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Rosiee Thor is joining us today to talk about her novel, Fire Becomes Her. Here’s the publisher’s description:
In Rosiee Thor’s lavish fantasy novel with a Jazz Age spark, a politically savvy teen must weigh her desire to climb the social ladder against her heart in a world where magic buys votes.
Flare is power.
With only a drop of flare, one can light the night sky with fireworks . . . or burn a building to the ground — and seventeen-year-old Ingrid Ellis wants her fair share.
Ingrid doesn’t have a family fortune, monetary or magical, but at least she has a plan: Rise to the top on the arm of Linden Holt, heir to a hefty political legacy and the largest fortune of flare in all of Candesce. Her only obstacle is Linden’s father who refuses to acknowledge her.
So when Senator Holt announces his run for president, Ingrid uses the situation to her advantage. She strikes a deal to spy on the senator’s opposition in exchange for his approval and the status she so desperately craves. But the longer Ingrid wears two masks, the more she questions where her true allegiances lie.
Will she stand with the Holts, or will she forge her own path?
What’s Rosiee’s favorite bit?
Love is such a loaded word. Say it to anyone, and they’ll give you a different definition. To some, it means grand gestures and swoon worthy kisses. To others, it means family around the dinner table sharing a meal. In Fire Becomes Her, Ingrid Ellis learns what it means to her–and it’s not what she expected.
Ingrid begins her journey wanting nothing more than to marry her beau–a boy with more money than personality–but as she slowly works her way toward her goal, she begins to recognize her discomfort around romance and public displays of affection. Love is a word she knows and dreads, but as her definition of it grows to include many types of love–romantic, familial, platonic–so does her understanding of the types of love she wants for herself.
My favorite bit of Fire Becomes Her is the queerplatonic relationship at its center. As an aromantic person myself, I never thought I would read about a relationship like mine, let alone write one, but writing Ingrid’s story gave me an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Queerplatonic love is often overlooked or discarded in favor of romantic love. There are people who don’t believe it’s real or who claim it is less than romantic love, but I believe all kinds of love are equal and worth honoring.
There was a time when I didn’t, when I understood that the people around me cared only about allocishet romantic love, and I thought in order to be accepted, I had to chase that too. It was a bad time, to say the least. Trying to be something I wasn’t damaged me in ways I can’t fully describe, in ways I will continue to heal from for years. I will never forget the first time someone told me–and really meant it–that I could be myself and be loved. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was waiting for permission to exempt myself from romantic love.
So, when I wrote Ingrid, an aromantic-spectrum girl who believes the only way for her to be valued is through romantic love, I knew I wanted to give her the kind of moment I had–the kind of moment, however small, that changed the trajectory of my life.
“I don’t know if I like the way love is supposed to feel. I don’t know if I like love at all.” She’d never thought of it in such certain terms before, but as soon as she said it, it felt true. It felt true, and it felt light, and it felt like the first deep breath she’d taken in years.
Alex placed a hand on her elbow and turned her to face him. For a moment, Ingrid thought he might lean in and kiss her. For a moment, she thought she might let him. But then he clasped her hands between his and squeezed.
“You don’t have to fall in love in order to love. You don’t have to fall in love to be loved. Nowhere is it written in stone that you must love in only one way, only one person, only one time. You haven’t missed your shot at love, because love isn’t just one thing. Maybe what you had with Linden was one kind of love, but there are others. Love is family, love is friends, love is caring whether the people in your life survive a rebel attack. Love is love, Ingrid.”
“Love is love,” she repeated, blinking away tears she hadn’t known would come. Warmth spread through her, and her awareness of her limbs—every toe and every finger—exploded like flare.
The process of writing Fire Becomes Her was, in many ways, all about this scene. It was one of the first I imagined when I started drafting the novel in earnest: a quiet moment between two people falling in platonic love. There are hundreds of thousands of stories about romance, and I’m grateful they exist, but I wanted to write one for people like me who need to see other kinds of love not only validated, but centered and celebrated.
Fire Becomes Her Universal Book Link
Rosiee Thor began her career as a storyteller by demanding to tell her mother bedtime stories instead of the other way around. She spent her childhood reading by flashlight in the closet until she came out as queer. She lives in Oregon with a dog, two cats, and an abundance of plants. She is the author of Young Adult novels Tarnished Are The Stars and Fire Becomes Her and the picture book The Meaning of Pride.