I’m here today with Calista Lynne, whose book We Awaken publishes next week on the 14th, to talk about writing on the topic of asexuality and how she went about doing so. With the influx of LGBTQ+ books out there, We Awaken brings in the voices of two girls who find their way to each other through supernatural forces, dreams, and their journey of self-discovery.
I knew I wanted to write a book with at least one asexual lead, and I wanted them to blatantly say their sexuality and be perfectly okay with it. There has always been avoid in the literary world where asexuals belong and readers have been pretty vocal in their desire for more representation. Giving that asexual character a happy ending seemed like a requirement as well. When I began writing We Awaken I knew that asexuality existed and could explain it generally, but wasn’t an expert. So I did research.
Honestly, Google is the sole reason I am where I am today. I will drop kick any condescending old person who tries to say that the internet is detrimental to society. It has helped me so much in the writing of novels. When Google fell short, though, and I worried I’d do something offensive while writing about asexuality, I contacted individuals who were ace with pride. It was beyond refreshing! They wrote me long emails explaining how they discovered themselves and came to terms with their sexuality. Coming out stories and beautiful love tales filled my inbox.
And I realized I identified with a lot of what I was being told.
Although I’m reluctant to blatantly state my sexuality (I’m not completely sure and have spent a good chunk of my life questioning these feelings), it would appear that I fall somewhere in the ace spectrum. I’m eagerly awaiting all the writing a book about asexuality made her asexual jokes. Because no, I have never been attracted to men or women, but that doesn’t mean I want to be alone for the rest of my life. Asexuals can and do love and it’s important that people learn that.
I wrote the book I wish I had available during my puberty years. I want people to understand what asexuality is and realize that those who experience it aren’t broken. My first review stated that “Lynne doesn’t shy away from stating clearly and openly that this is the story of two girl loving asexuals falling in love. To some degree this is a coming out story, but not as much as it is a tale of self-discovery.” That’s what’s important to me. Not shying away from asexuality. It’s something to put characters who don’t experience sexual attraction into stories, but having them openly state their sexuality is what makes the entire thing validating. Hopefully more characters do this in the future.
Here is a synopsis of We Awaken:
Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.
But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.
Anyway, happy reading! And if you’re interested, I’m giving away seven copies of the book and a Barnes and Noble gift card here: Win We Awaken.