Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Twinja Book Reviews 3rd Annual Diversity Month Day One: Interview with @ckoliver_writes

Ok, so this is our 3rd go at this! We try to use this event to introduce anyone to new authors they may not know, new blogs to follow, and maybe even get some insider advice on whether writers our there are considering different publishing options from editors, or agents, or even a publisher if we can snag one!

We met this author through another ironically. We have to say this! I don't think we've met a better friend through the Twittersphere, or social media quite like him. We really can't believe it started out with just asking about book recommendations!

We look forward to his debut release "Daybreak Rising" next year, so check it out! But in the meantime, we're just gonna introduce our homie, because he's just that awesome!

Twinja Book Reviews Annual Diversity Month Day One:
C.K. Oliver

So you've been on our blog before, but for those of us just tuning in, why don't you re-introduce yourself to the blog!

Hi everyone. I'm Rin. I'm a writer that doubles as a student and professional journalist. I've got an SFF debut called DAYBREAK RISING out from Oktopus Ink in/around Summer 2016. It's got an F/F interracial romance, some government upheaval, anarchy, epic trans characters, elemental magic, and a lot more. 

When I'm not writing for leisure I'm writing for work, or doing homework. I love gaming, and play MMOs/MOBAs along with some console games on my WiiU. I recently moved to Auckland to be with my [now wife] partner Elizabeth, and am settling in to life as an expat. So far, it's going well. 
It's been a long path to get where you are, so we're curious to how you're journey has been as a writer! 

In terms of my professional career? I didn't think I'd become a journalist. I had a college professor [my all-time favorite one, mind you.] tell me I would make a great journalist, and it stuck with me.
For writing books? I have been writing since I was 7 or 8, on anything I could. Scrap paper, construction paper, anything flat and blank. When we got a computer I was enthralled. I've been writing fanfic for years on end, along with many roleplay arcs for MMOs along with my wife. When one of our arcs got too detailed, my wife put her foot down and told me to, "Stop wasting time and go write a book." So I did. The result is DAYBREAK RISING

If you want to read my horrible fanfic, you can DM me on Twitter and I might tell you my name on Ao3. Other than that, I have a portfolio online of my best pieces professionally, and I can be read in Model View Culture. My roots are fanfic and story arcs, though I eventually plan to branch out to scripting graphic novels. [spoiler alert]

What can you tell us what it was like for you growing up? 

I came out when I was 12. I'm out socially and physically, living stealth in New Zealand as a non-binary person on HRT. I am semi-out to family, though we don't discuss it much. I've been on T for about 4 months now. Without the support of my partner and the support of both our families, I wouldn't be where I am today. Growing up I had no issues, really--something I am thankful for. I didn't see trans or nonbinary people in media, and distinctly remember Xena and Gabrielle's kiss as a moment of clarity for me.  

The conversation about diversity and inclusion keeps growing, but it's often shut down by more privileged groups who don't see its importance. I don't think we can improve the situation in one day. It's almost a neverending push. But is there anything you'd like to see in regards to inclusion in books?

I would like to hear from more agender and nonbinary people that are on HRT in regards to their experiences. I'd also like to see more conversations around supporting those that are still exploring their gender identity, or may be afraid to come out. I would also like to see more F/F relationships in SFF, as there aren't very many that I'm aware of that are well done. A shift away from M/M as the be-all-end-all of 'diverse books' would be wonderful. 

Is that why you write the type of books you like? What plans do you have to diversify your genres?

I write what I write to see people like myself reflected in the media I read. I plan on diversifying SFF further, and throwing a hand into diversifying comics.  

What types of books did you consume growing up that shaped your taste as a reader and writer? Do you have a book that impacted you as a reader?

SFF. I loved all Mercedes Lackey books, though I read a lot of other fantasy titles as I got older. Anything in the Valdemar universe.

I bet no one's going to answer this positively, but we thought we'd give it a shot! Do you feel well represented in media?

Not really, it's beyond difficult to find well written F/F. Nonbinary or trans romance arcs that aren't tragic? Doubly impossible. 

What are creators not doing enough of to help the conversation?

Listening to people that have lived the things they are writing about.

Since you're expecting a release next, we have to know! Has there been a favorite character you've created so far?

Ohhhhhh wow. Tough call. I love all my characters in DAYBREAK RISING, though my favorite one in that cast is Ianthe, followed by Kayvun and Celosia. Ianthe reminds me of my wife in a few ways, so I really enjoy watching her interact with others on the pages of the book.  

So while we're on the subject of fictional characters, do you have a fictional world you'd like to live in?

I wouldn't want to live in Esonith. Not any time soon! I'd love to live in the world that SALT AND STEEL, one of my upcoming WIPs--is set in, however. 

Is there a special power you'd like to have in you were in a SFF character in a book?


 Do you have a favorite book bae or boo?

YOU TWO. <3 (hehe, aw shacks!) 

 Oh we can't wait! In the meantime, got any good book recs you know folks out there would like?

Too many. THE MARK OF NOBA, anything by Shira Glassman, Scalebright by B. Sriduangkaew, Ebenezer by JoSelle Vanderhooft, most any title by AK Lindsay, Joyce Chng's titles [of which there will be a 2016 novella debut also under Oktopus Ink!], UNDER THE LIGHTS...The list goes on. 

Since you've already on your way to a really awesome goal for writers(Being published, yay!)what kind of advice could you give to writers trying to find their voice?

Write when you can, not all the time. It's hard. If you work a lot [as many marginalized authors do] it's hard to find the energy. Don't set unrealistic goals. Do what you can with what you have. Tell your story. Someone wants to read it. Find your niche, and you'll be okay.

What sites would you recommend for those trying to educate themselves better on the conversation about diversity in books and media? 

#DiverseSFF is basically wonderful as is its creator CG. A more wonderful person you cannot find, I assure you. 

Now where can we stalk follow you!

My website, ckoliver.com--Or my twitter! If you want to read my newsletters, you can sign up at: tinyletter.com/celanthe  

C.K. Oliver a 30 year old agender, gray asexual, autistic person that works as a freelance writer. Living the dream. When not working on DAYBREAK RISING, drafting its sequel, or thinking about lesbian pirates, they're usually at the gym. They, with their wife share a lovely tortie cat named Ember. They like to cook, drink too much coffee, and should be dead from massive energy drink consumption, and enjoy all things chocolate.  


  1. Great post! The upcoming book sounds like a great read. Love the picture!

  2. @Lekeisha, thanks for taking the time to read. Rin is one of our super homies so we're glad they had time to be our first interview =D


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