Category Archives: Interviews

An Interview on YA Cafe!

Today, I was lucky enough to be interviewed on The YA Cafe podcast with Laura Moe! It was a great conversation about Island of Exiles, writing, asexuality, death rituals, speculative fiction, the popularity of dystopia, and more. Not necessarily in that order.

You can listen to the hour-long podcast here!

Thank you, Laura, for a great conversation!

I’m on LGBTQ Reads!

Today I’m featured on LGBTQ Reads! In the interview I talk about asexuality, MOGAI rep, books, writing, and more. I also compare the LGBTQ YA community to a dragon. Because of course. ?

Better Know an Author: Erica Cameron

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I was featured on the B&N Teen blog!

The wonderfully talented Michael Waters asked to interview me for a two-part feature about queer YA authors, and of course I was ecstatic and said yes! Part one of the series is out now and you can read about me, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Fox Benwell. Below is a snippet from each of our segments:

Fox Benwell is known around Twitter for his tireless queer and disability activism, his dog and cat photos, and his impeccable taste in ties. The author of The Last Leaves Falling (published under the name Sarah Benwell), he is genderfluid transmasculine and has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/fibromyalgia. Because of the marginalization he has faced, he is committed to creating safe, intersectional spaces for people like him. “It’s important to me to try to be the kind of visible role model I wish I’d always had—to do what I can to make things better for the next generation.”

For Anna-Marie McLemore, magical realism is an essential staple of both her writing and her cultural heritage. As a queer Mexican-American girl, she grew up reading the genre—she cites magical realism novels such as Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate as the reason she fell in love with literature. Now, they are the reason she writes it.

To McLemore, writing magical realism comes naturally. “[Magical realism’s] heart is the intermixing of the ordinary and the ethereal, and I fell into that easily both because it felt right for my work and because it’s where I come from. The origins of magical realism hold close the idea of culture and community, and rising out of the forces that try to hold down your culture and community. It’s a worldview that feels true to who I am and where my stories live.”

Photo Credit: Lani Woodland

Photo Credit: Lani Woodland

Erica Cameron is fighting for visibility. As an asexual author writing asexual characters, she is working to make her identity known and normalized in the public consciousness. Asexuality—describing individuals who experience little or no sexual attraction to anyone—is frequently misunderstood. Even people familiar with its definition may not fully grasp why, for example, there are asexual awareness marches.

Cameron is well aware of this. “What they don’t realize is that we’re not fighting for rights, we’re fighting for recognition,” she says.

Read the full article here!

An Interview on DiversifYA

During the RT convention in May, I was lucky enough to meet Marieke Nijkamp, one of the co-founders of the wonderful blog DiversifYA. The blog has an interview series where they invite authors to talk about their own diversity whether that’s sexual orientation, race, disability, or anything else. She asked me to answer questions about what it was like growing up on the asexual spectrum and I was thrilled. So thrilled that I may have gone a little verbose when answering the questions!

Below is a short excerpt from the interview, but you can read the whole thing on DiversifYA.

1. How do you identify yourself?

Since I didn’t discover the term “asexual” in the context of a potential human orientation until last year (I was 29 and already divorced), I’m still figuring out my precise classification. For now, however, I think heteromantic graysexual is close. Both sides of that label set are subject to change if necessary, though.

2. What did it feel like growing up asexual?

You know that feeling when you’re hanging out with a group of people who have known each other for ages and they’re all really nice and everything but they keep referencing people you don’t know, places you haven’t been, and inside jokes you don’t get?

Yeah, that’s what growing up asexual is like. Especially when you don’t know that asexual is an orientation option and so you can’t ever quite put your finger on why you’re ever so slightly on the outside of most groups.

DiversifYA Interview: Growing Up Ace

This interview was originally conducted by Marieke Nijkamp and posted on DiversifYA.

1. How do you identify yourself?

Since I didn’t discover the term “asexual” in the context of a potential human orientation until last year (I was 29 and already divorced), I’m still figuring out my precise classification. For now, however, I think heteromantic graysexual is close. Both sides of that label set are subject to change if necessary, though. 

2. What did it feel like growing up asexual? 

You know that feeling when you’re hanging out with a group of people who have known each other for ages and they’re all really nice and everything but they keep referencing people you don’t know, places you haven’t been, and inside jokes you don’t get?

Yeah, that’s what growing up asexual is like. Especially when you don’t know that asexual is an orientation option and so you can’t ever quite put your finger on why you’re ever so slightly on the outside of most groups. 

I didn’t understand celebrity crushes. I have never once called someone “hot” and meant it the same way everyone else seemed to. When I did develop a crush on someone, it was always someone I knew. Even then, the crushes felt different in my head than the way my friends talked about theirs. I never fantasized about anything beyond kissing someone. In fact, most of my relationship fantasies were more about having someone to go places with and hold hands with and kiss whenever I wanted than anything to do with sex. 

It’s not like I didn’t know what sex was or anything. My parents only filtered out the worst, most explicit of content, otherwise letting us choose to watch whatever we were interested in, so I’d seen plenty of portrayals in movies and on TV and, honestly, it always made me a little embarrassed when I watched those moments. Again, though, I couldn’t ever explain why I was so embarrassed. All I knew was that no one else seemed to feel that way about those super passionate on screen kisses or the moments when the romantic leads start losing clothing. 

Movies aren’t the worst of it. Friends, even the well-meaning ones, were a lot harder to cope with than the media. At least the media doesn’t have any expectations of you, right? Friends do. 

I remember a moment from when I was in middle school, something really innocuous and also incredibly telling. Three of my friends had apparently had a conversation about sex on a day I wasn’t there and, during the course of this conversation, had decided at what ages all of us were probably going to lose our virginity. One of them had already lost it, one they decided would probably lose hers around sixteen, one around eighteen, and then they looked at me and said, “You’ll probably be a virgin until you’re thirty.” 

They weren’t right (I was seventeen when I had sex for the first time), but they might have been if I’d known that was an option. Instead that proclamation from them felt like a judgement. The words felt like they had edges and that there must be something I was doing wrong if they thought that about me. I didn’t know what it could possibly be, but there must have been something I was doing to make them see me this way. It felt wrong and shameful and confusing because I didn’t know why it felt wrong and shameful. I didn’t know why it was such a huge deal that I thought kissing a boy was a big deal when I was in sixth grade. I didn’t understand why so many of my friends spent their energy gushing over this celebrity and that crush and how important it was that this person liked them back. 

For me, growing up asexual—especially without having that word in my vocabulary to help me understand just why I was different—left me feeling constantly off balance. It was almost like I was playing a part and hadn’t learned all the lines but I’d managed to fake it really well but still lived in fear of someone calling me on it. It was a quietly terrifying feeling because I knew that, when someone finally did call me on it, I wouldn’t have any way to explain it to them in a way that made sense. How could I when it didn’t even make sense to me?

3. What are the biggest challenges? Conversely, what are the quirks/perks?

Biggest challenges? Romantic relationships. Although this may just be a personal challenge and fear because of my history with them. 

For a very long time I was in a relationship with (and then married to) a guy who fell practically on the opposite end of the libido spectrum from asexual. Yes, sure, all relationships involve compromise and finding a comfortable middle ground, but sometimes two people can be so far away from each other on a particular subject that the middle ground isn’t comfortable for anyone. It didn’t help that my ex was emotionally manipulative and abusive, continually reinforcing the “there’s something wrong with me” fear that had been present but far quieter during childhood and adolescence. The whole experience with him also reinforced the fear that I wouldn’t ever be able to find anyone who understood and accepted my sexual apathy. Years after my divorce, I still haven’t found anyone, but at least now I’m starting to believe that I one day might. 

In the perks department…ummm, I don’t know? People seem to spend a lot of time obsessing about sex, relationships, crushes, unattainable hotness, and the rest and I don’t? All of that seems honestly tiring, so I’m kind of glad it doesn’t often cross my mind!

4. What do you wish people knew about being asexual? 

That it exists. It’s a real orientation and as legitimately not a choice as being a brunette or homosexual or brown skinned or transgender or anything else. It’s a part of who I am, part of who a lot of people are, and denying its existence and/or validity can cause more damage than you know. 

5. What are the biggest cliches/stereotypes you’ve seen?

Honestly, I almost wish there were so many examples of asexuality in the media that I could answer this easily. There isn’t, though. The clichés and stereotypes I’ve seen come more often from others. What I have gotten from people who don’t know about or truly understand asexuality is usually something close to one of these: 

“You don’t like sex? Really? Are you sure you’ve been doing it right?”

“Oh, well you just haven’t met the right person! Wait until you do then you’ll see what you’ve been missing.” 

“So, what? You’re a prude?”

“Were you, like, raped or molested or something? ‘Cause then it’d make a little sense.”

“You’re asexual? You can’t be! You’re not a virgin!”

“Wow, so you actually expect to find a guy who doesn’t want sex? Good luck with that one.”

Let me just tell you now that those statements or ANY VARITION THEREOF are invalidating, offensive, and ignorant. Please, just…don’t. 

BONUS: What is your advice for writers writing diverse characters?

Do NOT—and I really, really mean it when I say this—do NOT use the word asexual to describe a character if you’re going to eventually “fix” them with sex. Don’t. Also, do not apply the label asexual to a character who doesn’t actually fall into that orientation. I cannot even describe to you the wordless excited noise I made recently when I read a book and “asexual” was there staring at me from the page. It was there! A character who was kind of like me! Oh joy and rapture!! But then I kept reading and realized that, no. The character wasn’t actually asexual. Instead they were a virgin who had multiple non-sexual traumas in their past and a fear of inadequacy that made them decide to use that word to keep someone they weren’t sure they trusted at bay. I could see the rest of the plot unfold from that moment and, as I read, it did exactly what I’d fervently hoped it wouldn’t. It took away that one little bit of representation I thought I’d found and turned him into just another allosexual. 

I almost cried.

We don’t have enough examples of stated, actual asexuality in literature for authors to throw the label around like it doesn’t matter. It matters. So much. 

In a more general sense, “diverse” characters—no matter what their orientation, religion, gender, ability level, ethnicity, etc.—is still a character. They’re a person who is in some way going to represent a real person who exists in the world. Just like that real person who is out there somewhere, your character should be as individual as possible. Even identical twins have different experiences, perceptions, intelligence levels, interests, reactions, and emotions, so why the ever loving hell would you expect every single black/gay/asexual/woman/trans/(fill in the blank) to be exactly the same? 

Write the character as a person with their own thoughts, goals, and lives. Then, when you’re done, find a beta reader who belongs to the group you’re writing about. (And, FYI, by “in” I do actually mean “in,” not just “somehow tangentially related to the group because for one week in college they knew someone like that.”) When you get your feedback, listen to it but also keep in mind that just like your character can’t possibly represent every single member of their group, neither can whoever you chose as a beta reader.  You’re probably not going to get everything perfect and you’re probably going to get called on it. Listen to the criticisms, learn from them, and apply the lessons the next time you write. It’s all anyone can do. 

I was on the radio!

I was incredibly excited/nervous/thrilled to receive a radio interview request about Sing Sweet Nightingale. My first one ever!

It was nerve-wrecking to call in and hope that I could come up with off-the-cuff answers that made sense, but I think that I succeeded. The conversation revolved around the theme of emotional abuse, something that is a key element in the book and very important to me personally. I am immensely thankful to KPRS 103.3 in Kansas City and DJ Julee Jonez for helping me spread awareness on this important issue.

On her website, Julee had this to say about it:

One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. What’s more alarming? Only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse. But would teens pick up a book about emotional abuse? Author Erica Cameron, who was in an emotionally abusive relationship, figured out a way to marry the theme with a creative read in her debut novel, “Sing Sweet Nightingale”, the first volume of The Dream War Saga, a four-book young adult series. Listen in as we chat about the read and the serious issue of emotional abuse.

If you didn’t get the chance to hear the interview live yesterday, you can still listen to the whole interview (it’s only about five minutes!) online for free here. If you are looking for additional information and resources about emotional abuse, check out my resources page for information on emotional abuse and gaslighting, an incredibly invasive and insidious abusive technique.

Monday March 9, tune in to Hot 103.3 FM

At 11:30 CST on Monday March 9, tune in to Hot 103.3 FM KPRS in the Kansas City area (or online) as DJ Julee Jonez interviews me about #singsweetnightingale and the impacts of emotional abuse. If you listen, you could possibly win one of three copies of my book that she’ll be giving away!

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My uber busy release weekend!

Even though it’s kind of expected, I didn’t do an official launch party for the release of my debut novel Sing Sweet Nightingale. Instead, I had a whole release weekend of events! It was busy and crazy and so many levels of amazing I don’t even know how to describe it.

Plans for this weekend o’ awesome began last year when my editress Danielle Ellison warned me to block out the weekend of March 8th. “You’re going to be in Virginia,” she said. Since I had no reason to protest, I didn’t! I started making plans to join my editress, her bookstore One More Page, and the Arlington Central Library at Washington Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia for the inaugural NoVaTEEN Book Festival.

Turns out that it was going to be more than just the festival! On Friday, I joined Diana Peterfreund at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virgina to talk to two different groups. Since this was my first ever school visit, I was really nervous, but it went so well! The kids were respectful and interested and they asked good questions. Lelia from One More Page Bookstore in Arlington coordinated the event for us and she was so sweet! All in all, it was a great morning.

Saturday was the main event, NoVaTEEN Book Festival at Washington Lee High School! It started with a keynote speech by the incredible Phyllis Reynolds Naylor at 10 and ended with a group signing at 4. In between were larger panels in the school’s auditorium and smaller sessions in several of the nearby classrooms. I joined Jon Skovron and Lea Nolan for a “breakout session” at 11 where we spent a lot of time discussing the different constructs of hell and then I got to sit back and listen to other people talk for a couple of hours before my own main-stage panel! At 3, I joined fellow debut author Elle Cosimano and veteran Victoria Schwab along with moderators Elisa Nader and Aimee Agresti for a discussion on Bad Boys and why they’re so amazingly attractive. I got to talk about my early love for the rogue George Cooper from Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series and what makes the difference between a bad boy and a villain. Somehow, I didn’t make a fool of myself, so I call the whole day a win!

Sunday, I headed to Alexandria, Virginia for a solo signing and talk at the cutest bookstore: Hooray for Books! During the event, we revealed the title for The Dream War Saga, book 2: Deadly Sweet Lies. The staff was fantastic and I hope I get to go back there soon!

And then, Monday, my mom, my uncle, and I spent the afternoon at the International Spy Museum while I played #iSpy with Marni Bates on Twitter. It was a blast!

So now, pictorial proof:

But that’s not all!

I flew home Tuesday morning, grabbed lunch, rushed to work, made my students write essays because I didn’t have anything else prepared for them, rushed home, jumped online, and did an hour-long live chat with the girls from Reading With Me! We gave away prizes and I answered a lot of questions. But don’t worry! Even if you missed the live event, you can still watch the whole video on YouTube! Or by clicking play on the video below:

Phew! Now I’m home and a little sad because all of those awesome things are over! But now I get to start working on my thriller work in progress again and then jump into edits on DEADLY, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to keep busy! 😉

I just want to say one last thank you to everyone who made this weekend so special. There’s far too many people to list individually, so just know that if I saw or spoke to you this weekend, you’re part of the list. Thank you so much! <3

The Sing Sweet Nightingale blog tour starts tomorrow!

The fabulous Jamie and Rachel at Rockstar Book Tours have organized a phenomenal two-week tour for the release of Sing Sweet Nightingale! Monday through Friday for the next two weeks, you’ll find two posts a day–one review and one interview or guest post. And, guys, some of these guest posts are pretty fun!

Below is the full schedule of events so you can follow the fun! Please help me celebrate the birth of my first book baby by visiting these phenomenal blogs and entering the giveaway for an annotated copy of Sing Sweet Nightingale!

Thank you to Jamie and Rachel at Rockstar, all of the sweet bloggers who volunteered their time and their websites, and to all the readers who jump on board! This should be a fun ride! 😀

SingSweetNightingaleTour Schedule

Week One:

3/3/2014- Bookish Things & moreReview

3/3/2014- Bibliophilia, PleaseInterview

3/4/2014- Lola’s Reviews Review

3/4/2014- A Backwards StoryGuest Post

3/5/2014- YaReadsReview

3/5/2014- Addicted ReadersInterview

3/6/2014- Once Upon A TwilightReview

3/6/2014- The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan ClubGuest Post

3/7/2014- Seeing Night ReviewsReview

3/7/2014- The Irish Banana ReviewGuest Post


Week Two:

3/10/2014- Chasm of Books Review

3/10/2014- Lost in Ever AfterInterview

3/11/2014- The Demon LibrarianReview

3/11/2014- Paulette’s PapersGuest Post

3/12/2014- Poisoned RationalityReview

3/12/2014- The Best Books EverInterview

3/13/2014- Spiced Latte ReadsReview

3/13/2014- Dark NovellaGuest Post

3/14/2014- A Dream Within A DreamReview

3/14/2014- Parajunkee’s ViewInterview

Sing’s e-book is up for pre-order!

The paperback of my debut novel, Sing Sweet Nightingale, has been available for pre-order for a while, but just today I saw that the Kindle and Kobo e-books are finally up as well! So far, the Nook version isn’t live, but I’ll be sure to link that when it comes up too.


Asja (in glasses) and me Summer 2013

Also, my friend Asja recently interviewed me on Tangled Up In Words! This is probably cheating a little since Asja is basically like one of my sisters, but that makes it even more fun! The interview is long and contains lots of stories about SING and the last year of my life, so make sure you check it out!

Also, just in case you haven’t heard, SING releases in less than a month!! And it has been hinted that paperback pre-orders of the book may release into the wild a little early! Pre-orders also get you a lot of bonus entries (and a ton of cool points) in my ongoing contest, fyi. The grand prize package is pretty amazing. It includes a YEAR of free books from my publisher, an amethyst necklace inspired by SING, amazing books by Christina Farley and Vivi Barnes, swag from SING, plus a gift card! You don’t have to pre-order anything to enter, but you get a better chance of winning if you do! And if you’ve already ordered the book, that counts! The order doesn’t have to be placed within the contest time. Existing orders are just as good! Better, even, since you did it without the bribe. 😉

That’s all for now! More will definitely be coming soon, though. We’re getting to the time when interviews and blog posts and reviews will start popping up all over the place! In other words, I’m going to be very busy for the next two months… O.O