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, June 9, 2014

Featured Author & Giveaway: Skye Allen

Skye Allen has had short fiction published in Toasted Cheese Literary Journal and Of Dragons and Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds and poetry in Insomnia and Sinister Wisdom. She works as a singing teacher and occasionally performs Irish music around the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her wife, two cats, and four chickens. Pretty Peg is her first novel.

Connect with Skye Allen on Twitter @eppiemorrie or visit her website:

Q&A with Author Skye Allen:

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

    The obvious answer is that the hero is a girl-loving girl! I love all the YA fantasy novels with strong teenage girls in the lead, but most of them are straight. I really wanted to see someone like Josy in the kind of book I love – a fast, emotional adventure where the magical world meets the familiar world.

    Beyond that, though, Pretty Peg goes into some heavy topics. The plot was inspired by a traditional Scottish song called “The Bonnie Banks o’ Fordie,” which is about incest. I’ve always been fascinated by the way the three sisters in the song handle the situation, and how the youngest sister seems fearless and heartbroken at the same time. One thing I love about YA is the freedom to go deep into the gnarliest places in the psyche and to confront some of the biggest horrors we live with -- whether they take the form of vampires or werewolves, or of other humans in a position to do harm.

  2. Which of your characters is most like you?

    I’m definitely in everyone in the book. I’m just as snarky (and as secretly vulnerable) as Josy, I get just as distracted by a good music practice session as Laura, and I’m just as much of a rule-follower as Neil. But I share the most real-life history and articles of faith with Margaret. I spent a long time believing that working for social change would help me hush the demons in my head – it did, and still does. But I’ve also learned that you still have to take on your demons face-to-face and find a way to coexist, which Margaret never got the chance to do.

  3. How do you research for your books?

    I have a whole shelf of books about the U.S. war with Afghanistan that I collected to help me navigate Margaret’s story. And even though I’ve lived in Oakland, I had to consult my wife (who was born in the East Bay) about some local geography I wanted to keep intact. I did change some parts of the map where the story needed it. I also relied on my brilliant, talented teenage voice students for authentic dialog and fashion!

  4. Do you have a nervous habit when writing?  A guilty pleasure when writing?  

    Caffeine. Definitely caffeine. I wrote the first draft of Pretty Peg for NaNoWriMo, and it was All! Coffee! All! The! Time! I was working full-time in a stressful admin assistant job and I wrote early every morning and late every night for that one crazy month. Now I try to rely more on green tea for my writing binges. I also have a weird problem where I can’t listen to music with lyrics when I’m writing, not even in a language I don’t speak. I’m a singer, and I get too distracted by vocal music. I have a 3-hour playlist that’s mostly artists like Django Reinhardt, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Yo-Yo Ma – fantastic music that I could never play myself.

  5. Are there any LGBT charities or resources that are near and dear to you that you would like to give a shout out to?

    I’m really moved by the work of Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco. They work with homeless teens, many of whom are LGBTQ+. They’ve offered respect and the beginnings of stability to a lot of kids who had no place else to turn over the years.

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

    That you are gorgeous exactly the way you are! My main character, Josy, is plus-sized, and one of the lessons she learns is just how desirable she is. I heard Nomy Lamm say at a show once, “Fat and pretty go together like peanut butter and chocolate,” and that’s true!

Now Available from Skye Allen:

Pretty Peg High school senior Josy Grant already had plenty on her plate before she found the magic puppet theater her murdered sister left behind.  Despite Josy’s grief, the responsibility of taking care of her family falls to her, and being queer doesn’t make dealing with school any easier. Things only get worse when sexy new girl Nicky tells Josy her sister died at the hands of a mysterious figure from the Faerie Realm called the Woodcutter, and if they can’t stop him, Josy and her remaining sister will be next.

They have just days before the Woodcutter strikes again on the autumn equinox, so Josy follows Nicky into the Faerie Realm to hunt him. Along the way, she discovers Fey gifts of her own and answers to the questions that have driven the Grant family apart. Nothing comes for free when dealing with Fey, though, and those gifts and answers might come at a terrible price.

Pretty Peg Giveaway!

Skye Allen has generously donated a free copy of Pretty Peg for one lucky winner. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below along with your email address. A winner will be chosen on June 15th.

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