Magic, mayhem, romance, and revenge: "At Midnight" by Dahlia Adler has it all.
What was your inspiration behind your most recent anthology?
It was actually contributor Anna-Marie McLemore’s idea! I’d already done two collections of YA reimaginings – "His Hideous Heart," which reimagines the work of Edgar Allan Poe, and "That Way Madness Lies," which reimagined the work of William Shakespeare – and my editor and I were having a tough time clicking on a third one. Then A-M suggested fairy tales, and asked that I be the one to edit them but bring them on as a contributor, and voila!
What does "Reading with Pride" mean to you?
There’s a particular joy in finding characters who reflect the way you live and love, especially if they’ve historically been excluded from literature, and to me, reading with pride is embracing that joy, that feeling of being found and seen and loved. In addition to writing books and editing anthologies, I run a queer book blog called LGBTQReads, and people’s awe at what’s available to them on shelves these days that wouldn’t have been even five years ago is something that really sticks with me.
Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so important when it comes to writing books?
Stories can be such a strong way of showing us what’s possible in this world, and it’s really hard to feel that possibility when the stories never seem to be about you. How are you supposed to feel like love and adventure are for you when books seem to suggest that they’re only for people who fit a certain mold?
There’s also this very strong perception of universality to a certain type of character, and those of us who’ve grown up in the margins know that it’s a wildly inaccurate perception, no matter how much media would like to perpetuate it. We also know how much it can bleed into real life and make things incredibly difficult for marginalized people. Making clear there are different ways to be, to experience things, to have grown up, to relate to family, and to view specific issues … I think that can go a long way toward increasing empathy.
Tell us a little more about the book and why you decided to write it.
"At Midnight" is a collection of YA fairytale reimaginings by fourteen of YA’s most talented and wonderful authors and also me. It was the brainchild of one of the contributors, Anna-Marie McLemore, who wanted to write for it but not edit it, and given that I’ve already done two anthologies of reimaginings for my publisher, we thought this would fit beautifully as the third!
What can fans expect from your book?
Magic, mayhem, romance, playfulness, revenge … it’s a little bit of everything, really. There’s a great variety of genres, from horror to romance to historical to coming-of-age, and a lot of fun approaches that keep the vital themes of fairy tales and twist them in very cool ways.
What's up next for you in the bookish world?
Next up for me is "Going Bicoastal," which comes out June 13 and follows a girl named Natalya through two different summers a la Sliding Doors – in one timeline, she stayed home in NYC with her dad (and finally got to know Elly, the girl she’s been crushing on forever), and in the other, she goes to LA to spend the summer working as a marketing intern under and living with her mostly estranged mom (and falls for her fellow intern, Adam, who’s an aspiring chef.) After that, my next anthology, "Out of Our League" – coedited with Jennifer Iacopelli and featuring 16 stories about girls and sports – releases in 2024 with "Feiwel & Friends!"