In the summer of 2014 when we started plotting the Fly Me to the Moon series, we penciled in a female/female romance about a would-be astronaut and a woman at the American Space Department. Much of the fiction and non-fiction about the space race is very masculine, very white, and very straight, and we didn’t want our fictional universe to replicate those exclusionary narratives. As we drafted the series and this specific story, we came to love to our heroines, Bev and Geri.
The day after releasing Star Crossed, we pulled the book because reviewers pointed out we’d deracinated Bev, who is African American, and given more weight to harassment and discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation than that based on race.
That wasn’t our intent, but intent isn’t enough. We spent eight months talking about and trying to revise Star Crossed, and while we made some progress, we have decided this isn’t our story to tell. We can fix the craft issues, but we can’t shake the feeling that for us to tell this story is narrative appropriation. We therefore have no plans to rerelease the book.
In terms of what this means for the events in Fly Me to the Moon, the series gestures toward many characters and events whose stories we aren’t going to tell. In our head canon, Bev and Geri still exist. We aren’t going to edit them out of Earth Bound, where they are introduced. Bev still tutors Geri in math; Geri still takes Bev flying. They still fall in love and, when the women’s astronaut program is canceled, they move to California together. We know they are very happy. But we won’t be publishing their story.
This was a difficult decision, but please believe we made it because we think diverse books are important. We believe those books are best when told in an own voices framework because bad representation does real harm.
We hope someday there is a romance like Star Crossed. We hope there are twenty-five of them, in fact, and we would read every one. They just won’t be by us.
We appreciate everyone who has supported the series, and we plan to tell more stories in this universe. We hope you’ll be here for them.
Emma and Genevieve