Karly CaserzaDon’t you just love October? I’ve had the best week so far! Today, I’m happy to officially announce Karly Caserza has been promoted to Literary Assistant. Karly previously joined Fuse Literary as my intern. She’s been invaluable to me, and I know Team Fuse will be a great fit for her. She’ll also work with the production team on Short Fuse. But who is Karly, and how did she become part of our literary family? Read on!

1. How did you get involved with Fuse?

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away–specifically February 2016, San Francisco–I won a scholarship to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference. Part of the scholarship awarded a meeting with an agent. And boy did I get lucky. That agent was the magnificent Laurie McLean. A lovely breakfast was spent picking her brain about the industry and writing–and to my embarrassment–mistaking Jennifer Chen Tran as one of Laurie’s clients. Gah! I still cringe just thinking about it. Anyhoo, we got to talking about how one day I wanted to help authors pursue their dreams (aka, be an agent). One thing led to another, and now I find myself a very happy assistant to Tricia Skinner, reading to my heart’s content and learning as much as I can about the literary industry.

2. You write YA. Tell us a little about your manuscript.

I see what you’re doing, Trish. Putting me on the spot. 

The Princess Bride meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower in Discovering Aurora. Aurora “Rory” Skylar has always been the ideal Asian-American daughter–silent and successful. The plan is simple: graduate high school, attend a reputable university, and become a doctor. Her entire future, her worth as a human being, is contingent on following this plan. Rory’s heart, however, lies within the moment where mere words transform into worlds, not in sterile labs or stethoscopes. But pursuing her dreams to write and travel come at the cost of disappointing her parents–a cost she isn’t sure she’s willing to pay.

In the ten years that I’ve worked as a private tutor, I’ve found a growing trend where youth increasingly seem to lack foresight for a future they want due to high parental pressures and expectations. Through my readers’ journey with Rory, I hope they learn to not yield even during challenging moments, realize that now is only a small blip in their life and they have so much life to live, and most importantly, to pursue a passion that will fulfill them–even if it may not include fortune nor fame. With my story, I hope readers learn to choose happiness.

3. You and I enjoy meeting and helping marginalized voices be heard. Why is diversity so important to you?

Yes, we do! GO TEAM DIVERSITY! 

Our country is often described as a melting pot, a blending of all of those who live in our country. Personally, I think we’re more like an awesome cheeseburger–I’m talking a 4×4 from In-n-Out with all the fixings like banana peppers, animal style sauce…{drooooool} What my hunger-inducing analogy is trying to say is: we’re a country composed of different cultures, histories, and influences, and together, we create a beautiful nation.

Our literature, shows, and movies should reflect our rich, unique, and multifaceted world. This allows us to not only celebrate our differences but also widen our awareness, increase our education, and become more empathic.

4. What would someone be surprised to learn about you?

Always with the tough questions. I feel like surprising would be something like “I’ve lived under a cupboard most of my life only to discover I’m a wizard” or “I slayed a dragon when I was a wee lass.” Alas, I have not done any of those. But a fun fact might be that I’m an immigrant to the United States from the Philippines. My mom busted her patootie as a single-parent and earned us both an opportunity for a better life in this beautiful and free nation. 

Thanks for being awesome, Karly!