YA Authors Maurene Goo and Julia Ember Talk About Their Fictional Crushes


Today we have authors Maurene Goo and Julia Ember who will reveal their most memorable fictional crushes. Goo is the author of Since You Asked, she also has an upcoming novel, I Believe in a Thing Called Love, soon to be released this May. It’s been dubbed by Dramabeans as their “K-Drama YA novel alert.” While, Ember is the prolific author of Unicorn Tracks . In addition, she has two upcoming books to be released this year titled The Seafarer’s Kiss, which is an f/f mermaid retelling, and The Tiger’s Watch.

Hollywood News Source invited Goo and Ember to share the fictional characters that shaped their childhood and while growing up.

Maurene Goo

Fictional crushes can you get you through some hard times.

Say, your entire adolescence? When you had about the same odds of getting your crush to like you as you did Pa Ingalls?


You read that correctly. My fictional crush for most of my childhood, who has still stuck with me to this very day, is Pa Ingalls from The Little House on the Prairie series. (Book, not show, very important distinction!). Also known as Charles Ingalls. And yes, technically, he was an actual person but he was fictional to me when I gobbled up those books as a kid.

Listen, I don’t have weird dad issues. It’s just that even as a child I found capability and an adventurous spirit really, really romantic. I’m a feminist who likes my men able to get things done.

And Charles Ingalls? He got things done. He built every home of theirs from scratch. He was a musician! He smoked venison in a hollowed out tree.  He planted gardens that fed the family for the entire year.

Was he problematic? Sure. His take on Native Americans was nothing short of terrible. He loved bragging about his wife being so thin that he could span her waist with his two hands.

But he also protected his family. He loved the American West. He called his daughter HALF PINT. (I am a sucker for cute nicknames.) And even though his wanderlust is why the family moved so many damn times, he was Laura’s compass, her bedrock.

Is it a coincidence that I ended up marrying a boy from Idaho who can fix anything, play the guitar, and install a drip system into our vegetable garden?

Probably not.

Julia Ember

When Sue asked me to write this post, my brain immediately jumped to the long list of recent fictional crushes I’ve had over the years. I’m a strong believer in the “you can’t write if you don’t read” mantra, so I’ve definitely had quite a few book girlfriends and boyfriends over the past few years, as my reading has picked it up in pace. I’ve written a few posts about the book girlfriends, so for this blog, I wanted to write something a little bit different. In this post, I’m focusing exclusively on pop culture/book crushes I had while I was actually a teenager. I can’t remember them all, but here are a few of my most memorable. Hopefully my advancing age won’t show too much!

Although I didn’t come out until college, I knew I was bi from the age of about twelve. My first “in real life” crush was on one of my best-friends; a gorgeous goth girl with a *gasp* tattoo and a fuck the establishment attitude. She was out as a lesbian, and while I always wanted to tell her how I felt, I never worked up the courage. I didn’t fit in very well at school and wasn’t very comfortable in my own body. I always thought that things would be better for me in college (they were) and I think that was part of the reason so many of my fictional crushes were years older me.


Alanna of Trebond from The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce, circa 2001-2003, aged 12-14

Alanna was my first true booklady love. They say the first love is the deepest, and even now, many years later, I still swoon for Alanna when I crack open one of my weathered Tamora Pierce books. I’ve described her before as my sexy hedgehog. She has quite a bristly exterior and doesn’t like to dwell on her vulnerabilities. But underneath lies a deep loyalty towards her friends and a strong nurturing side, plus she’s absolutely brilliant at Secret Santa. I’ve always imagined her as quite petite and androgynous, as she passes for a boy very successfully for years while training as a Knight in the books. She’s a strong mage with a quick temper, described with bright violet eyes.

YA wasn’t as established when I was growing up, and there was a serious lack of strong female characters in the category. Tamora Pierce was a pioneer in so many ways – casting girls who could fight as MCs, talking openly about sex and periods in her books. I know so many YA authors today who feel they owe a debt to Tamora Pierce.

Michael Scofield from Prison Break, circa.  2005-2006, aged 16-17

This show is still popular, so many of you may have seen it. While I wasn’t wild about seasons 2,3,4, I was in love with Prison Break in its first season, and for me, Michael Scofield completely stole the show. Michael gets himself commended to a maximum security prison on purpose, with the noble goal of saving his innocent brother from Death Row. Wentworth Miller was, and still is, a gorgeous man. I found his eyes captivating. I LOVED the character of Michael’s ingenuity in designing the prison layout as a blue tattoo on his frankly stunning body. I also found his total dedication to his brother endearing and I was jealous of his flirtations with Sarah, the prison doctor. I watched this show religiously.

Catherine of Aragon, from The Other Boleyn Girl (the book) by Philippa Gregory, circa 2003-2004, aged 14-15

The Other Boleyn Girl was probably the first book I read as a teenager that had significant erotic content. Prior to reading it, I’d been on a Crime kick and had mostly been reading John Grisham. Just past puberty, I was completely transfixed by the scandalous interactions of Mary, Anne and King Henry VIII. But the star of the show for me, was Catherine of Aragon. Described as a dark Spanish beauty, both in history and by the book, Catherine was FIERCE in her defence of her position, her marriage and her daughter. She literally refused to back down and betray what she believed right up until her death. The book is told from Mary’s perspective, sister to Anne Boleyn, and describes how she first became the lover of Henry VIII and later bore him two children. Although none of the book did not cast Catherine as a romantic heroine, while reading, I remember thinking very vividly that Henry VIII (both the character and the real man) had to be absolutely out of his mind to prefer vapid, no-personality Mary or manipulative Anne to Catherine, with her refined grace and intelligent banter.