Get Your Story Straight

Get Your Story Straight is a queer YA graphic novel that follows Henry, a 19-year-old trans man out to everyone except his conservative Christian parents, planned for release by Hachette Australia in September 2024.

Henry and his housemates, drawn for the announcement!

When Henry realises his best shot at accessing top surgery is faking an engagement to his friend Cooper, he learns it isn’t easy to plan a wedding—even a fake one. His mum wants to control everything, his dad is convinced that nonbinary Cooper is a closeted gay man, Henry might be developing feelings for his fake fiancé…and the Australian Government has just announced the 2017 Marriage Equality plebiscite.

Is the cost of staying closeted worth the pain of coming out? What does a fake wedding mean if you’re not allowed to have a real one? And is a person really torn to pieces by a crocodile in North Queensland every three months?

Get Your Story Straight is my big transgender love letter to the romcom genre (specifically, literary classics like As You Like It, She’s The Man, and The Proposal). I’ve always resonated with stories about false identities, cross dressing, and fake relationships, because if you grow up in the closet, those tropes are just part of everyday life.

I’m excited to work on this book because I’m getting to represent parts of the Australian queer experience I’ve never seen before—growing up rural, sharehousing in the city, the marriage equality debate, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It matters to me to be able to draw a story that feels like it belongs here!

I’m thrilled that Hachette Australia are committing to Australian graphic novels. Australia has a thriving comics scene with a tonne of phenomenal artists, but very few of them are traditionally or commercially published. There’s a huge pool of exciting and diverse stories just waiting to told—Australia Council’s Graphic Storytellers At Work (2021) showed that 19% of comic artists under the age of 29 are trans and nonbinary!

I’ve been incredibly well supported to tell this story by my agent Danielle Binks, by Comic Art Workshop, and by grants from Australia Council for the Arts and from Creative Victoria. And huge ups to the Kat Muscat Fellowship, who support their runners-up really well—thank you to Veronica Sullivan for connecting me with my agent, and to Lucy Hamilton for the ‘how to apply for grants’ tips!

  • christmas 2016

    An illustration of my graphic novel characters, Henry (a trans man) Electra (a trans woman), and Cooper (a nonbinary person), in various stages of undress on the back verandah of a weatherboard house. It’s decorated for Christmas. Everyone is sweating, and Electra is holding a glass of water that’s dripping with condensation. Between you and me, I would describe the atmosphere as “lightly horny”
    christmas 2016: no aircon in the sharehouse (2021)

    Believe it or not, drawing sweaty trans people is the meaning of Christmas 🧑‍🎄

  • designing a big gay sharehouse

    a dark sharehouse full of queer friends cooling off after a hot day. A trans woman at the entrance says, "welcome!"
    the sharehouse cutaway that made it into my graphic novel pitch.

    Like most millennials, I love staring at floor plans on real estate websites and imagining “”owning”” a “”home.”” I can finally excuse the psychic damage: it turns out this is a really useful trait for a cartoonist to have.

    The sharehouse is a recurring setting that represents authenticity and safety for my characters, so I need to know where everything is and where everything goes. This also helped me get a feel for all the housemates, who at this point existed as dot points only.

    a floor plan for a messy sharehouse, based off several real estate photos of actual houses for sale. Some of the houses have been knocked down and turned into shitty gentrified apartments! Boo!
    thank you to real estate websites, as well as to everyone who hasn’t renovated their bathroom

    My notes called for:

    Henry, Electra, Anira, Corey and Nassim live in the same sharehouse. Their ageing weatherboard house has a grungy, welcoming, down to earth vibe. The sharehouse is full of light and activity…sandwiched between a super fancy gentrified apartment block, where a house just like it was sold and knocked down, and a house owned by an old Italian couple with a bountiful garden.

    Henry's sharehouse exterior, with notes saying it's weatherboard, flaking, a bit wonky. Henry's room is very small and has second hand furniture.
    It’s more or less impossible to rent a place like this in Footscray now. Pour one out for the fallen 🥲

    The floorplan of the house shows that Henry is in the smallest room in what is technically a four bedroom house; he’s tucked away in the lowest rent room, a small once-storeroom at the back. The house overall hasn’t been redecorated or renovated at all since the 70s, and it’s full of mismatched second-hand furniture, fairy lights, milk crates as chairs, and pride flags. Almost all the furniture in this home was rescued out of hard rubbish on the side of the road.

    the sharehouse kitchen/lounge is based off a sharehouse I lived in once, which had a weird 70’s arch and a lounge room… window? situation?

    I really did love sharehousing, but wow… I think my biggest challenge as an artist is going to be representing a realistic mountain of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink.