Free Fiction Monday: Sweet Young Things
Fala wants revenge. Revenge against Preston for ruining her life. Revenge for ruining so many other lives in the process. Preston thought she was just a sweet young thing. But Fala is not sweet. And Preston needs to learn that—the hard way.
“Sweet Young Things” by USA Today bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch is free on this website for one week only. The story’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and in other ebookstores.
Sweet Young Things
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
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Hi Kris –
This story seemed to be a bit of a genre-buster for you: would you agree? The genre/category I’m thinking of is female POV, where the goal is to address/solve the mystery or crime.
I’ve been sitting on this question for a while, but finally thought that this story was a good lead-in.
Generally, I found your protagonists were male when the story was detective- or mystery-oriented. I’m thinking of the Retrieval Artist and Smokey Dalton for longer format, though the pattern seems to continue with the Monday fictions too. I’m not claiming that I have read everything you’ve written, but I’m a diligent reader of these Monday stories, and many novels. Even the FOL story has a male narrator, but of course that works well for that specific story’s plot.
Do you have any thoughts you’d be willing to share about male or female detective protagonists? I don’t think everyone is required to write only from their own birthright point of view, as far as gender, race, nationality, etc. but it’s interesting to look for patterns with writers one respects. Do you think the choice of gender for the detective has an (important) influence on the demographics of the potential audience?
I think the gender of the detective is unimportant, Bea. I do think the detective must be interesting.
Most of my female detective stories run longer, too long for Monday free fiction, generally. I have an entire book called Five Female Sleuths, with five of my award-nominees. I write a lot of female detectives. And even though Miles Flint is the “star” of the Retrieval Artist, Noelle DeRicci has been trying to steal that series for years now. (And have you met Boss, from the Diving series yet?)
Smokey came about because my first image of him was at 10, performing at the Gone With The Wind premiere with his buddy Martin Luther King. King’s father had signed the church up to perform at that event–and the little kids were dressed as slaves (!) I’m still shocked by this. I did not imagine a ten-year-old girl there, because I was thinking of MLK.
But I have a side character from the Smokey series with a powerful story, and she’ll be a series character. (She’s in Sob Sisters and Family Affair, the short stories) I couldn’t sell that series on proposal no matter how hard I tried. Whatever problems I ran into with a black male protagonist were multiplied when the protagonist was black, female, and dealt with women’s issues. That’s why I signed onto that We Need Diverse Books campaign. Some of the things editors and members of the sales force would say to me…well, I’ve covered that ground before (although never in depth).
You can’t always see patterns because you can’t see what was bounced from traditional publishing. For example, the worst editor I ever worked with (she was in romance) told a friend of mine his protagonists couldn’t be African-American because no one will read those books. This was just a few years ago. I doubt that woman, who should have been fired a long time ago, has changed her behavior. She’s still with the same company, heading their lily white romance line. (Oh, can you sense my passion? It’s not about your question; it’s about the way that bigotry has really influenced the publishing industry.)
Of course, evil me. I sold her a romance with an African American protagonist. I just never said she was African American because race wasn’t what the story was about. Because the story has magic, she’s over 100 years old. I described her, her beautiful dark skin, the fact that she was once barred from the neighborhood where she now lives–and that the only person of color who lived in that neighborhood was Nat King Cole. I mentioned that people in that neighborhood in the 1950s thought she was a housemaid. That bigoted editor never caught a clue, and would probably be appalled that she published an interracial romance without even knowing it. 🙂
Long sideways answer, but I think you get my point. 🙂