When I was in my teens, I had bad skin. Not a smattering of hormonal zits that disappears the next week, but the kind of painful, under-the-skin cysts that never pops but just “lurks about in a red manner” (thank you, Louise Rennison, for that line). Acne affected my self-confidence, and while platforms like Instagram are great because you can curate how/when/what you reveal of yourself, they can be damaging too. One of my characters in The Gilded Wolves, Zofia, struggles with her skin. She doesn’t punish herself for feeling bad about her face, even if I did as a teen. As a teen, I wanted to be seen as desperately as I did not want to be looked at all, and Zofia is in some ways wish-fulfillment, someone who realizes that even if an ailment was “skin deep,” the consequent emotions aren’t shallow, that even if it went away, that feeling of isolation would be its own scar to overcome and, with time, fade.