Friday, 15 July 2016

Blog Tour: Who's Afraid? by Maria Lewis [Guest Post]


When I got the chance to take part in the blog tour for Who's Afraid? I did not hesitate. Promoted as a 'fresh, new urban fantasy for fans of Darynda Jones, Patricia Briggs and Keri Arthur' I knew I had to give Who's Afraid? a chance. On writing this post I am half way through the book and I'm really enjoying it.

As part of the blog tour I have the author, Maria Lewis, on the blog talking about how representation matters in genre.

Guest Post by Maria Lewis

Representation matters. It’s something people of colour universally understand and something others take for granted. The power of growing up and seeing a version of yourself reflected back off the screen or pages of a novel is immeasurable. And although we’re now finally starting to see casts that reflect the diversity of the world as it is out there everyday in mainstream pop culture, representation in genre has been a long time coming.

It’s a difficult thing to communicate, that sense of isolation you experience growing up as a kid from a racial background and a lover of genre – you devour the movies and the TV shows and the fiction and the comics – yet you never see yourself reflected. You never see someone like you on the page or the screen and what you’re being told, indirectly or not, is that your story is not worth telling. You don’t get to be the hero. You don’t get to go on that journey. The importance of having characters that aren’t just a sea of blinding, piercing whiteness seems as obvious as Gina Tores being the perfect choice for Wonder Woman. It’s reflective of the world which isn’t a unanimous shade of hetero life mates, it’s shades of black and brown and tan and yeah, mocha. To quote Jay Z: “Marilyn Monroe, she's quite nice, but why all the pretty icons always all white?”

Fictional characters of colour within genre have real power that can be felt, sometimes decades after they first appeared. We’ve all heard the story of Whoopi Goldberg as a child seeing Nichelle Nichols play Uhura on Star Trek and shouting to her family “I just saw a black woman on TV and she ain’t no maid!” She was arguably coloured womens First Lady Of Sci-Fi – and rightly so. Mulan – voiced by real-life bad-ass Ming-Na Wen – gave a generation of Disney Princess-loving girls a character who looked like them and was the heroine, was the sole driver of story and plot, was a woman with agency and flaws. More recently John Boyega’s portrayal of Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens has invoked a fan response so feverish the mere sight of a kid holding a doll of his character will have you sniffling [link to instagram]. Shut up, no you’re crying man. I’m fine, it’s just raining on my face.

For legions of non-white genre lovers growing up there’s now more Zoe Washburnes, more Poes, more Rues, more Orora Monroes, more Antasicia Duallas, more John Luthers, more Blades, more Mercy Thompsons, more Michonnes, more O-Ren Ishiis, more Attack The Blocks, more Ardelia Mapps, more Black Panthers, more Princess Tianas, more Sulus, more Luke Cages, more Miss America Chavez, more Abbie Mills, more John Stewarts, more Hamiltons, more Olivia Popes, more Amanda Wallers, more Diggles, more Jubilees, more Cyborgs and more God damn diversity than ever before. The trickle down effect of that is people feel represented because, well, they actually are. In Australia, we’ve seen the amalgamation of Indigenous myths and legends combined with classic genre storytelling in one of the most unique and acclaimed TV series to come out of Down Under in forever – Cleverman. It’s the brainchild of Aboriginal creative Ryan Griffen who – after a lifelong love of superheroes and pop culture – wanted to create a superhero of and for his people [link to Guardian article]. Out of neccessity, there’s now a generation of Aussie kids and teens and adults who won’t have to wonder what it would be like to have an Aboriginal hero in the genre stories they consume: that will be a reality. That time is coming too for Polynesian women with Disney’s Moana and African American geek girls who will get an ass-kicking warrior Goddess in Tessa Thompson who’s playing Marvel stalwart Valkyrie in Thor 3.

If we can have worlds with dragons and spaceships, we can have ones that are reflective of the 1000 different possibilities we see out there on the street every day. We can have genre novels and comics and films and TV series where people of colour are represented across the spectrum of character types: from heroes and heroines, all the way through to complex villains and villainesses rich with imperfections. Because at the end of the end day, representation matters. It’s vital to telling human stories and to populating unreal worlds with a little bit of reality.



Incredibly exciting new voice in paranormal fiction.

This is the story of Tommi, a young Scottish woman living an ordinary life, who stumbles violently into her birthright as the world's most powerful werewolf. The sudden appearance of a dark, mysterious (and very attractive) guardian further confuses her as her powers begin to develop and she begins to understand that her life can never be the same again.

The reader will be swept up in Tommi's journey as she's thrown into the middle of a centuries-old battle and a world peopled with expert warriors and vicious enemies - this is the start of a series - and a world - you will fall in love with.



Maria Lewis is a journalist and author based in Sydney, Australia. Getting her start as a police and crime reporter at a local newspaper, Maria soon transitioned into writing about film and entertainment for publications such as The Daily Mail, New York Post, The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Empire magazine, Penthouse, Junkee, WHO Weekly, Huffington Post and many more. A journalist for over a decade, she also regularly appears as a pop culture commentator on television and radio and currently works on news program The Feed weeknights on SBS. She’s the host and producer of the Eff Yeah Film & Feminism podcast. Her debut novel - urban fantasy series Who’s Afraid? - was released in January, 2016 in Australia through Hachette and worldwide on July 14, 2016 through Little Brown Books and Piatkus Fiction.
She can be found tweeting too much at @MovieMazz, on Facebook at Maria Lewis Writer, Instagram, Tumblr and online at marialewis.com.au.

1 comment:

  1. oh this sounds fantastic!!! Hope you are enjoying it.

    Shubba @ Wee Shubba's World.

    ReplyDelete

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