“Why Are You Here?”: A Guest Post by YA Author Sarah Nicolas

October 25, 2015 Reviews 3

sarah nicolas

Hi everyone! We only have a couple more days left of #RSRDiversityMonth and today we have author Sarah Nicolas discussing her personal experience, including her experience on diversity panels. Hope you all enjoy!

About the Book

Dragons Are People, TooDragons Are People, Too by Sarah Nicolas
Released on April 28th 2015
Add it on Goodreads!

Never judge a dragon
by her human cover…

Sixteen-year-old Kitty Lung has everyone convinced she’s a normal teen—not a secret government operative, not the one charged with protecting the president’s son, and certainly not a were-dragon. The only one she trusts with the truth is her best friend—and secret crush—the über-hot Bulisani Mathe.

Then a junior operative breaks Rule Number One by changing into his dragon form in public—on Kitty’s watch—and suddenly, the world knows. About dragons. About the Draconic Intelligence Command (DIC) Kitty works for. About Kitty herself.

Now the government is hunting down and incarcerating dragons to stop a public panic, and a new shape-shifting enemy has kidnapped the president’s son. Kitty and Bulisani are the last free dragons, wanted by both their allies and their enemies. If they can’t rescue the president’s son and liberate their fellow dragons before getting caught themselves, dragons might never live free again.


About the Author

sarah-DAPT-authorphotoSarah is a 30-something YA author who currently lives in Orlando, FL. She believes that some boys are worth trusting, all girls have power, and dragons are people too.

She’s a proud member of the Gator Nation and has a BS in Mechanical Engineering, but has switched careers entirely. She now works as an Event Coordinator for a County Library. She also blogs at YAtopia.

Website: www.sarahnicolas.com/Twitter: www.twitter.com/sarah_nicolas

Why are you here? By Sarah Nicolas

I’m a white-passing, currently straight-passing, usually neurotypical-passing, healthy-looking cisgender extrovert who is frequently invited to discuss diversity at both genre cons and writing conferences. This always throws people for a loop. (Honestly, usually it’s the fact that I’m an extrovert who is both an engineer and a writer – two occupations seemingly overrun with introverts – that they can’t get past.)

“Why are you here?”

I’ve been asked this before/during every diversity panel I’ve ever sat on and every diversity-promoting event I’ve ever attended. Personally, I enjoy shattering stereotypes and expectations, but having to start out defending my “relevance” takes time away from the real conversation.

“Why are you here?”

It’s funny that I also get asked this same question when I sit on panels at genre-cons discussing Marvel vs. DC, Star Trek, Firefly, Star Wars, etc where I am the only woman in the room. I often have to prove I’m a “real fan” before my opinion can be considered. The men never get asked this question. Recently, I sat in on a panel discussing the DC movie and television properties. There was one other woman in the room. I listened. 45 minutes of conversation and not one single person in the audience or panel named a character who wasn’t a straight white cis male.

“Why are you here?”

My boyfriend is a (devastatingly-handsome) brown-skinned man with an accent and a politically-charged name. He’s also an American Citizen. Being with him has thrown my privilege into stark contrast. When he gets asked this question, there are potential consequences to his answer. In many places, he can’t simply be “out for a walk” or “going to the store.” He puts dinner reservations and to-go orders under my name.

“Why are you here?”

Writers frequently have to defend a character who is POC or LGBT when the story is not about their otherness. Sometimes, authors get asked to change the character so that readers can “better identify” with them. My main character Kitty is Chinese because she’s a Chinese dragon, but I am always asked why I decided to make the male character, Sani, black. The real answer? I saw a picture of a dark-skinned man and thought he was super hot so I wanted to write him.

“Why are you here?”

Because I am.

I’m a bipolar, bisexual, OCPD-suffering feminine extrovert with a disabling chronic immune disorder whose biggest slice of DNA is blackfoot (from the Siksika tribe, if you’re wondering). I’m also a reader, a writer, an engineer, an aunt, a volleyball player, a superfan, a wine enthusiast, a sorority girl, and a hardcore geek. I’m not an anomaly. I’m not a token. I’m a person.

And I am here.

I exist.

That’s what people who call the recent diversity-in-media movement “pandering” or “political correctness” don’t get. Positive representation simply involves portraying our fictional worlds in a way that reflects our actual world.

We are here. We’ve always been here. And it’s time we’re seen.

What did you think of this post? Have you read Dragons Are People, Too? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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3 Responses to ““Why Are You Here?”: A Guest Post by YA Author Sarah Nicolas”

  1. Samantha

    This is great! So true. I know sometimes I ask that same question, “why are you here?” or why/how does this person get to talk about diversity, etc. but that just makes me question my own thought process and stereotyping tendencies.

    The “why are you here?” question reminds me sometimes of the ‘otherness’ factor that we find often here in the states. If you don’t look like the mainstream American, you’re automatically assumed to be from somewhere else, despite the reality that American citizens come from many different places or the fact that people’s families have been here for generations.

    Thank you so much for sharing, Sarah!

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