the Literary Hatchet were kind enough to print a flash piece I wrote. It’s called RED, and it’s free to read. Oh, and I’ve been freelancing since I was 14, which was hugely important. I aspired to a deadline every week, had an assured readership and I was paid (not well) for every word I wrote. And I got to research and write about cool topics, like the history of floating real estate. Seriously.
Erm, since 14, you say? Amazing. Even if it is about floating real estate. Any hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your spare time?
I labor behind the scenes at a couple of really great magazines. Well, actually, there’s not much laboring. I’m more of an associate, really, and even that’s probably stretching it. Otherwise, Ridge, the battered-looking rescue cat with the bung foot who I was lucky enough to snap up from a local shelter demands constant attention and cuddles. (Which I’m more than willing to give.)
Aw, that’s so sweet! What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current project(s).
I’m slaving over the next book in the UNTOUCHABLE trilogy. It’s much darker and grittier, and it deals with themes that are a lot more real and personal. Otherwise, I have about a hundred different projects on the burner all at once, too many to list. UNTOUCHABLE takes precedence, naturally, because I don’t want readers to forget about Ethan and his friends in the time it takes for me to write the sequel.
Yes, that’s a problem that I can sure identify with… Who are your favorite authors and what do you love about them?
I will read everything Derek Landy writes till the day I die. I’m always scared of devouring his stuff in public, because I’ll almost certainly wind up laughing like an idiot. (There’s also the fact that he depicts a fatalistic teen romance in which the main character – a badass teenage girl who will kick vampire butt and look hot while doing it – drowns her creepy controlling love interest in the ocean. You really can’t beat that.)
Additionally, I won’t shy away from a bit of Richelle Mead… even though I still can’t stand the ending to the Dark Swan series. (Why, Eugenie, why?) And it’s worth mentioning that Rick Riordan’s refreshing first-person chronicle partly inspired Ethan’s voice.
It’s nice to read about your influences! What genres do you read mostly and what are you reading now?
I write what I read, and what I read is mostly YA with a bit of the supernatural sprinkled in. Occasionally, I’ll sojourn to the realm of NA, but YA is where it’s at. Right now, I haven’t been reading much at all. The whole getting-published thing makes it hard to just sit down and get stuck into a book – which is ironic, I suppose, but that’s life.
Are you an Indie author? If so, do you have any advice for other indie authors?
I’m a bit hazy on the word ‘indie.’ I’m with a small publisher. Does that count as indie? (laughs) No, but I guess these days even traditionally published authors have to market the heck out of their work. As I’m writing this, I’m in PR mode trying to coordinate a cover reveal. Is it weird that I love marketing? I do. Maybe even more than writing. Shh, don’t tell anyone.
Well, I, too, enjoy that aspect – especially getting to meet new people (marketing types call it networking. I call it, making new friends). Are there any sites or writing tools that you find useful and wish to recommend?
Does autocorrect count?
Sure! Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?
Ah, Bookshelf of Doom contains musings on writing, publishing and world domination. Venture there at your own peril.
What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?
Words and cats. And the internet. Oh, and the talented writers and editors (past and present) at the literary magazine where I work.
How would you like to be remembered?
As an author. Preferably a really rich one.
Choose a character from your book and tell us about them. Who inspired the character? Would you like to meet them? What would you tell them if you did?
Gravity Girl is a blonde bombshell with super strength. She’s a lot of fun to write. I even considered making her the main character at one point. I settled with giving her a scene of her own partway through UNTOUCHABLE. As for what I would tell her, well, anything I said would have to be shouted over music, because I think she would be really fun to party with. Like, she’s virtually invulnerable, so she can’t get hammered… but still.
If you had to describe a theme or thread running through your life, what would it be? What’s your life theme?
Three words: funny cat videos.
Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Where are you from?
Australia is kind of like its own planet. Except instead of moon craters and solar flares, we have fuzzy koalas and cassowaries, which kind of look like flightless pterodactyls (with a temper to match.)
Erm, I have to google that. Is it true you’ve been abducted by aliens?
shifts eyes uneasily No comment.
Yeah, they told me to keep quiet about it, too. Name your claim to fame.
As long as I’m distinguished in the eyes of fans and readers, then I don’t care about being a celebrity. I’d be happy with a really small but enthusiastic fan base.
What is the weirdest thing that’s happened to you?
Getting an email from someone saying they liked something I wrote is surreal enough, but that same person offering to publish it is just plain crazy. It really is like winning the lottery.
Nice! Which one do you prefer: Elephants or tigers?
Elephants. Definitely. Particularly baby ones. Although tigers are rather cuddly-looking, aren’t they? Just mind their teeth.
Huh. I expected you to say tigers, given your fondness for cats. If you had to live over again what would you change in your life?
Anything worth changing is something I’ve already learned from, so I’m not sure I’d want to change it. God, that sounded really pretentious, didn’t it? Never mind. Um, whale hunting. Not that I’ve hunted whales, but if I have the power to go back in time, then I think I should have the power to stop whaling.
You and me both… Where in the universe would you live if you could travel anywhere?
Wherever there’s civilized alien life. Also, oxygen. Oxygen would be nice.
Lol – yes, it kinda would.
What is UNTOUCHABLE?
Ethan Elliot is no stranger to secret identities. As an LGBT teen, he’s dealt with secrets all his life. Nevertheless, when his powers kick in and he’s whisked away to join a team of superheroes, he dons a mask of a different kind – one that sees him battling supervillains and testing his limits.
However, there’s more going on behind the scenes than capes and costumes. At the headquarters of the Protectorate, he makes unlikely friends with Gravity Girl and Element Boy. Except Element Boy might turn out to be more than just a friend, and Gravity Girl is battling demons of her own.
Ethan will discover what it means to be a hero, and must learn that even superheroes aren’t untouchable.
Who is S. A. Starcevic?
S. A. Starcevic wanted to be a superhero when he was little, but nowadays he settles for the next best thing: writing about them. UNTOUCHABLE, his superhero YA novella with an LGBT love story, is signed with Forever More Publishing. When he’s not slaving over books two and three in the trilogy, he blogs about writing, publishing and world domination at Bookshelf of Doom.
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