Thursday, July 03, 2014

Thursday Thoughts with Augusta Li

Hi everybody! My name is Augusta Li, but most people call me Gus. I’m an author at Dreamspinner Press, where I’ve published seven novels and some novellas and short stories. My work tends toward High Fantasy and steampunk, but my most recent release is a New Adult contemporary romance, and it actually lends itself very well to the theme of dreams.

"The price for getting what you want, is getting what once you wanted."
          -Dream, in Sandman #19: "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

This quote from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series of graphic novels illustrates the fluid nature of dreams and aspirations, which is a central theme in my books On Tinsel Wings and This Same Flower. In the first book, the main character, Patrick Harford, wants to earn enough money to move away from his alcoholic father and build a life for himself. He wants to indulge his fantasy to dress in drag and find a place where he can be safe and accepted. And he wants to get to know Yu Elion, the apprentice blacksmith at the Renaissance Faire where he works. On Tinsel Wings is all about Patrick discovering his dreams and what he wants to accomplish in life.

In the second book in the series, This Same Flower, Patrick and Yu must face the fact that their dreams and what they want out of life has changed in the two years since they met. Yu is about to graduate from art school and has opportunities to fulfill his fondest wish of learning to forge weapons and armor using traditional techniques. Patrick, who grew up isolated and alone, has always longed for a home, to be surrounded by the support of friends and those he’s chosen as family. He’s finally achieved the financial stability to think about putting down roots. The question is, does he still want and need what he once wanted?

New Adult is a fun and interesting subgenre to explore as an author because the characters can grow and change so quickly. It’s especially true for characters like mine, who are still discovering who they are and what they hope to achieve. Patrick and Yu find themselves faced with a situation where their dreams are pulling them in different directions. They’re looking at a future where one of them, at least, will have to sacrifice something, where they can’t both have their dreams and have each other. Of course, neither of them wants to ask the other to give up his dream, and in the end, both of them have to choose which dreams they need to see through and which they can give up—what they once needed and what they need now.

This series explores dreams and hope. It also examines the shift from individual dreams to mutual dreams as the protagonists’ relationship grows deeper and their dreams include each other to a more significant degree. “What I want for me” becomes “what we want for us,” and while it strengthens their bond, it can be a fine line between moving forward as a dedicated couple and relinquishing personal aspirations. Somehow the characters need to find a way to meet both their needs as partners and as individuals. It’s an interesting and multifaceted conflict, one that’s fun to dissect, and one that’s familiar to many people. Often in life, people have to decide what they can do without and what they can’t, because sometimes they can’t have everything. What they choose can affect their lives for years to come, and it’s impossible to see the consequences, especially for younger characters who are still coming to understand the world. I love writing about people in this stage of life because more than any other, they’re standing at a crossroads and what path they choose—college, the military, work, travel, settling down to start a family—will have a profound affect on the course of their lives. Will they look back and be glad they made the choices they did, or will they regret the dreams they let die in the pursuit of others? I think for most, it’s a mixture of pride in some decisions while wishing they could go back and change others.

Will Patrick and Yu be happy with the choices they made down the road? Only time will tell.

Two years after taking a leap of faith and moving in together, Patrick Harford and Yu Elion decide to make a lasting commitment. Yu will soon graduate art school, while Patrick continues to gain fame and financial stability performing as a drag queen. They want to take the next step on their journey together, but they disagree as to where their path should lead. Patrick longs to put down roots and make a home close to the friends who have supported him. But the realization of Yu’s lifelong dream lies on the other side of the world. Can Patrick leave his comfort zone and seize the day for the only man he’s ever loved? And what will that mean for his career, the friendships he depends on—and for the friends who depend on him?

Either Patrick or Yu will have to sacrifice his dream. But while they struggle to find a solution that will make them both happy, a friend’s cry for help removes Patrick’s options. With their future together sidetracked, he can only hope their love is strong enough to weather separation.

1 comment:

  1. I just bought both of these recently during the DSP sale. Looking forward to reading them :)