would happen if you were forced to suppress your gender and fulfill the
opposite role in society? This fascinating premise is the idea behind Lorie Ann
Grover’s new book
Firstborn (Blink). Lorie told us all about her novel and her
DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA?
sprang from a news
article I read concerning gendercide. I was horrified to learn that over 37
million girls are missing in China alone, due to the One Child Policy enacted
in 1980. The work of All Girls Allowed and the Global
Gendercide Advocacy and Alliance Group provided further
chilling information regarding the killing of females at birth. My anger
brought my novel to form. I wanted to write a fiction work to bring light to
gendercide while declaring the value of our daughters. The dedication of my
book is: To firstborn females, may they all be allowed to live.
YOU TELL US ABOUT THE SETTING OF THE NOVEL?
the setting is a high desert! In Western Washington it is a short trip over the
Cascades to reach high desert sun and warmth. I have gone on many writing
retreats in Eastern Washington, and our family has vacationed in high desert
areas, such as Oregon, Utah, and Arizona. I love the starkness, the curving
color and line, and the wildlife, especially, the birds.
YOU DO MUCH RESEARCH ON GENDER ROLES WHEN WRITING THIS NOVEL?
did research on cultures who assign, or declare, females to work and function
as males whenever there is a shortage of men. In various groups, these women
perform the role of men their entire lives for the benefit of their society.
That fascinated me, and I found it to be a fresh concept for my fiction. My
character wouldn’t be hiding her sex, but she and her community would be
denying its existence.
also researched ancient Sparta. There I found the practice of removing young
boys from families to send them to harsh military camps. That became the
perfect life experience to test my female, living as a declared male.
YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR MAIN CHARACTER AND THE CHALLENGES SHE FACES IN HER
COMMUNITY ATTEMPTING TO PASS AS A MALE?
is firstborn female, a first to be declared male by the oppressive, ruling
Madronians. Her father chose the declaration to avoid being forced to leave his
newborn daughter to die in the elements. All believe her femininity is removed
by the amulet she wears about her hips. Nearing puberty, Tiadone readies to
serve the community by guarding the Perimeter with her bird and other boy
patrollers. There she must exhibit all the bravery and strength of a male. She
must play the game under the harsh treatment of the rulers and the ostracism of
the other patrollers. All the while, her body is maturing and her femininity is
growing harder to suppress. She searches for religious truth, her purpose, her
identity, and her worth.
PROJECTS ARE ON THE HORIZON FOR YOU?
co-founder of Readergirlz we’ll be
planning the next Operation Teen Book Drop while keeping everyone up to date on the
latest and greatest young adult releases. Plus, as a co-founder of Readertotz I’ll continue suggesting the best board books for our youngest readers.
have several novels at different stages of the publishing process waiting to
emerge. And because of my life experience with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus,
Sjogren’s syndrome, and cancer, I’m writing an early memoir. But then, I also
enjoy writing board books! A Big Hug for Little Cub will be released
from Scholastic in the first week of January. So many projects waiting to take
flight with Firstborn!