Statement


To the book community,

I want to start by saying I have the utmost respect for your voices, and I am listening. I am grateful for those who have raised questions about my yet-to-be-published debut novel "Death To Goblins". I'd like to clarify a few misunderstandings I feel must be addressed.

I was born in a bathtub floating in the ocean. My parents abandoned me to steal a jet-ski, which I later heard they crashed into an oil derrick, killing themselves and several others. I recall thrashing about in the tub, blind in the sun, skin burned and peeling off, surviving by sucking up blood from seagulls who would dive-bomb my floating prison and crack their skulls against the porcelain. I was found by a gang of pirates who tied me to their mast. I would squawk if I saw land, and they fed me fish guts to sustain me. After some time I was sold to an evil scientist who attached me to a shaking machine that shook me for 23 hours a day. He wanted to test the effects of shaking someone 23 hours a day. I vomited quite often and sufferend braind amage. This was the happiest time in my life.  The evil scientist's compound was raided in the revolution and he was executed for being a brainiac. I was then allowed to go to the work camp, where I broke rocks all day with my head and ate bugs. I taught myself to read by imagining letters, and I taught myself to speak by listening to the voices in my head. Then there was another revolution and the new government chopped everyone's arms and legs off. I went to work in a poison factory, supplying power by rolling continuously on a treadmill. I sold all my teeth to a guard in exchange for a book -- Harry Potter -- and that's when I fell in love with literature. Before I could finish the first chapter, however, war broke out. The ruling government had raised poison prices, and an international coalition led by the United States demanded regime change. Our military leaders refused to back down and so the country was bombed into oblivion and I was buried in rubble. Six months later my charred body was extracted by a cleanup crew and I was dissected as part of a lesson for medical students. I felt someone poking my liver and began howling. They were shocked to discover I was still alive. I was then imprisoned for my role in the poison industry.

I wrote a poem on the wall of my closet-sized cell using my own blood. It was this poem that caught the eye of Lars Mancandle, the famous literary agent, and he quickly arranged for my release. I was flown to New York City and signed a forty-six book deal and put to work writing Young Adult fiction from morning to midnight. I finished "Death To Goblins" in three weeks, which is considered an average amount of time to spend writing a YA novel, as to my understanding they are not meant to be good. Unfortunately, since YA novels do not go through an editorial or even spell-checking process the advance review copies my publisher sent out contained material which drew reasonable criticism and concern. I regret that my writing has caused alarm and pain in the YA author community, and I'll briefly try to elucidate some of my questionable creative choices.

Firstly, I regret my decision to base the novel around the conquest and subjugation of the Goblins. I want to state emphatically that the Goblins do not represent any real existing race or nationality. In the excerpted selections floating around Twitter there are descriptions of Goblins being shoved into mass graves, Goblins being fed into giant metal teeth, Goblins being launched into the sun. These sections make up a small minority of the finished novel, which mainly focuses on the young girl hero Solstice and her journey of self-discovery, as well as her gradual development into the world's best Goblin killer.

Some reviewers felt the story was one-sided and could have included a sympathetic Goblin character; that a Goblin perspective would have been refreshing between the scenes of slaughter and destruction in the Goblin homeland. I can also understand how the fifteen page anti-Goblin rant in Chapter 4 might have seemed out of place. My intention was to show that Solstice's desire to become the world's greatest Goblin killer was fueled by how awful, nasty, strange and irredeemably bad the Goblins are.

Additionally, I've seen understandable and indeed helpful negative feedback regarding Rory, Solstice's romantic interest. In particular, many readers found the scene where his arms and legs were cut off to be quite problematic. As I stated above, something very similar happened to me in real life and I myself am a quadruple amputee. I respect that there are those in the community who feel the scene is too graphic for a YA novel, and I share their concern. No child should have to suffer the thought of losing their arms and legs. Others remarked that Rory appeared to struggle "excessively" following the loss of his limbs and that the character might be hurtful to the quadruple amputee community. Here I can only emphasize that Rory's portrayal draws on my own personal experiences and that in no way did I intend for him to represent all arm-and-legless persons, whose stories are as diverse and complex as anyone's. Later in the novel Rory overcomes his self-doubt when he uses his mouth to pilot a giant battle mech and wipe out several thousand fleeing Goblins.

Finally, although I haven't yet received any comments regarding this particular issue, I feel I should say something for the record: at the time of writing I did not know there was actual country called "Australia". It's no excuse that I lack a formal education, I simply should have done the research. If I had, I would not have located the Goblin society there. I'd heard the name Australia before and assumed it was a kind of Atlantis or Land of Oz -- a fictional country with fantastical creatures such as the kangaroo or the crocodile hunter. It's unfortunate that in my novel I used the word Australian interchangeably with Goblin, resulting in long passages where my young heroine dismembers and tortures Australians, razes Australian villages, rants against the Australian menace, and stomps to death unborn Australians in their larval stage. Strangely, no one has seemed to notice this. It might just be a minor enough problem that no one felt the need to point it out.

In response to these problems my publisher and I have decided to delay the novel's release, which will allow me time to correct errors and re-work plot elements. Instead of Goblins, the evil creatures will be called "Orcs". Instead of having no arms or legs, Rory will struggle with seasonal depression. Instead of Australia the conquest will take place in a nameless country located to the south of Indonesia which happens to share some characteristics with Australia. We hope to release the updated novel in the very near future, as it is the first in a series of seven and the movie adaptation starring Natalie Dyer, Ansel Elgort and Vin Diesel is already in production with a planned world-wide release next Summer.

In the meantime my sophomore novel, already finished, is about the daughter of a powerful wizard who uses magic to dominate the competitive eating scene.