Thursday, February 18, 2010

Author Interview: Hazel Edwards, co-author of f2m; the boy within

School-leaver Skye plays guitar in her all-female Chronic Cramps band. Making her name in the punk/indie scene is easier than FTM (female to male) transitioning: from Skye to Finn, from girl to man. Uncovering genetic mysteries about family heritage tear the family apart. Trans gender identity is more than injections and surgery, it’s about acceptance. Going public, Finn sings ftm lyrics on TV. With a little help from bemused mates and family who don’t want to lose a daughter, but who love their teenager, Finn is transitioning.

What interested you in writing this novel?

I've written about 200 books, but there's no way I could have written 'f2m:theboy within' without Ryan. His experience of ftm transitioning ( although it is a novel, not autobiography) saved a mainstream writer like me, years of research. It was an equal partnership across 40 plus drafts and over a year of writing. His contribution is significant because this is the first YA fiction by a ftm(female to male) trans co-author. We've used the medical and emotional sequencing, but our story is crafted fiction. It's also Ryan's first book, so that's why our book launch last weekend was so special.

How did you two meet?

We've been family friends since he was 11 and presenting as a girl. I met Ryan again two years ago, and as a male, he looked so much happier with his life. He's now in his early thirties but our character Skye/Finn is 18, a crucial age for decisions and for documents like ID, driver's licence, passports etc.

Punk music plays a pretty big part in f2m, judging by the synopsis, so I'm guessing both of you are fans. Any favorites?

I must confess, all the punk research in our novel is due to Ryan. he's the musician, the song writer and also the IT specialist.

Do either of you relate to Skye/Finn?

We both do. This novel is a 'coming of age' for a character

How do you think f2m will impact readers, especially the LGBT community?

Because there is so little material on this gender transition topic, it's likely to impact strongly. However, we also have a mainstream readership in mind. In our project we've tried to tell a story firstly, not a piece of propaganda. And although the subject is controversial, our handling is accessible for mainstream readers. We have humour as well as facts. The book has to work as a well told , page-turner.

Did you begin your novel with a YA audience in mind?

Yes. because this is a time of crucial life decisions. I have also written a number of ot h e r novels in this area, including those based on my Antarctic expedition research.

What are your main influences as writers?

I'm an aqua readaholic ( I read in the bath) but I also enjoy audio stories or listening in the car. So I hope' f2m;the boy within' will go into the latest audio formats.

Sell your novel over Twitter?

I did my first Twitter this month, but we do have a book trailer and our websites have extra information about how we co-wrote online over Skype and email becaue we live in different countries

One book, one movie and one TV show--GO!

The fascinating aspect is that not only did we co-write 'controversial' fiction online and via Skype but that the instant response from YA bloggers and reviews online indicates new ways of using social media to review YA fiction. Book trailer, twitter, blogs, facebook images of book launch cake and cover and co-authors are moving fast.
It's been fun.

Advice for young writers?

Try lots of different formats, Write regularly. Keep an ideas book. Work with a co-creator, so you feel obliged to finish your share before you next meet. And
check out the How to write...on my website

What do you hope to convey with your work?

For the few hours of reading the book, see and feel from another's perspective.

Thanks for stopping by, and look forward to f2m; the boy within!


Co-author websites:


Simon said...

I be proud of you, sport.

You're a lovely human being, my sister. I apologise for defacing you, darling.

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