Scifipulse recently had the honour of interviewing L. C. Mawson. She is a science fiction and fantasy author of the Ember Academy for Young Witches series as well as the Lady Constance Chapelstone Chronicles. Additionally, Mawson is the creator of the Engineered Rebel series, The Almosts and The Aspects. In this interview Lucy discusses the “Chosen One” trope and her method of creating characters.
SFP: What made you want to be a writer?
L. C. Mawson: I always had an overactive imagination, so writing was just the best way to channel it. I tried other creative pursuits, but writing was the only one that I could do in class and pretend to be taking notes.
SFP: What is the secret to writing characters that feel like real people?
L. C. Mawson: Remembering that everyone has feelings, even if they’re atypical or expressed in a way that’s different to what you might expect, I think the most cardboard characters come from people forgetting that a character would probably be feeling something in any given situation.
SFP: What is one thing you would like autistic teenagers to take away from your books and what is one thing you would like NT teens to take away from them?
L. C. Mawson: I don’t really write my books with the intention of teaching anyone about autism. I write autistic characters because I struggled to see myself in the characters I read growing up, and I hope that my books mean that autistic teenagers who read them feel a little more seen, but I keep the education to academic work.
SFP: What are you working on at the moment?
L. C. Mawson: I’m currently working on finishing up my YA sci-fi series, writing Book Two of my current F/F urban fantasy series, and I’m planning a new urban fantasy series for next year. I struggle to keep to one project at once, but I try to keep things limited to just a handful of things at any given time.
SFP: What versions of the “Chosen One” trope do you think have yet to be explored?
L. C. Mawson: I think the “Chosen One” trope has been fairly thoroughly explored, but I always like seeing it with diverse characters and from a heroine’s journey perspective.
SFP: Would you say that authentic autistic and disabled rep is now entering the mainstream?
L. C. Mawson: I think that with autistic representation specifically, we have a real problem of writers refusing to use the word “autistic”, or mentioning it quickly once, in a way that’s easily missed. The mainstream understanding of autism is still evolving, and many autistic people still aren’t diagnosed, so you end up with characters based on old tropes from before autism was even recognised (or when it was misunderstood as only encompassing a narrow part of the spectrum as we currently understand it) that are clearly autistic to an autistic reader, but the writer refuses to use the word, even if the representation was intentional, so while autistic people might see themselves in these characters, they’re often ridiculed online for talking about it, and allistic people who like the character never have to examine their preconceived notions of autism.
SFP: What’s one story you would love to tell above all others?
L. C. Mawson: I don’t know, I think my brain works too fast to have one idea that I cling to. If I want to write it, I write it, and if I don’t get around to it, I often move on.
SFP: And finally, what are your top 5 books featuring autistic protagonists?
L. C. Mawson: My favourite is definitely Fractured Stars by Lindsay Buroker, then Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sønderby, then On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis, and then I’m going to be naughty and suggest a sci-fi romance book with Trial and Temptation by Ruby Lionsdrake. And then for a fifth book, any others I liked when I read them, I read too long ago to want to recommend them now, in case they don’t hold up, so it’s probably best to leave it at four.
Scifipulse would like to extend our most heartfelt thanks and warmest best wishes to L. C. Mawson for so graciously taking the time to answer our questions.
Lucy’s website: L.C. Mawson – Science Fiction and Fantasy Author (lcmawson.com)
Her Twitter: L.C. Mawson (@lcmawson) / Twitter
Check out our Kaia Sonderby interview here
Check out our Ada Hoffmann interview here