I Wrote a Book About Angry Women. On Purpose and Everything.
LYSSA STRATA drops on May 1, 2021. It’s about a sex strike. Gasp!
I wrote the vast majority of my debut novel, LYSSA STRATA, in a fit of rage. Or a fit of crying. Or a fit of my butt dying because I could not stand up and let go of the internet shitstorm that was 2017.
The deep, harrowing misogyny of 2016 haunts me still. Haunts you, too, probably, if you’re a lady person. Every sling and arrow aimed at Hillary passed through me on the on the way to its target. And I got pissed the fuck off.
Every day since, it seems like the pathetic and tired sexism of that year has just grown. The #metoo movement helped so many, but it was yet another bullseye on our backs. Shitty people use it like a joke now, isn’t that fun and unsurprising?
One of the constant refrains from the first year of The Orange Thing Some Called President was that the women of America should Lysistrata—go on a sex strike—as a protest against…well…everything.
A misguided celebrity or two even decided to launch a sex strike, and ordered us to join it, I guess. It didn’t go far. Much mocking, etc. I’m 99% sure it cost me my first book deal for LYSSA STRATA.
But before that fun setback, I had to write the thing. So I forced myself to consider: What would make women go on a sex strike? How big could a successful one be? And how would the world react?
How would the world react? Ha ha ha we know—death threats, misogyny, doxxing, more misogyny, bad op-eds from politicians not entirely sure 51% of us are humans, and violence. Not so funny IRL, I’m sure.
But in my mind, it would be funny. Like a fairy tale where everyone’s parts throb uncomfortably as they go on a quest.
I thought, and I thought, and I woke up my butt, and I thought. I figured that a town-wide sex strike would be the best way to go about things. Keep it locally sourced, like an expensive kale smoothie I would never drink.
I also figured that a very specific problem would need to be addressed. “We’re not banging you until misogyny is cured!” is a recipe for never-ending blue organs of all sorts.
Lastly, I decided there would need to be an end date, because nobody could do this kind of thing forever. My man Aristophanes figured out all this shit centuries ago, I’m just riding coattails. Toga-tails?
Thus, I imagined a character. She’s a dorky librarian. In a small town. Protesting a buncha vile 400-year-old laws. Along with many (but not \all) women in her town of Athena. And some righteous dudes. Yeah!
Who would the rest of those ladies be? I needed my sampling of broads to be broad, because not a one of us of any race or creed likes to be told we’re too stupid to be on the Town Council.
One of my main characters is my personal favorite, an 80-year-old Trans woman who spikes the punch at BINGO and may or may not launch baseball bats at the cops. Trans women are women, and I wanted her to be front and center to make that very clear.
Young and old, gay and straight, Black and white and everyone in between, the women of Athena come together to lift each other up and take control. They should probably shelve this book as “fantasy,” because it’s mine.
The ladies of Athena take things (possibly) too far in their quest for respect and consideration. They do things I only wish I could do. They rise up as all of us dream of doing. And, spoiler, they fucking WIN.
I write books that (I hope) give readers the feeling that they are super-heroines and -heroes and -persons. That they, and maybe even I, can achieve more than they ever believed.
Women are told that we’re amazing…if we lose ten pounds. If we use the right face cream. If we laugh at dudejokes. If we stand up, but not too much. An acceptable level of personal respect is required. We’re amazing if we go along.
Well, fuck that.
We’re amazing even when we fall short. Or are short, in my case. We’re amazing because WE KEEP GOING. We keep fighting. And we will never give up until we achieve equality in this world. And other worlds—end sexism on Ferenginar!
That’s why I wrote Lyssa Strata. Not to chase a trend or any such shit, but to inspire everyone to keep fighting. While laughing, and also while taking hot tub and ice cream breaks (v. necessary).
I’m Martti, a debut author you’ve probably never heard of. My book doesn’t have the backing of some huge press—I’m pubbed by two dudes at Humorist Books who might have hit their heads right before the offer. But it’s super awesome, the way they believe in my Greek-ish shenanigans.
If you, too lived through 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and all the rest of the damn years, while barely holding on to your sanity, I’ve written a book for you. It’s funny! People even say so!
Here are some links, and it’s got a pink cover. What more can an angry funny chick ask for? Thank you for reading, even though you can’t see my tits right now.
Humorist Books: http://tinyurl.com/lyssastrata