True Colorz is your web source for all things YA in the LGBTQ community! Our blog features new releases, featured authors, interviews, and reviews/recommended reading.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Featured Author & Giveaway: Andrew J. Peters

Andrew J. Peters likes retold stories with a subversive twist. He is the author of The Seventh Pleiade, based on the legend of Atlantis, and the Werecat series. A former Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow, Andrew has written short fiction for many publications. He lives in New York City with his husband and their cat Chloƫ.

Connect with Andrew J. Peters on Twitter @ayjayp or visit his website:

Q&A with Author Andrew J. Peters:

  1. Tell us about your cover design. Is there any symbolism from the story reflected in the cover?

    I’m really happy with the cover for The Seventh Pleiade. I think it represents really well the setting for the story, which is the last days of Atlantis.

    The artwork also hints at the title. The Pleiades are a star cluster that were important in Greek mythology. They were the seven daughters of the titan god Atlas, and an interesting phenomenon is that the seventh star was not always visible to the naked eye depending on the season and other conditions. That made it seem like a disappearing or reappearing star, which inspired legends and auguries.

    In my novel, the seventh star appears mysteriously while Atlantis is in crisis. Part of the adventure for the hero – a sixteen year old named Aerander – is solving a riddle about her (the star’s) re-appearance, which he believes is the key to saving his kingdom.

  2. In what way is your story unique compared to other books in this genre?

    The Seventh Pleiade is a combination of fantasy adventure and gay fiction. There is a rich tradition of Greek mythology-inspired stories. David Gemmell is one of the best known authors in that genre, and Rick Riordan has a huge franchise in the Percy Jackson series. I think The Seventh Pleiade stands out in that field because it takes mythology from a gay point-of-view.

    As gay fiction, The Seventh Pleiade is unique in that I tried to stay authentic to an ancient world sensibility. There was no such thing as being “gay” back then, but there certainly were young men who had romantic relationships with other men. There wasn’t the concept of sin or abomination regarding those relationships, but the Greeks held traditional beliefs about the way men and women were supposed to behave. It was still a very sexist and patriarchal culture. Besides the adventure aspect of the story, I wanted to explore what it would be like growing up during that time for a young man who is attracted to other men.

  3. Do you believe in Atlantis?

    Part of me would like to believe that the ancient legend was real, but in the end I’m too much of a science guy to really believe it. What interested me in the subject was it was such a popular legend across the ancient world, from the specific story of the ancient Greeks to the flood and creation legends of the Bible and Native cultures. There’s an intriguing coincidence that rapid climate change occurred around the time that Atlantis was rumored to have been destroyed; so it’s possible that a flood or earthquake or volcanic eruption wiped out a pre-historic civilization and that story was passed down through generations and the circumstances and their meaning were embellished.

    That’s actually what intrigues me about Atlantis the most: how and why the story came to be. I’m drawn to the idea that if Atlantis existed, it must have been inhabited by regular people whose stories were either exaggerated, making them out to be gods, or suppressed. I do have a bit of a conspiracy streak.

  4. What did you like to read when you were a teenager?

    I grew up before young adult literature really took off so I was reading adult books. I loved mysteries and read everything by Agatha Christie. I read J.D. Salinger, F. Scott Fitzgerald and I also loved Russian novels by Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy.

    When I was taking my first steps coming out, I looked for stories with gay characters. In the 80s those tended to be gritty, subculture books by authors like William S. Burroughs and Paul T. Rogers.

  5. What other interests do you have outside of writing?

    I like to cook, especially baking. I grew up playing the cello and the piano, though my talent there has faded considerably over time. Social justice is an on-going interest of mine. I work at a university, and one of the favorite parts of my job is teaching a course on oppression and human diversity.

  6. Is there any LGBT charity or resource that is near and dear to you that you would like to give a shout out to?

    Absolutely! The Long Island Crisis Center is a not-for-profit in Bellmore, New York that is doing amazing work for LGBT teens through their Pride for Youth program. I had the great fortune of doing an internship there in the 90s, and it turned into an eighteen year career as a social worker for LGBT kids. Now, I’m a supporter of the organization. There’s a huge need for resources for LGBT teens in the suburbs.

  7. What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?

    For any readers of my books, my greatest hope is that they feel it was time well-spent, whether that means the book allowed them to escape for a little while, be entertained, or that they liked the story because it made them think about the world in a different way.

    I do have young readers in mind when I’m writing. I worked with LGBT teens for almost twenty years. For LGBTs, it often feels like everything around you is catered to people who are different from you. My hope for young readers in particular is that the places I write about seem like somewhere that they would fit in. I love turning a familiar story around from an LGBT point-of-view.

Now Available from Andrew J. Peters:

The Seventh Pleiade Atlantis is besieged by violent storms, tremors, and a barbarian army. For sixteen-year old Aerander, it’s a calamitous backdrop to his Panegyris, where boys are feted for their passage to manhood.

Amid a secret web of romances among the celebrants, Aerander’s cousin Dam goes missing with two boys. With the kingdom in crisis, no one suspects the High Priest Zazamoukh though Aerander uncovers a conspiracy to barter boys for dark spiritual power. Aerander’s proof — an underground vault that disappears in the morning — brings shame on his family and suspicions of lunacy. The only way to regain his honor is to prove what really happened to the missing boys.

Tracking Dam leads Aerander on a terrifying and fantastical journey. He spots a star that hasn’t been seen for centuries. He uncovers a legend about an ancient race of men who hid below the earth. And traveling to an underground world, he learns about matters even more urgent than the missing boys. The world aboveground is changing, and he will have to clear a path for the kingdom’s survival.

The Seventh Pleiade Giveaway!

Andrew J. Peters has generously donated a free copy of The Seventh Pleiade for one lucky winner. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below along with your email address. A winner will be chosen on DATE.


  1. This sounds like my type of story so please put my name into the hat. Thanks

  2. sounds awesome!
    please enter me

  3. I really like the cover. Please count me in, thanks!


  4. Sounds like an interesting story and would love to read it!

  5. Great interview. Sounds like a great book.. Please count me in.

  6. What a wonderful interview, especially the background of the author and how that translates into the focus of the book. TSP sounds like a wonderful adventure story and a great read for youth and adults. Thanks for the chance to win!

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

  7. Thanks to all who have commented. I've just drawn a winner and the giveaway contest is now CLOSED. The winner is:

    #2 Lee Todd