Hey, little foxes! Welcome to another installment of 5 Questions with Kristyn. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Charlotte Nicole Davis, author of The Good Luck Girls!
Aster, the protector THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen. When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.
Violet, the favorite
Tansy, the medic
Mallow, the fighter
Clementine, the catalyst
Aster, the protector
THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS
The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.
When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.
When I read the synopsis, the comparison to Westworld immediately caught my attention. After reading the book, I can see the connection in the worldbuilding (which I loved). What was the inspiration for The Good Luck Girls?
Well, I grew up in Kansas City, which used to be the heart of the Old West, so I think I was just really interested in writing a fantasy set in my corner of the world. The Western is also a genre that’s never felt particularly welcoming to me before, as a queer woman of color, so I wanted to write a Western about people who looked like me. It was important to me that I give Black and brown girls the chance to enjoy some of these tropes—bank robberies and bounty hunters and campfires on the trail.
While reading the book, I found many parallels to current social issues. The welcome houses are akin to human trafficking, and the main characters fight for freedom and justice sort of reminded me of Black Lives Matter. Was that intentional? Were you trying to draw such close parallels to social justice movements?
That was definitely intentional. I don’t think it’s possible to talk about the Old West or Westerns as a genre without also reckoning with the racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression that have come to define both. People often describe the book as a dystopia, but I never actually thought of it in that way myself—a dystopia is typically a hypothetical future where society has deteriorated in some way. But this is a book inspired by the past and based on very real history, so there’s nothing hypothetical about it. My hope is that, by understanding the ways in which these systems of oppression were built, readers can better understand how they affect us today and how we might work to take them down.
What were some of the challenges you faced when writing this book?
I know I just got through talking about all the heavy social issues that inspired THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS. But it was also really important to me that this book was, just, as fun as possible. Black and brown kids, and especially Black and brown girls, very rarely get to see themselves in books that aren’t about their own suffering, and I was always frustrated by that as a kid myself. I recognized the importance of “issue books,” of course, but it didn’t seem fair to me that my friends got to imagine themselves in books about spaceships and dragons and I only had books about slavery and police violence. Sometimes you need an escape from reality.
So, in THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS, I leaned on the fantasy elements to try and help represent some of the deeper issues, both to create some distance and to make the book more fun. Racism is based on shadows rather than skin color in this world. Cycles of violence are represented by vengeful ghosts. I wanted to honor these girls’ trauma, but I also didn’t want to cheapen it by using it for shock value. So it was a delicate balance, tackling these darker topics but also trying to write a romp-y action/adventure story.
What is your favorite genre to read, and why?
I love sci-fi/fantasy, since, as I said, I prefer books that feel like an escape from the real world, even if they’re very much about it at their core. My favorite sci-fi read recently was GIDEON THE NINTH, by fellow Tor author Tamsyn Muir. It’s about lesbian necromancers in space. You really can’t go wrong.
Besides writing, what else do you like to do in your downtime?
I love video games and martial arts. Right now I’m replaying THE LAST OF US because I’m excited about the sequel.
About the Author
Charlotte Nicole Davis is the author of The Good Luck Girls, a young adult fantasy novel releasing in Fall 2019 with Tor Teen. A graduate of The New School’s Writing for Children MFA program, Charlotte loves comic book movies and books with maps in the front. She currently lives in Brooklyn with a cat with a crooked tail.
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