One of the writers set to debut her fiction writing in WARRIOR is Natalie Cannon. She is currently working towards earning her Creative Writing MFA at Fairleigh Dickinson University, as well as ‘gaying everything up and smashing the patriarchy’. That’s our kind of writer!
Natalie’s story, Howl, started out as a dream. She dreamt she was a werewolf and woke up with sore legs after an intense rooftop chase. She stored the images in her head and the idea eventually ended up as Sherlock fanfiction. From there, it was transformed into an original work, one day when she needed a last-minute short story for a Creative Writing class, before finally making its way into the WARRIOR anthology. What a journey!
But Natalie’s way into this anthology began even earlier.
‘I’ve been a huge sucker for ladies in armour since the age of twelve,’ she says. ‘A question that twelve-year-old me grabbed on to was whether I wanted to be Joan of Arc or meet Joan of Arc and, since I’m Catholic, I settled on making her my guardian saint. Moving forward, I wrote almost exclusively LGBTQIA stories. The WARRIOR project is a perfect intersection of my interests – although the armour has turned into werewolf fuzz.’
Neither of the main characters in her story are meant to be read as straight; one is a lesbian, the other a genderfluid pansexual. As with the other stories in WARRIOR, though, the gender and sexuality of the characters are not the main focus of the plot. Natalie thinks it is important that young people can find stories about characters with different identities and experiences than what is considered the default.
‘Being a teenager is like being trapped in a time-warped identity crisis while someone screech-sings creepy opera in the background,’ she says. ‘It’s a time when life experience is low, but knowledge level is very high. Teens and young adults are searching for life’s possibilities in a dizzy panoply of choices, testing to see what they can and can’t do, trying to decide who they want to be. It’s not only important, but also a responsibility for those older to show them every possibility and encourage exploration. Stories do this.’
Although this will be Natalie’s first published short story, she has previously had three poems in print.
‘They were about the frustrations of studying history, a weird painting that got the Gilligan’s Island theme song stuck in my head and metaphorically setting myself on fire,’ she says.
WARRIOR, a collection of LGBTQIA short stories
If you want to buy WARRIOR and read Natalie Cannon’s story, or donate copies of the book to your local school or library, remember to check out our Kickstarter campaign.
You can connect with Natalie on her Twitter (and possibly pester her for copies of her poetry).