Can you tell us a bit about Cycler and (Re)Cycler?
Cycler and (Re)Cycler follow the story of seventeen-year-old Jill McTeague, who turns into a boy for four days out of every month. In an effort to be a "normal" girl, Jill conspires with her parents to keep this secret locked up--quite literally. The boy never leaves the house. But, after a while, the boy develops his own separate identity, christens himself "Jack" and decides he doesn't like being locked up. Once he sets out in pursuit of his own freedom, Jack's needs and Jill's needs clash intensely.
What inspired you to write Cycler?
I've always been interested in the subject of gender as a social construct. I was a tomboy growing up and never fully embraced society's stereotypical designation of "feminine." Once I discovered feminism in college, I realized that the black and white dualism of male versus female serves no one except the reigning patriarchy, and therefore should be upended with all deliberate speed. Cycler is the product of all these churning ideas, but the story really came alive for me once the character of Jack was born. It was as if he'd been imprisoned in my subconscious for a long time and was desperate to get out and flex his muscles.
What do you hope readers take away from your novels?
I'm reluctant to pin down the purpose of my novels because I believe that reading is an intensely personal experience. Every reader brings her own imagination, her own history, her own agenda to the story, in effect completing the creative transaction on her own. Reading the various reactions to Cycler and (Re)Cycler confirmed this for me. At times it seemed as if each person were reading a different novel. Some saw it as a light-hearted romp with no subtext whatsoever; others saw it as a sly criticism of gender dualism; still others saw it as an endorsement of gender dualism. Personally, I like to think of it as social satire, but I love that we as authors do not control the reader's response. We just set these creatures free and watch what other people do with them.
Did you find writing your second book easier or harder?
You'd think that as you improve as a writer, it would get easier all the time. Maddeningly, this is not the case. I honestly believe each book is better than the last, but I'm still sweating it out. (Re)Cycler was much harder than Cycler and my third book is proving to be even harder than the second. I guess as your abilities increase, so do your expectations. When I began (Re)Cycler, I was worried that, since I'd already established so much about the characters and the premise in