Post Mortem

If We Shadows interview

DEATH:
Hey there, living people! Welcome to Post Mortem, the fake online talk-radio show where fictional characters talk to me about their books, their Authors, and basically anything they want. I’m your host, Death. (Don’t let that freak you out.)

The next guest on Post Mortem is the star of D.E. Atwood’s debut novel, IF WE SHADOWS. Here’s the official back-cover copy:

Born female, all Jordan wants is to slip under the radar and live the last year of high school as a boy. His parents and siblings support him, but he’d rather be recognized for his acting and musical talents than his gender issues.

When Shakespeare’s Puck gives him three magical potions — true sight, true seeming, and true love — Jordan discovers being true to himself isn’t as simple as he thought.

Jordan must navigate the confusion of first love, a controversial role in the fall musical, and his transgender identity, while fairy magic creates a net of complications over everything he does. In order to unweave the spells laid over his friends — his supportive older brother, James, his playwright friend, Pepper, and Maria, another transgender student — Jordan needs to understand exactly how far he’ll go to reach his goals of finding true love, true sight, and true seeming.

Give a hearty round of applause to Jordan!

[APPLAUSE]

Jordan, give us an idea of what you go through in IF WE SHADOWS.

JORDAN:
All I want to do is a be a normal guy in my senior year of high school, but then I try out for the play and get a part that gets everyone talking about gender — which is exactly what I don’t want anyone to talk about since I’m transgender — and I’ve just met the girl of my dreams but I can’t even figure out how to tell her and oh yeah, Puck and fairy magic manage to make everything into chaos.

DEATH:
A little bit of chaos is good for the soul. You’ve got a lot going on — what would you say is the worst thing about your situation in the book?

JORDAN:
Oh man, that’s a complicated question.

DEATH:
[GRINS] I don’t like easy answers.

JORDAN:
You, you’re the worst thing.

DEATH:
Me?

JORDAN:
No offense meant, but you’re pretty terrifying. As a concept, not right now. Right this second I have this weird urge to get out my guitar, but we’ll just table that until later.

DEATH:
I’ve been known to bust out a guitar on occasion…

JORDAN:
[GRINS] I am definitely going to bring that up again later. But anyway, the thing about being transgender is that I’m always acting. Even when I’m not on stage, the biggest thing I have to remember is that I have to pass. I can’t just be the guy that I am, I have to make sure that everyone else is completely and absolutely and utterly aware that I’m a guy. They can’t even have a bit of a question in their minds. And when things start to go haywire, I’m afraid that people are looking at me.

DEATH:
So it’s fear that gets to you.

JORDAN:
Fear’s a big thing, you know? It’s like I can’t just get changed for gym or backstage, I have to think about what’s going to happen if someone sees me getting changed and notices. Will they beat me up? Could they kill me? Sometimes it’s scary and those aren’t the thoughts you want to be having when your other big thought is can I kiss this girl right now because she is the most amazing person I have ever met.

DEATH:
Ah, l’amour

JORDAN:
But yeah, it’s the fear, and it’s the fear of just how far that could go. Most people get nervous about getting pantsed in the hallway and being embarrassed. It’s a lot scarier when you’re transgender. And that’s in the back of my mind all the time.

DEATH:
Understandable. So what would you say is the best thing about your situation?

JORDAN:
Pepper.

DEATH:
The spice? The vegetable?

JORDAN:
The girl.

DEATH:
Ah! Details?

JORDAN:
You don’t get the details! It’s not that kind of book and I’m definitely not that kind of guy.

DEATH:
[LAUGHS] Duly noted.

JORDAN:
Seriously, she’s amazing. She’s just… she’s… I still go kind of speechless when I think about her. At least I can talk to her, right? I’ve never met anyone quite like her. She’s smart and funny, and she’s strong and she fights for what she believes in. She’s incredibly protective of her brother, but she doesn’t smother him or baby him. She’s gorgeous, of course. I love how she smiles, and how she talks about things.

DEATH:
Someone sounds smitten…

JORDAN:
[BLUSHES] Anyway… If my brother didn’t convince me to get outside my comfort zone and go for the play, even though I couldn’t just do the chorus, I might not have really gotten to know her, and I can’t imagine that. Everything turned upside down, sure, but I got to know Pepper. That all makes me sound like a sap, doesn’t it?

DEATH:
[GRINS] Yep.

JORDAN:
Especially when there are so many other great things about my life, too. Like my family, because they believe in me, and my best friend Maria, and my psychiatrist. I wouldn’t be who am I without them. Hopefully they’ll forgive me for being a little selfish about my first big crush.

DEATH:
I’m sure they will. Okay, time for random questions! If you could be anyone, who would it be?

JORDAN:
Freddie Mercury. Or maybe in the modern musical era, Adam Lambert. Because they’ve both got this whole I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude and they are who they are. And they’re larger than life on stage, and they’ve got this amazing presence that makes you get on your feet and get moving. Oh, or Gerard Way. Same thing, really. They’re all incredible performers who really put themselves out there and get in your face, but at the same time, they talk about the things they believe in and they don’t let anyone get to them.

DEATH:
Coincidentally, they all push against the boundaries of gender and sexuality.

JORDAN:
Yeah, but that’s not it. They don’t let anyone else define what people should expect about them; they make their own selves and let everyone take them or not. I wish I could have that level of confidence to just let the show go on.

DEATH:
And the show must go on, as Freddie once said. What’s your standard outfit?

JORDAN:
I have a thing for vests. Not a sweater vest, but the kind that looks kind of formal. I wear them over t-shirts or over a button down shirt. I like the way they add a stiffness to my outfit, so if someone happens to bump into me, they don’t feel my binder (or don’t realize they’re feeling it) or worse, what’s under my binder. Other than that, I like loose t-shirts and hoodies. Jeans. I wear a lot of jeans.

DEATH:
And, on a related note, what wouldn’t you be caught dead in?

JORDAN:
A dress. Except for being Viola on stage, there is no way in hell you are ever getting me into anything that screams girl. Even when I was little, when my family didn’t know, I used to refuse to wear dresses. And yeah, I know some boys do wear dresses, but this one doesn’t, thanks.

DEATH:
Gotcha. You touched on this before, but what are you most afraid of?

JORDAN:
I’m afraid of people knowing that when I was born, I was assigned as female sex. That people thought I was a girl until I was eleven and figured out how to get them to understand that I’m not. And the thing is, I can’t ever completely get away from that. I mean, it’s always there. It’s like this thing hanging over me and even making peace with the whole idea isn’t easy. Because it’s not something that just happens one time. I can tell one person today, and maybe they’re okay with it, but there might be someone tomorrow who finds out who isn’t okay with it. And they try to hurt me.

DEATH:
Yeah, some people don’t get it at all.

JORDAN:
Maybe what I’m really afraid of is people not understanding and people being afraid of what they don’t understand. Not just for me, but for Maria and everyone else like us.

DEATH:
In IF WE SHADOWS, were there any parts of the story where you were like, D., what on earth are you making me do? Or were you and D. in sync the entire time?

JORDAN:
It’s hard to talk about this without spoiling the story! Most of the time we were totally in sync and she just let me call the shots. It’s my story, after all. So I talked, and she wrote it down. And I guess I knew what was going to have to happen and how it would all resolve out, but that didn’t mean I had to like it. We had a really rough time getting some of the events toward the end on the page, mostly because my gut reaction was no way in hell about them.

DEATH:
Those tend to be the best scenes.

JORDAN:
We actually wrote ahead — something she doesn’t normally do — so I could see what would happen after, then we went back and got it written.

DEATH:
If you had your way, what would you change about IF WE SHADOWS?

JORDAN:
If I could change the world, I’d make it better for my friends to live in it, and that’s all I’m going to say on that. Anything more would be spoilery.

DEATH:
Can’t have spoilers! If you could make D. do anything, what would it be?

JORDAN:
ANYTHING?

DEATH:
Anything.

JORDAN:
Pee standing up.

DEATH:
[DIES LAUGHING]

JORDAN:
No, seriously! I’m pretty sure that no matter how much she imagines it, the reality of peeing with the wrong anatomy is worse than she thinks. And it’s not just the bathroom thing, either. I think she should try to walk in my shoes for a day. Make a homemade packer, try a binder, see what it’s like to be me. I’d also like to see her try to do the stuff on stage she thinks is no problem for me. She keeps saying she used to do all kinds of performance when she was my age, but she’s pretty shy about it now.

DEATH:
Tell me one thing in the real world that you wish you could change.

JORDAN:
It’d be nice if I could just wish up the perfect body that totally matches the me in my head, but I think I’ve also learned that magic isn’t always the best solution. I’m pretty sure something would go horribly wrong along the way if I tried it!

DEATH:
Yeah, magic tends to go awry at exactly the wrong time. So if your book, IF WE SHADOWS, goes Hollywood, who should play you and the other main characters in the movie?

JORDAN:
D. actually has this whole page of pictures of all of us! She had my brother cast as a younger Alex Pettyfer, so I guess he’s a good look for me, too, since we look a lot alike. I don’t know about Pepper, but I do have an idea for Paul. The other day I was looking at stills from The Maze Runner and the kid they’ve got playing Newt–Thomas Brodie-Sangster–he would make a perfect Paul. He’s got that whole pointy-chinned fey look.

DEATH:
If there’s one piece of advice you could give to your fans, what would it be?

JORDAN:
Trust yourself and be who you are. No one can tell you who to be better than your own heart. It’s not always easy to do (trust me, I KNOW), but it’s worth it in the end. We spend so much time being afraid to let people see inside our hearts, and when we do, it’s like getting out of a cage finally. We are who we are.

DEATH:
Excellent advice. Finally, who’s your favorite Horseman of the Apocalypse?

JORDAN:
Death, of course. Do you really think I’d say something else?

DEATH:
Smart boy!

Living people, give another round of applause for the star of D.E. Atwood’s debut novel, the talented Jordan!

[APPLAUSE]

You can purchase IF WE SHADOWS, either in print or e-book format, at Amazon, B&N, and Dreamspinner Press.

That’s it for this episode of Post Mortem. Until next time: Go thee out unto the world. Rock on.



Tags: , , , ,

2 Responses to “If We Shadows interview”

  1. […] radio show, Post Mortem, where Death (yes, one of the Riders) interviews fictional characters. Jordan’s interview posted […]

  2. […] — and it’s with the protagonist of one of my dear friends, D. E. Atwood! Check out Death’s interview with Jordan of IF WE […]