Author interview: Claudie Arseneault

When Claudie Arseneault saw our call for submissions for WARRIOR, she wanted to write about LGBTQIA characters who weren’t romantically involved. In her story Seida the Fairy-Troll, the main character is a lesbian and her best friend is aromantic and asexual.

Claudie Arseneault, author of Seida the Fairy-Troll

Claudie Arseneault, author of Seida the Fairy-Troll

‘Their respective queerness isn’t important to the plot itself,’ Claudie says. ‘It’s more a case of LGBTQIA characters starring in their own stories.

When we sat down to plan WARRIOR, we knew we didn’t want all the stories to focus on romance. In many people’s minds, being queer is still something entirely sexual rather than a small part of a larger identity, and this is often how queer characters are represented. But, as rare as it is to find non-romantic LGBTQIA characters in media, it’s far rarer to find characters who don’t feel romantic or sexual attraction at all. And this is exactly why they’re important, according to Claudie.

‘I really wish there had been any kind of asexual or aromantic representation during my youth. Mainstream storytelling taught me that only robots didn’t have desire and that only villains didn’t love. No wonder I found myself rooting for the bad guys so often! No one should have to go through their formative years thinking they’re broken or condemned to tragedy.’

If Claudie could go back in time and give her 15-year-old self the perfect short story, she says it would have to be a tale featuring an ‘aromantic, asexual science girl who solves mysteries based on Québec’s folklore with her winged cat companion’. Besides this sounding like an awesome story, Claudie says a clear aromantic and asexual protagonist could have saved her ‘some serious sads’.

"Fairies are meant to fly—to zip around, looping and twisting, buzz-buzz, look at my pretty shimmering wings, or something." - Seida the Fairy-Troll by Claudie Arseneault

“Fairies are meant to fly—to zip around, looping and twisting, buzz-buzz, look at my pretty shimmering wings, or something.” – Seida the Fairy-Troll by Claudie Arseneault

She was attracted to the WARRIOR project because it looked fun: ‘I loved how the call allowed a wide range of stories. I’m a novel-writer by nature, but calls like these are enough to make me set aside the longer form and enjoy myself with shorts.

‘I love being in projects with other writers and editors,’ she adds. ‘Being edited by a skilled editor is always such a joy. You learn a lot from it.’

In addition to writing novels like her post-apocalyptic Viral Airwaves, Claudie is passionate about squids and all other cephalopods, and is a freelance editor. Last year, she edited an anthology of dragon-filled solarpunk short stories with writer and friend Brenda J Pierson. And we are really lucky, because Claudie has offered her editorial skills to you through our Kickstarter!

For the £50 “Warrior of the mighty pen” perk, Claudie will help you with your sci-fi/fantasy short story! In addition to her feedback and guidance, you will receive the WARRIOR anthology as an ebook – for inspiration purposes.

WARRIOR, a collection of LGBTQIA short stories

If you want to support WARRIOR and read Claudie Arseneault’s story, check out our Kickstarter campaign.

You can read more about Claudie on her website, check out her novels on Goodreads and connect with her on Twitter.

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Author interview: Natalie Cannon

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 Cannon, author of Howl

Natalie Cannon, author of Howl

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.’

"I'm boneless and floating and nothing is real, not even Rafe, not even the fire." – Howl by Natalie Cannon

“I’m boneless and floating and nothing is real, not even Rafe, not even the fire.” – Howl by Natalie Cannon

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).