- Location: Ameliaura (a human colonized planet)
- Time frame: 18 generations into the future
- Main character: Dell, the 1st hermaphrodite born on this planet
About this Book
Dell is the first of a wave of hermaphrodites born on the colony planet of Ameliaura and has grown sick of the limelight created by being different. Unable to live as a man or a woman, and unwilling to deny a dual identity that feels real, Dell retreats from the world, friends and family until a violent and disturbing attack makes that impossible.
Thrown into a house full of hermaphrodite orphans, Dell struggles for solid ground. A desperate desire for their compelling adopted father makes things more complicated still, and suddenly staying impartial is no longer possible. With love and passion blossoming, the careful barriers of isolation are blown away and nothing is safe. Is it possible to build a life with someone who has already sacrificed their own? Surviving violence may have been the easy part.
Quing was the second full manuscript that I wrote. The experience of writing this book was nothing short of magical. For the first time, I embraced and pursued the idea that I was merely the transcriptionist for a story that already had an existence of its own. The story appeared around me as I climbed into Dell’s skin and hung on for this wild and steamy ride. I believe the experience of reading it to be much the same as the experience of writing it. Dell’s life is a vivid swirl of emotions and budding relationships. I feel deeply grateful for the gift of this story, wherever it came from and to Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED speech, which brought me to a place where I could receive it.
Gender and what it means inside of our cultures and our identities is of great interest to me, especially since having children of my own. While I didn’t set out to represent transgendered / intersex people or issues, I did want to explore the complex gender field. The term “hermaphrodite” is no longer used for transgendered people today and is often considered derogatory. Indeed, it is usually used erroneously as there has never been a recorded case of a true human hermaphrodite, someone who is both fully biologically male and female at the same time.
I use the term hermaphrodite in this novel to discuss just that: a person with a complete set of male and female reproductive organs. Dell has a way of challenging every concept of gender that I have, even those I didn’t know about! I love this opportunity and all the challenges and discoveries it represented to me as a writer and as a person. Once the story began, it reinforced again and again that the barriers between people are mostly imaginary and the things that connect us are very common indeed.