Hello folks! I’m trying to get back into blogging with some interviews, and I’m delighted to start of my new series of interviews #QWritersTalk, interviews by and for queer writers, with my dear friend Lore! Take it away, Lore!
Introduce yourself to us!
Hello! I’m Lore Graham and I’m an author of queer speculative romance. I’m non-binary and use ze/zir pronouns. When I’m not writing, I’m usually working at my day job, cooking, or reading. I live with my two partners and my fluffy cat, Udon, in Massachusetts.
I really admire your detailed world building. What can you tell us about your process?
Thank you! My world building process is guided by two dueling principles: let the world expand as it will, and build a world that can support characters
I love letting my mind wander, jumping from idea to idea as fast as I can jot them down. Last month, for example, I set out one day to figure out common outfits on Mars, and I ended up not just deciding on clothing pieces but writing a list of color associations in their culture and detailing preferred facial piercings and favored jewelry materials.
As much as I enjoy that, I also have to make sure I don’t lose sight of my eventual goal. So I keep circling back to the question of, “What do I really need to know about this world to let my characters live in it and tell a story?” Throughout the initial world building process, and the many rounds of writing and revision, I make lists of the most important things I need to know about my setting. The lists usually have pieces that are more challenging because of the amount of internal consistency required, like timelines and city maps, but it ensures I stay focused on what I need as well as what I want to explore.
What are you working on right now?
This spring and summer, I’m working on the third draft of Mars Cars (working title). It’s a F/F romance set in in a space fantasy universe where humanity has colonized most of the solar system. The protagonist is a race car driver from Callisto, one of Jupiter’s moons, who’s trying to rise in the ranks while struggling with her own fears and unexpectedly falling in love.
What would you say your favorite stage of the creative process is?
My favorite part of the creative process is definitely worldbuilding. For me, it’s the most indulgent part of creating a story, when I can be as messy and as weird with my ideas as I want to be. Designing a world is a daunting task, especially so when I’m not leaning heavily on a real-world analogue, but it’s so satisfying.
How/where do you usually get inspiration for your stories?
Everywhere! From poems, movies, and other media, from nonfiction and history, as well as anecdotes from my friends and lived experiences from my own life. The hard part for me is taking that spark of inspiration and giving it the right kindling to build a strong, lively story.
What advice do you have for other writers starting out?
Don’t give up! It sounds like such cliche advice, but the longer I write the more I realize that patience and tenacity are crucial. When I was younger, I yearned to translate the emotions I felt into brilliant stories. But I found I usually ended up dwelling on the feelings and giving up because I couldn’t find an easy way to turn them into stories. Now, I know there is no shortcut: just keep writing.
Tell us about your upcoming releases!
My novella Between Points of Light is coming out on May 29th. It’s a sci fi romance with two gay cis men who work for a planetary exploration corporation. The protagonist has been doing this work for years and has lost his enthusiasm thanks to the bureaucratic and practical realities of the job, but a new crew member ensures his next expedition is anything but boring.
I’m also excited to announce that my first published short story, Other, Like the Sun to the Planets, will be coming out in August in Vulture Bones magazine. It’s set in the same universe as Mars Cars, and explores issues of family and gender expectations.
What kind of rep do you want to read more of in fiction?
I’m always looking for more non-binary representation in fiction. Over the past several years, I’ve been slowly starting to see some non-binary characters in speculative fiction stories, but still not nearly often enough. Being non-binary in today’s binary-obsessed world can be exhausting, even though I’m fortunate enough to have an oasis in my largely-non-binary friend group, so I find it validating and comforting to see people like me in the stories I read.
Share some recommendations for the above!
I can’t recommend Provenance by Ann Leckie enough. It has an anxious but sweet protagonist, lovely worldbuilding, and a society where the gender trinary – not binary – is the norm. E/em pronouns are used for several characters in the novel. Ana Mardoll’s No Man of Woman Born is also very good, a short story collection filled with trans and non-binary protagonists,
My favorite romance with a non-binary character is Pyre at the Eyreholme Trust by Lin Darrow. It’s filled with gangsters, action, and magic. I don’t believe the protagonist ever uses a specific label, but he/she alternates between pronouns depending on whether he/she’s presenting masculine or feminine.
Last but not least, give us links to where we can support you?
You can find my queer speculative romances here! All my novellas are available as e-books on Amazon and at LT3 Press’s website. Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are much appreciated as well. I also write poetry, which has been published by Strange Horizons, Vulture Bones, Liminality, The Asexual, and other venues. My poems are all free to access online.
A big thanks to Lore for being my first #QWritersTalk guest, and good luck with the release of Between Points of Light!