Non-binary biology

 “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.” — Joan Didion

At the Solcana event for Reclaim on Nov. 5, we were talking about how writing helps us understand ourselves. For me, writing My Year Zero helped me articulate feelings about my gender. In the novel, the main character, Lauren, is writing a science fiction story online with friends. Her character in the story turns out not to be human-like person, but rather a self-aware community of microscopic robots (nanites) that can take any form.

That’s how I feel about my gender — and I thought that was unusual, but maybe not so much.READ MORE

My Year Zero Playlist

All of my novels have playlists, often multiple playlists if there’s more than one significant character. The playlists for MYZ are very long, but I pulled out a few key songs for Lauren and Blake so you can listen with me.


What’s the quintessential Lauren song? Probably one from Halestorm below. But in the context of this specific story, the learning and changing she’s going through, this is her song. I think she’d admit that in the novel she’s doing her “shadow work,” or at least she’d admit to it after Blake points it out for her.READ MORE

The My Year Zero cover explained

I get more input on my covers than most traditionally published authors. This is because I have a marketing background and access to an amazing graphic designer, and because my publisher is awesome. So I can actually tell you some of what went into that cover. I worked with Kristin Smith, who designed the covers for my two previous YA novels, and brought in illustrator Alexis Cooke. Alexis was particularly ideal for this project because her illustrations frequently have mental health themes in them. Go check out more of her art here, I’ll wait. READ MORE

Upcoming reading events

If you live in or near the Twin Cities, there are four chances for you to hear me read from My Year Zero in the near future. (If you live far away, I will be posting a video reading!)

Important note: there are two official launch events for My Year Zero – an open house and an after party. You are welcome at both! See below for details.READ MORE

Book research part two

Welcome to the second of my research posts, covering books that went into the making of My Year Zero (MYZ). Below you’ll find two more books about bipolar disorder, one about emotional neglect, and one about girl sex.

Should I really be talking about mental illnesses and sex in the same post? Absolutely! People with mental illnesses like sex as much as neurotypical people – and some of us are at greater risk for engaging in unsafe behavior, so leaning how to work your brain goes hand in hand with learning how to talk about safer sex.READ MORE

Bipolar disorder research highlights

In my novel, My Year Zero, one of the most important characters has bipolar disorder. Since that’s not my disorder, I set about researching it before I started drafting and throughout the editing. I read a half-dozen books, plus tons of blogs and studies. I also worked with a consultant who both has bipolar disorder and writes about it. I wanted to make sure that the character of Blake came across as realistically as possible.

Of course doing all this research, I discovered great insights and tips that I want to share. I started using some of these with my friends and myself. They work not just for bipolar disorder, but for a variety of disorders and plain old challenging day-to-day mental states.READ MORE