Thursday 3 September 2015

A Tyranny of Petticoats, by Y S Lee

Hello, readers. I am tremendously excited to share with you the absolutely glorious cover of Jessica Spotswood's historical anthology, A Tyranny of Petticoats (Candlewick Press, March 2016). Behold!

My friend Cat taught me the phrase "on fleek", and now I just want to walk around now yelling, "It's SO ON FLEEK!"

Here's a bit more about the collection, which combines historical realist and historical fantasy stories:
From an impressive sisterhood of YA writers comes an edge-of-your-seat anthology of historical fiction and fantasy featuring a diverse array of daring heroines.

Crisscross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.

With stories by:

J. Anderson Coats

Andrea Cremer

Y. S. Lee

Katherine Longshore

Marie Lu

Kekla Magoon

Marissa Meyer

Saundra Mitchell

Beth Revis

Caroline Richmond

Lindsay Smith

Jessica Spotswood

Robin Talley

Leslye Walton

Elizabeth Wein
My ARC arrived in the mail just this week, which means that it's time to proofread my own short story, "The Legendary Garrett Girls", one last time. As regular blog readers know, I really appreciate this last chance to check the story and catch any clangers. Mostly, though, I'm looking forward to read the other 14 short stories in the anthology. Yes, I could have read them earlier in PDF format, but - call me traditional, if you must - I still find curling up with a print book more satisfying.

I am giddy with delight to be part of this sisterhood, and I owe it all to fellow novelist and worshipper-at-the-altar-of-history Stephanie Burgis: she's the one who first suggested to editor Jessica Spotswood that I might want to be involved. THANK YOU, Steph!

This was my first time contributing to a fiction anthology and I learned so much. To begin with, the parameters were incredibly open: a story with a girl protagonist at any time in American history. Indeed, it was so liberating that I felt almost frozen with indecision - until I realized that fourteen other writers were simultaneously staking out their own historical and geographical territories. Suddenly, it felt like the start of an open-water swimming race: fast and splashy.

I've noticed that in my fiction I lean towards borders and margins, both literal and figurative. Sure enough, I first proposed something along the Great Lakes or in the Thousand Islands area - specifically, a midwinter prison escape from Ontario into New York state, over ice and open water. But Jessica suggested something less marginal and more definitively American, so I began to scan my shelves.

Several years ago, I went on a family holiday to Alaska. True to nerd form, the souvenir I brought back was a reprint of a nineteenth century memoir and travel manual, William B. Haskell's Two Years in the Klondike and Alaskan Gold Fields, 1896-1898.

I'd read bits and scraps of it in Alaska, but when I pulled it from the shelf last summer, it fell open to this quotation: "They now say there are more liars to the square inch in Alaska than any place in the world." -- The Seattle Times, August 1897. Clearly, this was fate: I was going to write a story about con artists in the Gold Rush town of Skagway, Alaska.

That story, "The Legendary Garrett Girls", is just one of the fifteen in A Tyranny of Petticoats. Gloating over the table of contents, I'm struck by how diverse our geographical choices are: not just Boston and Los Angeles, but Wyoming and Indiana; Washington, DC and Washington State. It reminds me how relatively little I know of American history.

I can't wait to change that.

Y S Lee is the author of the award-winning Mary Quinn Mysteries (Walker Books/Candlewick Press). She blogs every Wednesday at


Sue Purkiss said...

Sounds like a fascinating book!

Y S Lee said...

Thanks, Sue! I'm really enjoying the other stories in it. So many interesting perspectives!