We're celebrating GLBT Book Month with highlights, features, and interviews from our LGBTQ authors and books. Today's featured book is UPON BROKEN WINGS by E.L. Reedy and A.M. Wade. Please welcome the authors as they interview Casey, a character from the book!
Casey - Good evening! Good day! Whatever it may be, wherever you may be. My name is Casey, I’m fourteen years old, and having a great time sitting here at Evernight Teen with E. L. Reedy and A. M. Wade, co-authors of Upon Broken Wings, the GLBT YA novel that’s been the talk of the web. I must say, considering I was in it, it's a pretty dark story. Did it really have to be?
E. L. Reedy - Absolutely. Casey, as has been often said since the first word was scratched on the first piece of papyrus--you cannot have light without darkness. No love without hate or fear. More importantly, there can be no resolution without a struggle--or it means nothing. And also, we wanted to put the reader in the minds of our heroes and those who love them and even the touch upon what drives the villains. One of our reasons for writing Upon Broken Wingswas to show those who might be hiding in a secret pit of despair--those considering ending it--that all it achieves is spreading unimaginable pain and sorrow for those left behind.
A. M. Wade - You teens--see life differently from the views of children or adults. The so-called "teen angst" is a very real struggle for youth struggling with their sexual and human identity. Fear of judgment and being abandoned if their real identity is revealed to their peers and loved ones Bullying, abuse, suicide, none of these are ‘light’ subjects. Suicide is one of the biggest dangers to teens, more so to those in the Autistic Spectrum, those society has tagged as GLBT, or those who are in anyway different from the acceptable norms.
Casey - Wow. I get it now. And guess what? You gave away my next question… Why did you write Upon Broken Wings? In other words, what did you hope to achieve?
E. L. Reedy - I’ll handle the why. In the beginning, the first draft of the story, was written from the real-life point of view of someone who lost a long-time family friend in a very tragic way. It was great! Wonderful! A work of art! Nope! Not really. It was as big a mess as I was in those dark days. It was an exploration of what drove people to such an extreme ending of their lives. In essence, I wrote it to escape from that pain. But that was so long ago. In a time so far away.
A. M. Wade - When we started the rewrites, we realized our novel had to be more than just an escape. Much more! We wanted to show the world the pain everyone involved suffers. The possible causes or reasons people would choose such an ending. The possible repercussions of such dark actions. We also wanted people to realize that if we open our eyes to the world around us, we would see that there is always hope if we’re willing to reach out. In a phrase, we wanted to save lives. If we sell only one copy of Upon Broken Wingsand our story saves just one life, the years of writing and rewriting will have been worth it.
Casey - Hope you save a million! So, for my next question...Why gay main characters? Why bring up autism, or Asperger's Syndrome?
E. L. Reedy - As they say, “write what you know.” I grew up in a Christian family during the 70s and 80s. It was a rough time. I knew by kindergarten that I was somehow fabulous and when I was about ten or so, I realized why. Yes, I used some of my personal experiences and feelings from those days and poured them still molten hot all these years later into our novel.
A. M. Wade - Re: Autism. Going back to “write what you know.” We have friends and family living in the spectrum. Their lives are one epic challenge, not only for them, but for everyone involved in their lives. But it’s an adventure we would never want to miss. And other than making the lives of those in the Spectrum easier, we would never change a thing. And for story purposes, as an author, you give your heroes a journey and all along the way, you must throw stones at them. In Upon Broken Wings, we chose boulders.
Casey - Did you ever! So enough of the dark and dreary. Tell us how you incorporated ‘hope’ in our story.
E. L. Reedy - Hope comes in many forms. Probably our most obvious form was in the selection of you Casey, as our narrator, or POV. If a seven-year-old witness to tragedy can survive, we all can. And I won’t even go into how many rewrites it took to discover you. Casey, a fourteen-year-old boy, younger brother of one of our heroes, telling our tale from the memories of your seventh year, with a little help from some angelic spirits.
A. M. Wade - There is more to it of course. One of our messages in Upon Broken Wingsis that we should always ‘take a second look’, a ‘closer look’ at things, especially when making major decisions. We dare readers to step out of their safe place and make a new friend, or at least get to know the people around them. With all the political and religious angst sweeping through the world, what greater hope can there be than in expanding our worlds?
Casey - Definitely not the run-of-the-mill story, that’s for sure! I see you had quite the list on your dedications page… Anyone else you’d like to mention?
A. M. Wade - My husband and our six kids (several of them fuzzy of course). Other friends and family perhaps, our fans and reviewers, who have given us a bit of the hope we are trying to spread.
E. L. Reedy - I’d like to send out a personal thanks to four people. Sasha Hibbs, a fellow E.T. writer who was there when my head was stuck… well you get the gist. Stacey Adderly, at , who after many rejections, gave us a shot and published Upon Broken Wings. Jay Aheer, from , who gave us a masterpiece cover. And lastly, our editor, CA Clauson, who not only helped us to refine our story with corrections and rewrites, but also for telling us during the most important parts of the story “when it was finally time to hold back.”
Casey - Thanks so much both of you. It's been wonderful and eye opening. Signing off from Evernight Teen so I can get back to my own story. Have a great night!
Find Upon Broken Wings here:
E.L. Reedy was born and raised in Iowa, where he devoured tomes of fantasy, sci-fi, and young adult novels as a child. In his free time, he is an avid gamer (D&D and Pathfinder). He has traveled the world as a soldier in the U.S. Army, and now lives in Iowa, where with his writing partner, he continues to pen works in the realms of Fantasy and Horror in the Young Adult Universe.
A.M. Wade - As the only girl in a family with five boys, she readily escaped into fantasy, sci-fi, and other fiction novels. Having traveled through most of the US, she enjoys using scenery and characteristics of the different states in the story adventures she created for the little ones in her family. Now, she writes sci-fi, fantasy and horror with a lifelong co-conspirator.