I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. I dozed my way through the public school system, and went on to Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where things were quite a bit more challenging. After a not-short-enough stint in the “real world”, including a miserable corporate gig that resulted in nothing more useful than understanding the Six Sigma jokes on 30 Rock, I went back to school at University of Texas- Pan American for my MFA in Creative Writing. There, I met my DFR co-editor, who, after our first class together, wrapped her arms around me, and told me I was her new best friend and I would never be rid of her. This has proven to be true.
Being half-Mexican, growing up in a border town, the edges of things interest me. There’s something special about the place where two different things meet and become something more.
I’m looking for new stories. As a Hispanic woman, a fresh story can be as simple as having a protagonist who is a well-written female of color. If your fantasy setting looks an awful lot like medieval England, I’m probably going to be at least a little bored. (Spare me the pleas of quasi-historic accuracy. If I can bring myself to believe in wizards, trust me to be able to believe in characters of color who aren’t stereotypes.) The same is true if your futuristic heavily Chinese-influenced world is devoid of all Asian people.
I want stories that aren’t dependent on their settings. If I take away the wands, will your whole story fall apart?
I want characters who can fail. If there is no chance for failure then why am I still reading? But please, don’t go killing everyone off just to prove you can. I’m not opposed to happy endings, but they should mean something.
Fairy tale retellings should be more than a retelling. If I only figure out days later that it was a Cinderella story, that’s good. If I work it out right away I will spend the whole story looking for familiar markers and trying to see how fast I can work things out. (This also applies to the Arthur mythos, and all religious myths. Also, zombies, werewolves, and vampires.) If you’re telling an old story, you’d better do it impressively. These stories have been retold for centuries, so you’ve got stiff competition. Take a cursory look at the tradition you’re working in before you take the plunge.
So here are some people and things I like: Neil Gaiman, Sir Terry Pratchett, Octavia Butler, Futurama, Lolita, Douglas Adams, Something*Positive, Girls With Slingshots, Questionable Content, Girl Genius, Shadow Unit, Ellen Datlow, and, quite often, the stories at Strange Horizons. I don’t want to just see more of the same, I want to find the next addition to this list.