* According to your author bio, you identify as trans and utilise gender neutral pronouns (their/them). How has your own life experience and identity influenced your writing?
I've been an avid reader my whole life, but characters with whom I could connect fully have always been few and far between. One of the reasons I started writing is to create stories that have queer and trans characters at the center, but aren't focused on gender or sexuality. I want action adventure stories with characters that truly resonate, and creating those stories has given me so much joy. I've made so many connections with youth and adults who feel the same way I do, that queer and trans stories deserve more than they're often given- as side characters or tokens, or solely defined by their gender/sexuality. Going through many different iterations of understanding my own sexuality and gender identity has allowed me to flesh out different experiences more fully, and the people I've met along my own journey have also heavily influenced my own writing. We all deserve to see ourselves as heroes, and more importantly, to be seen as heroes by others.
* If you could re-make any Disney movie to include more gender and sexual diversity, which one would it be?
MULAN, I'm still bitter that she's not officially genderqueer with her delightful pan boyfriend. It's so clear to me that this story deserved more depth and care for queer identities, and it would have been so important to young trans, gq and fluid people to see such an iconic character openly identify as not cis.
* You have a series coming out soon, the Psionics. Who is your favourite character in this series? Why?
My favorite character in any series I've written is in this series! His name is Leaf and he's a pansexual transguy who makes his living as a trickster conman. He avoids fights at all costs, which makes me laugh, because I'm a martial artist and usually warrior characters are my favorites, but Leaf trumps all my tough guys by miles. He's sweet, witty, super quick and with a cutting sense of humor. He's just the best! Right now I'm actually working on a companion short story where he's the protagonist, and I'm having so much fun! His mission is to break an unknown spy out of jail, but first he has to get in... by getting arrested. While he's a major character in books 1, 3 and 4 of the Psionics, he's not a POV character, so getting to explore him more deeply is really satisfying. It's definitely going to inform my edits! He's loosely based on a dude I met while backpacking in Australia, but I like my fictional version much better.
* Tell us about Warp Weavers. What inspired a story about teens with super powers?
I love superpowers, I always have done. I've always been fascinated by the with-great-power paradigm. Warp Weavers deals a lot with what it means to be chosen as a hero, what if you don't want that burden? My protagonist for the first story in that series just wants to get her missing parents back and move on with her life, but that's not the way magic works in this universe. Once you're chosen, there's no backing out. To be honest, I think the main inspiration behind this series was the closing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The idea of thousands of superpowered teens working together, making friends and fighting evil side by side, has always appealed to me. I'm a sucker for a found family. In the Warp Weavers universe, the magic comes in three strains- there are warriors, (you can probably guess what they can do), warlocks, who work magic to support their team, and finally, weavers. Weavers have the power to sense rifts between dimensions, as well as open and close those magical doorways. They're a key part in the fight against the encroaching demonic armies, as without them the doors would stay open forever, and we'd all be overrun and enslaved.
* How do you choose your character names when writing fiction?
Ha, I'm not sure I should answer this question. Most of my characters are named after students! I'm a teacher, and that provides a lot of name inspiration. I try really hard to not base characters on my students though, just pinch their names. Working in Vancouver is especially good for this because we have such a vibrantly diverse community I'll never end up with five main characters with similar names.
* If you could have dinner with two of your own characters in real life, who would you choose and why?
Leaf, my amazing conman as mentioned above, and Dent. Dent is actually Leaf's adopted father, but when he's not rescuing dozens of kids from poverty, he's actually the King of the Slums. He's a smuggler, land pirate and all around swashbuckler who loves playing tricks, having fun, and making sure everyone is well fed. I think having dinner with these two would be a barrel of laughs, although I'd probably leave without my wallet, cell phone and jewelry. I wouldn't put it past them to be able to get my lip rings out without me even noticing. I consider that to be a small price to pay, though, as I'm sure that the hilarity would be well worth it.
* Coffee or tea?
Why do people try to enforce false binaries?! :D I drink both. Usually tea on weekdays, both before and after work while coffee is more of a nice weekend treat. I have ADD and caffeine hits me pretty hard, so it's nice to have time to work off the extra buzz before having to function in public on the weekend.
* Can you tell us about the BRAVE NEW GIRLS anthology? I understand you have a story featured in Volume 3.
It's an awesome project that is a collection of YA short stories all starring girls (trans inclusive!) who use science, tech, engineering or math skills to save the day. http://bravenewgirls.weebly.com/ you can find out more here if you like! My new story is about a trans lesbian mechanic who lives on Io (one of Jupiter's moons) and accidentally ends up embroiled with some outlaws because of a cute girl.