I fell in love with the song “This is Me” from “The Greatest Showman”. It would stand to reason as I’ve been different all my life–and not always been as someone to be seen. Now, being different in this world is starting to be an asset rather than a liability. I’ve written many things (some published or archived) in 42 years of life–and I’m only 45–and only now when I became the Elvenking of Mirkwood was I seen.
For a short, shy Midwestern girl and a person of color, it doesn’t get any “freakish” than this–often being confused with a literary giant from England who defined an entire genre. I don’t know why that is because I write in the first person and Tolkien wrote in the third. For a time, all the readers I knew were women. Now, I’ve started to reach the coveted readership of the high fantasy genre: men.
It seemed strange at the time–especially since I started to use my full name on the recommendation of a friend in Italy (who is instrumental in keeping me focused and planning all my AMAs and Q&As). Having a girl name on a story such as this I was afraid that it would not only lose the female readers but keep the male readers away. It was a guy a little over two years ago that told me a girl has no business writing about a man (Bob Marley screenplay at that time). Rather than keep readers at bay, it seemed to bring more to the party.
Over the years, I’ve had men tell me I write men on an equilibrium–not to girly but not adverse to emotions (Heretic: The Legend of Akhenaten*). I’ve had women ask about how the relationship between Thranduil and his father works–even more than his relationship with his wife Êlúriel. I don’t know how to answer that; I just write what I feel–nearly everything from life itself.
I only keep two things consistent as I write The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy: 1) stay close to canon as possible and see what Tolkien saw and 2) find myself in the story. Writing from the point of view of four generations** of male elves (and then some: the prologue of Book I: The Epic of Eryn Galen is from the perspective of Iarûr, the chronicler of Eryn Galen/Mirkwood), I thought people wouldn’t take the work seriously coming from a girl. I know some might think I must be gay (I’m not). Some may think my name is a pseudonym to become a novelty (it isn’t). Some even thought I was Lee Pace writing a book for his character (Pace is an avid reader). It’s all me.
“I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me.”
*Heretic: The Legend of Akhenaten. Screenplay by Jaynaé Miller. ©2005
**there is a stand-alone book coming related to The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy (in first person). As yet untitled.
Nesta: The Story of the Greatest Musical Legend That Ever Lived. Screenplay by Jaynaé Miller. ©2005. WIP (work in progress).
Songwriters: Justin Paul / Benj Pasek; This Is Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.