When I first started writing this book, I had one real thought in my mind: this will be the book I wish I had had, the book I wish someone else had written for me.
Will came to me, as many of my stories do, with the first few lines fully formed. It sat like that for a time, steeping quietly in life until I was ready to write the rest.
Queer kids are used to rejection. We are used to being told that we are, well, queer. Queer in the sense of weird and in the sense of not belonging. Unwanted and fundamentally unwantable. We are disproportionately likely to be abused, and while we need stories that don’t lean on queer pain, sometimes we also need stories to acknowledge it.
But then there is the moment where we realize that we are not alone. The moment someone else accepts us and shows us that we are acceptable, that we are more than that, that we contain multitudes, that our pain can heal. That we are not monsters.
I took so much of our society’s queerphobia into myself. I didn’t come out until I was almost thirty. I buried my sexuality and my gender identity so deeply that I was a decade into adulthood before I let it come out, before I let me come out.
I know kids like Will and Hannah and Julian now. They are my friends’ kids; they are my own friends. At the launch of my epic fantasy novel Hearthfire (written as Emmie Mears), a nonbinary young adult just happened by and saw my pronoun badges, and they came up to me and told me how much it meant for them to see someone like them writing stories about people like us. I didn’t have that. The only book I remember about families like mine was Heather Has Two Mommies, and it was notorious because it was banned in my school.
I wrote The Evolving Truth of Ever-Stronger Will because I wish I’d had it. I wish I’d gotten to see Will’s journey for myself, because it does get better for us, and so often that happens because we find the people we need to find, the stories we need to see someone else living, a path that we can follow, and the knowledge that we—just like everyone else—deserve to be here too.
With respect and wolf onesies,