We have another interview for you today, this time with Linden A. Lewis, whose sci fi debut The First Sister, releases next month. If you, like me, love reading books which fully recognise the fact that space is gay, you need to pick this one up.
So, let’s dive in! And don’t forget, you can also follow them on twitter.
Let’s start at the beginning. How did you first get into writing?
I’ve been writing since I can remember, scribbling stories on sheafs of notebook paper and stapling them together to show my mom. In high school, I kept writing with friends, passing stories back and forth in our own games of roleplay. It was finally in college that I decided to take writing seriously and draft a novel of my own.
What are your favourite genres to read and write?
Science fiction and fantasy, all the way. I don’t care if they’re YA or adult, I just love the worlds so distant and yet so close to our own. I’ve also been digging more into horror lately.
And are there any genres or tropes you wouldn’t write?
I never want to say never. I used to think I’d never want to write stories with dragons in them, then I came up with an idea that intrigues me. Joke’s on me!
How do you get inspiration for your books?
Reading. Bitching about our current world. Or jogging, believe it or not. A lot of my ideas come from letting my mind roam free as I run.
Do you have a writing playlist? And if you do, does it focus more on the lyrics or melodies, vibe of the songs?
I’m a bit of a weirdo when it comes to music. For the most part, I write in silence (or the ambient sounds of a café). I do have a playlist of 4-5 songs for whatever story I’m writing, mostly because of the vibes, sometimes the lyrics, but I listen to those songs when I’m plotting and planning as opposed to when I’m doing the nitty gritty writing part.
What’s your writing process? At what point do you let other people read your drafts and who are they?
My “big idea” comes first, and then I start thinking of ways to take that idea and put it into a format (whether it’s novel or short story worthy). Once I’ve gotten a good handle on the world and the characters that inhabit it, I make a very basic outline (usually one sentence a chapter, very short). After that it’s just grinding out the story! Once I have a rough draft, I let my partner, who I met at the Odyssey Writing Workshop, read it first to give me feedback. He’s still the first person to read everything, even before my agent and editor!
Summarise your most recent/next book in up to 5 words and a meme.
Queers and explosions in space!
Which three authors would you say influenced your writing the most?
I would be remiss if I didn’t name Margaret Atwood. I’ve been reading her a long time and am deeply inspired by her process. In college, I found Leigh Bardugo and was so inspired by her that I began writing seriously. Lately, I’ve been so inspired by my fellow Odyssey graduate Rebecca Kuang who wrote The Poppy War. We were in the same workshop class, and it’s been amazing to see how far she’s come from our summer days to her newest novel, The Burning God.
If (when!) your book(s) were to be made into movies, who would you like to direct them?
Oh wow, I can’t even imagine. I have no clue who I’d like to direct them! Someone would would be true to the world and characters, that’s my only caveat.
And for something that is also very important to us & what we put a lot of emphasis on when blogging. What does ownvoices LGBT representation mean to you?
To me, it means that the author has put a piece of their soul into the book. Of course, no one’s queer experience is going to be exact to anyone else’s, but to see “this is an ownvoices story” means I’ll be getting a glimpse into that person’s journey, and I’m intensely thankful for that.
Rec us some great LGBT books you’ve read recently! One can never have enough recommendations!
I highly recommend Micaiah Johnson’s upcoming title, The Space Between Worlds. As for some novels already available, I loved Melissa Caruso’s The Obsidian Tower and Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea.
What’s one piece of advice you would like to give your younger self?
“Live to spite them.” I would tell myself it gets better, but remembering what I was like as a teen, that wouldn’t do a thing. But telling myself that I succeed despite the machinations of everyone set in my path? That’s how to keep me going, haha.
If you could have dinner with one member of the LGBT community, dead or alive, who would it be?
If I had a time machine, I’d want to hang out with Sappho on Lesbos and write some amazing poetry. Not that my poetry would be any good, but maybe she could help me out with that!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Linden A. Lewis (she/they) is a queer writer and world wanderer currently living in Madrid with a couple of American cats who have little kitty passports. Tall and tattooed, Linden exists only because society has stopped burning witches.
Linden attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2016, and her short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #225. She is represented by Alexandra Machinist at ICM Partners in New York City. Her novel, The First Sister, is scheduled to come out in 2020.
While there is a 95% chance Linden is a cryptid, she can often be spotted in the wild cosplaying or acting (yes, she appeared in an episode of The Walking Dead). Nowadays, she is most frequently found lurking on both Instagram and Twitter.