Interview with

AUTHOR

Transcript and Interview Notes

("N" denotes Nicole, "R" denotes Robin, "H" denotes Hannah Abigail Clarke)

Timestamps are placed at the beginning of each question asked and may be included within sections if section is more than three minutes long.

Major Works Discussed

  • The Scapegracers

Book Recommendations from the Interview

  • Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

  • Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

  • Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

  • Ruthless Gods (sequel to Wicked Saints) by Emily A. Duncan

  • Gideon The Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

  • The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

  • A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Where you can find Clarke

Main Interview, Part 2

Transition to part two of the interview (00:00)

N: Alright, we are going to go ahead and transition to the second spoiler filled half.

H: I love transitioning.

N: Not necessarily spoiler filled, but you know. Free range...

R: ...Spoiler-potential.

N: Yeah, uh, do you need a break? Do you need to get water? Do you need anything before we start?

H: I’m good.

N: Ok.

H: I’d get up, but that sounds like a lot of work, so.

R: [laughs]

N: That’s fair. Alright. What’s our time stamp? Uh, 35.

Have you ever started writing a trauma in one of your books, and had it have less of an impact than intended? (0:35)

N: Ok, uh, so - you have a lot of different types of trauma in this book.

R: [laughs] Yeah.

N: And a lot of different characters, that are impacted by it right?

H: Yeah.

N: Uh, you’ve kinda talked about how the trauma - the traumas are kind of seen by you as an author. Have you ever had a trauma that you wrote out and you intended to have - to have as a pretty major impact and then it just doesn't? Or it has less of an impact than you were intending?

H: Uh, with Daisy a little bit.

N: Ok.

H: Yeah, with Sideways like, Sideways is pretty - I know her character really well and so it’s easy for me to predict like, the affective state she will be in in response to a given stimuli.

N: Mmmhm.

H: Uh, like Daisy was kinda like a character who was mysterious to me like the first draft I wrote it, like Daisy’s name changed a bunch of times and...

N: ...Oh.

H: Yeah, like what I know about her now um, ‘cause she’s my favorite. I love her. Um, I did not know about her when I started writing. Like, I think...

N: ...Hmmm...

H: ...even though I’m not somebody who usually has an experience that I’ve heard other authors have, where like a character speaks onto them, um, as though they’re being visited by...

R: [laughs]

H: ...like that archangel Michael...

N: ...The ghost of character...

H: ...Yeah...

N: ...future.

R: One - one of our previous interviewees uh, described it that way for him.

H: Yeah, it’s a - I - I know a lot of authors who speak about it in those terms. Um, that’s fun. Yeah, she was more just like - she was puzzling in that I knew something was going on with her beyond just the fact that her mother is dead.

N: Mmmm, mhmm.

H: And I wasn’t sure exactly what that was, and like her - and I can’t tell you here ‘cause it’s a second book spoiler um...

N: ...Oh...

R: ...Yeah...

N: ...that’s fair. [laughs]

H: Like Daisy is someone who’s overlapping trauma with Sideways right? They’ve both lost a parent.

N: Mmhmm.

H: Feels very different. Sideways lost a parent she was really attached to. She - like it was a tragic accident, like a weird freak accident, and Daisy’s mother committed suicide and so she feels kind of resentful and sometimes loudly doesn’t feel about that and also sometimes is very angry and very upset in way I think are like, so - somewhat visible, but….

R: ...Mmmhmm...

H: ...Daisy is very good at presenting Daisyness right? Where she’s - ah, I wouldn’t say chipper but she has a certain...

N: ...Positive?

H: Yeah. She has a certain vivacity that she’s good at maintaining, um.

R: I usually think of those kinds of people as relentlessly upbeat.

H: Yeah.

N: [laughs]

H: Yeah.

N: [sighs]

H: She’s kind of like a - like if an animaniac was a person.

N: Oh my gosh.

R: [laughs]

H: Yeah.

R: When I was - when I was um, reading the book my, like mental shortcut for how to think about Daisy, pretty early on was like, Ty Lee from Avatar.

H: Yeah.

N: [laughs]

H: Like.

N: [coughs]

H: I - I think Daisy would be into that. Um.

R: Good. [laughs]

H: Even though Daisy would be like an unapologetic “Azula should have won” person, like - like.

R: [laughs]

H: Yeah.

N: Huh. Well but [laughs] my - ok, my immediate reaction to that was, “But Ty Lee didn’t want her to at the end”...

R: ...That was my thought too...

H: ...Yeah, exactly.

R: [laughs]

H: Um.

N: Yeah. [laughs] Ok. [laughs]

H: Yeah, Daisy’s - I - I - from preliminary fan responses, people tend to...

N: [laughs]

H: ...at least from my gleaming, either really like her or really not. Um. Which I think is - is fair. I think that if Daisy was someone who I met I would probably either really like her or really not.

N: [laughs]

R: [laughs]

H: Um, yeah.

N: [laughs] Um.

R: Yeah, usually when I’m thinking about how much I like a character, I never think of it in terms of “Would I want to hang out with them…”

H: ...Oh no...

R: …because often even characters I love, the answer is no.

H: Hard no.

R: [laughs]

H: Yeah.

N: Oh I’m totally the opposite. My favorite characters are the ones where I go, “Ooh, you and I would be best friends.”

H: I mean.

N: [laughs]

R: No. I - I...

N: ...Like...

R: ...I - I tend to really like ones who are terrible people and just, you know...

H: ...I feel like...

R: ...No...

H: ...if you want...

N: [laughs]

H: ...a character to be your best friend, or like, you want the characters you most get along with...

N: ...Now, not that I...

H: ...I would say...

N: ...not that I want them to be my best friend, but like I look at them and go, “If we were in the same place and we had the same goal,” we...

H: ...Oh...

N: ...would work together on purpose...

H: ...Oh yeah.

N: Like if - if that makes sense.

H: Yeah. Yeah.

N: Um like that’s - that’s...

H: That’s the people who...

N: ...think like me, you move like me, you have the same goals I would in your setting, like, it’s that kinda thing. They’re just like, relatable.

H: Are you a Julian and Borris person? ‘Cause I feel like the other - if you don’t really - if you don’t like Daisy, you probably really like Julian and Borris.

R: [laughs] I really...

N: ...That makes sense...

R: ….like Julian and Borris.

H: Yeah. [laughs]

Do you tend to depict characters that match your own lived experiences, or not? What do you use to guide those depictions? (6:08)

R: [laughs] Um, Do you - so - talked a little bit about um, how you write, um, [sighs] like, um - sorry, in general do you tend to depict characters that match your own lived experiences or not? Or just whatever facet of identity?

H: Uh, so like yes and no. Ah, I’m inclined to write characters who are uh, gay.

R: Mmmhmm...

H: Um, yeah, I don’t - at least point of view characters I think are very likely to be lesbians out of me. Um.

N: [laughs]

H: I’d also say that I’m pretty inclined to write white point of view characters. Uh, it has been spoken by people who know more than me that white authors really ought to be writing white characters. Like, research and knowledgeability aside, there are quotas for black and brown protagonists, and how many of those protagonists a given imprint might take on, and I shouldn’t be filling those spaces, so...

R: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...like point of view character’s gonna be white like me, probably going to be lesbians. And experiences from there might vary wildly. Yeah. Like, I - I have some stuff very much overlapping with Sideways, and some stuff I don’t. My mother is very much alive, and has never been hit by a train.

N: [laughs] That’s good.

H: Yeah. We’re...

N: ...That’s a...

H: ...very, very...

N: ...positive thing to not share with Sideways...

H: ...super into our parents not being hit by trains.

N: [laughs]

H: Um.

N: Yeah.

H: Yeah.

N: Um.

What do you think is a good example of queer culture in your books? (7:40)

R: So now that...

N: ...Was gonna say, what do you think is a good...

R: ...now that...

N: ...example of queer culture in your books?

H: Oh. I mean, perhaps it’s not even for me to judge, I mean, that might be more what people think I did and what people didn’t like, but, um.

N: Well, ok. Let’s go with something you were aiming to be that, or - or - or would interest you reading it.

H: I mean...

N: ...If that makes sense.

H: There are intergenerational queer relationships that I very much didn’t have a young person. Um...

N: ...Mmm k...

H: ...in fact Sideways has gay dads and that’s like, Sideways - don’t - the nearest gay bar, like is used to giving her like virgin coctails and….

N: ...Yeah...

H: ...like Sideways doesn’t have the dearth of resources both paper and personal that I had and that I think...

N: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...a lot of rural queer teenagers have, um, and I think that intergeneration, like, queer kinship is very important, um, so I think that would have been important to read as a younger queer person, and now, frankly, like, there are not super many books that I have come across where your queer like, YA characters know adults, queer people who are doing adult things, and having relationships and living their life, you know? Like, there’s life beyond high school and queer people have futures that are nuanced and sometimes frustrating and sometimes triumphant, just like anyone else.

R: Mmhmm.

H: Yeah, so, that - that hopefully will be a thing that is perceived by at least the people who need it.

N: Ok.

Tell us a little about “The Scapegracers” as a book and as a series. (9:22)

R: Now that we are in the spoiler zone, can you tell us if you have anything more you want to say about “Scapegracers” as a book and as a series?

H: Ah, in general anything I wanna say?

R: Well, uh, I don’t know, uh...

N: [laughs]

R: Ah, now that we’re in the zone where you can describe the book with spoilers, is there anything else you...

H: ...Oh...

R: ...would describe about the book?

H: Oh, is this the juncture where we talk about Madeline and trauma?

N: Yes.

R: Uh. Yes. [laughs]

H: [laughs] Uh, I just - she’s had some of that, and she causes some of that, uh, yeah, so even though this is the spoilers section I’m still gonna keep it kinda vague, uh.

N: Oh yeah.

R: Sure. Yeah.

H: Yeah, Madeline is a love interest in this book and she is also a piece of work and she makes decisions about how she wants to deal with her - the hurt that was done onto her uh, that perhaps aren’t gonna be decisions that the audience likes.

N: Hmm.

H: Um, yeah. I - I have a - as a - as “author who therefore knows the inner hearts and minds of the fictional people I create”, I have a lot of sympathy for Madeline, even as she does the things she does. Um.

R: Hmph.

H: Yeah, she’s - she’s a - a scared kid who fucks up and...

N: ...Mmhmm...

H: ….fucks up really, really bad, and like there are gonna be consequences for what she does, right?

N: Yeah.

H: And certainly those consequences will be felt by the people she did them to. Uhm

N: [laughs] Right.

H: I uh, felt pretty hard.

N: I lost, oh. Where’s the thing I was looking for.

H: Oh no.

N: It’s the one we were gonna come back to.

R: Was it about uh, inclusive language?

N: No, that’s after.

R: Uh, ok.

How does setting influence culture in your stories? (11:10)

N: I have that. Oh, uh, ok. So, again, now that we’re in the spoiler-allowed zone, how does setting influence culture in your stories...

H: ...Uh...

N: ...in this particular story?

H: They’re rural. Makes a difference, um.

R: Mmhmm.

N: For - assume that some of our - our listeners have never stepped foot outside of a city.

H: Uh, ok.

N: [laughs] How - how is that different?

H: So, there are - I wanted it to be clear that there are like queer adult people who are living and successful and happy in rural spaces, right? Julian and Borris...

N: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...are pretty happy living where they live, uh, they don’t seem to be making any move to pack up all their shit and go to San Francisco anytime soon.

N: [laughs] Right.

R: Mmhmm. Hm.

H: But at the same time, in rural spaces, people are probably gonna know each other pretty well, or even if you don’t know everyone, you have connections to everyone or you know a person who knows that person.

N: Mmhmm.

H: Your resources are very insular, like you are kind of physically isolated in space, right? Like Sideways could walk for a long time in any direction out of Sycamore Gorge, and only find more woods and soybeans fields, right?

R: Mmhmm.

N: [laughs] Yeah. Just...

R: [laughs]

N: ...fields forever.

H: Fields forever and weird construction zone bits, that never seem to go away.

N: And some corn...

R: ...She might...

N: ...and some wheat...

R: ...occasionally find corn yes?

H: Oh yeah. Well, corn or soybeans depending on the crop rotational cycle, um.

N: [laughs]

H: You know...

N: ...A couple of red barns out in the middle of nowhere.

H: Some red barns, some barns that are brown and falling apart. Um.

N: Oh man.

H: Weird churches and ominus billboards, uh, advertisements for adult superstores, whatever.

N: Shhhhhshsh [laugh].

R: [laughs] So many of those.

H: So many. Uh yeah.

R: [laughs]

H: I think rural’s...

N: ...Right next to the farmer’s market advertisement.

H: Yeah! And a weird yard sale stuff, like there’s a yard sale three miles from here.

N: [laughs]

R: [laughs]

H: It’s - you have to - like if Sideways walks around outside in certain seasons, it would be wise to wear bright colors and say things like “I’m not a deer, don’t shoot me,”

N: [laughs]

R: [laughs]

H: Mmhmm.

N: “Please don’t shoot me, please don’t hit me with your car by accident,”

H: Yeah, like.

N: Please so down when you’re going around the curves that you…

H: [sighs]

N: ...definitely know are there.

H: Yes, and you know, like there also - rural spaces tend to have very insular, like, local politics.

N: Mmhmm.

H: Like there’s the fact that every - not only does everybody kinda know everybody, but the structures of power, I think are a little bit more immediately obvious.

N: Mmm. Mmhmm.

H: Right? Like, Elias Chantry.

N: Yeah, ‘cause you know those people who are passing those laws, and you definitely sold them something at the grocery store...

H: ...Yeah!

N: ...or whatever, like they’re not just this nebulous figure somewhere.

H: Yeah, no like Elias Chantry is someone who you might like, be in a restaurant with.

N: Right.

H: Is friends with one of your like, friend’s parents, you know?

R: [laughs]

N: [laughs] Yeah.

R: Oh, so many - so many friends of friend’s parents.

H: Yeah, so many friends of friend’s parents, and you - this also means, like if you’re Sideways, everybody knows that you are queer.

R: Mmhmm.

H: And not just because you look queer, like it is...

N: …’cause your parents, and who they are...

H: ...Uhuh, like Sideway is...

N: ...where they live...

H: ...somebody - if Sideways was straight she still would be read as queer because her dads are gay, right?

N: Hmm.

R: Yeah.

H: Um, like ss - just every person who Sideways knows, knows Sideways, which can be very frustrating as a queer teenager, particularly, not that this happens in “The Scapegracers”...

R: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...but if Sideways wanted to experiment with like, pronouns, or a different name...

N: ...Ooo, yeah [sighs]...

H: ...everybody knows you, so making that transition [laughs], uh, can be hard, right? Like, it’s pretty feasible to think that no matter what the - the trilogy looks like, there are gonna be characters who Sideways knows who are either main characters or side characters who are gonna...

R: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...look and behave very differently in college when they get to leave this town...

N: [sighs]

H: ...than they do within the town space itself. Like...

N: ...Yeah...

H: ...the fact that...

N: ...Well, thinking about - that even um, like you were saying even something as simple as - as like trying out a - a name change or pronoun change, there’s no - it - it just occurred to me, you know, for people who - who don’t live in this kind of insular setting, you can do that in a particular facet of your life, or in a group. Like you can tell your job, or you can tell your friend group or you can tell your - the - the people in that class you take, or whatever right?

R: Or your sports team.

H: Hm.

N: Or your sports team, yeah, and you can go to that space and those people all will know and treat you a certain way, and it can help, but for something in this kind of a town, not only will everybody know within about ten minutes...

H: ...Mmhmm...

N: ...that you’re trying something new, but there is no separating that from it and trying it in part of a space ‘cause there - it’s not big enough.

H: Mmhmm. I mean...

N: ...Yeah...

H: ...hell, there’s a reason why I didn’t start really seriously using different pronouns until I left the little town I was in right?

N: Yeah.

H: And it - it wasn’t like a fear thing, it’s just getting...

N: ...It’s - it’s too much work.

H: It’s so much - it’s so much.

N: [laughs]

H: Um, and so it’s - it’s - it’s hard.

R: I know - I know when I was leaving the town I was in uh, my partner had just come out as trans...

H: ...Uhuh...

R: ...and I ran into someone from high school and like, you know they asked what was going on, and I was like, “Hi!” and I like you know, didn’t say, “My wife is trans, I’m leaving town forever, bye!” [laughs]

H: Mmhmm.

N: [laughs]

H: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. It...

R: [laughs]

H: ...it - yeah. It’s - the town that we grew up in, uh...

N: ...Yeah...

R: ….And this person had already heard that I’d gotten married, so...

H: ...Ah….

R: [laughs] ...so they...

N: ...Yeah...

R: ...asked about my spouse...

N: ...I - I - I actually...

R: ...and I hadn’t talked to them in five years [laughs].

N: I - I still have - ok, actually we can even talk about this in regards to the three of us, briefly. So...

R: ...We’re roughly from the same area of Ohio.

H: Yeah.

N: Well, so Hannah, I didn’t know you at all...

H: ...Uh huh...

N: ...growing up...

H: ...Yeah...

N: I’m not actually sure exactly how old you are, but I’m twenty-eight, and I was too many years older than you, for sure...

H: ...Yeah...

N: ...to be in any of the same things at all, but we were from the same area, we could have conceivably run into each other right?

H: Mmhmm.

N: And when Robin was initially talking to me about this interview, Robin assumed I knew you...

R: [laughs]

H: [laughs]

N: ...and wanted to update me...

R: [laughs]

H: [laughs]

N: ...on - and - and phrased it that way, wanted to update me on pronouns and that you were an author now, and a whole bunch of other things, and I was like, “What...

H: ...Yeah...

N: ...I don’t even know who you’re talking about,” and Robin just goes, “Hannah!” and I’m like, “Uh, what?”

R: [laughs]

H: [laughs]

N: ...just because there’s that - there’s that assumption because it’s true that if I hadn’t moved away basically as soon as I graduated high school...

H: ...Mmhmm...

R: ...You would have known...

N: ...there’s a pretty good chance...

R: ...Yeah...

N: ...that I would have known who you were by the time you graduated high school...

H: ...Oh yeah...

N: ...just because of that whole community concept….

H: ...Oh yeah...

N: ...and that - that insular-ness but, it was - it was really funny because Robin I think immediately defaulted to, like, rural mode and was like, “Oh, psh, you know who this is,” and I’m like, “Oh, what? No I don’t.” It - it was actually kind of funny because I think we had two conversations about this interview before I said, “Hey Robin, I need you to like actually communicate with me who we’re interviewing and why you think I should know who they are already,”

H: [laughs]

N: Like...

H: ...Hah, yeah...

N: …’cause I thought at first too that maybe you were an author that Robin knew or assumed I had read something else by, and I hadn’t thought of it, and then Robin’s like, “Oh no, this is their first book,” and I’m like, “Ah, ok. Wha….”

H: [laughs] Yeah...

N: “...what am I doing?” It’s kind of - it was kind of funny.

H: I went to high school with a younger sibling of yours.

N: Yeah. [laughs] Which...

R: [laughs]

N: ...I - I mean I know that now, like.

H: Ah.

N: [laughs] Cool.

R: I’m like, “You don’t wanna talk to Hannah, one of my wife’s…”

N: ...And I’m like “What...

R: “….good friends?”

N: Yeah, and in my thought, I’m like, “Are you talking about my best friend?”

R: Also...

N: ...Are you talking about...

R: ...a different person.

N: Are you talking about the Hannah that was two years older than me that graduated two years ahead of me in high school and was in band with me, like, there’s only so many Hannah’s that existed in that area...

H: ...Yeah...

N: ...and I know like five, oh it’s a different Hannah, oh ok. Like [laughs] oh. But it was really funny, ‘cause you were talking about that like, insular culture, and when we were setting up this interview, there was very much an assumption that I would just still think and be that way, and I was like, I left…

H: ...Mmhmm...

N: ...I left at like eight - I - I wasn’t even nineteen and I was gone.

H: Good for you…

N: ...like…

H: ...I took forever.

N: ...I don’t know who this is - yeah.

H: Yeah, yeah I mean.

N: It was funny though.

H: I - I particularly - because I’m somebody who looks odd and very distinct, I - people who I didn’t know would know me sometimes, but...

N: ...Yeah...

H: ...it wouldn’t have surprised me if despite us never having met in person, if you had just miraculously known...

N: [laughs]

H: ...who I was, uh.

R: [laughs]

H: I can appreciate that there are like...

N: ...I mean...

H: ...are not too many goths in Oxford, and that...

N: [laughs]

H: ...also I like - I was a very visual part of - I mean I was the president of a gay club...

R: ...Mmmhmm...

H: ...for two years...

N: ...Insert gay club here...

H: ...in college in this same town, uh, so like I - I was kind the Oxford homosexual for like, a couple years and I...

N: ...Mmmhmm...

H: ...was really easy to spot because I only wear black and at the time I had incredibly long blonde hair, um, so you could like, see me from like fifty yards...

N: [laughs]

H: ...and know exactly who I was. Uh.

N: Yeah.

R: Mmhmm.

H: Yeah.

N: And well, that - that’s the funny thing too, is like, it is totally possible that if I saw a picture of you, I would go, “Oh yeah.”

H: Mmhmm.

N: But just by name, I was like...

H: ...I mean if you were...

N: … “What are we doing?”...

H: ...at Robin’s wedding then you have seen me.

N: I was.

H: So yeah, we’ve been in the same room.

N: We’ve been in the same room. [laughs]

R: [laughs]

N: Yeah.

H: [sighs]

N: It’s just - it’s just - it’s just very funny, you know like that - that definitely came up when we were - we were planning this, and I was like, “What - what’s happening? I got out of that, what are you talking about? Are you doing to me? What’s going on?” [laughs]

R: [laughs] Ah. So.

For our audience at home, please discuss how you use queer-inclusive language in your writing. (21:58)

N: Getting back, ok so we’re going to transition a little bit from - from rural life I think, maybe.

H: Nah.

N: Well, maybe not. We’ll see.

H: We - we never.

N: We never ever.

R: [laughs]

N: Uh [laughs]

R: Uh.

N: I - yeah.

H: It’s in our blood stream. We can’t.

N: Oh yeah.

R: Oh no!

H: We’re trapped.

N: For our audience at home, can you just talk a little bit about how you use queer or LGBTQ+ inclusive language in your writing? Other than the - other than just seeing depictions.

H: Yeah.

N: Um, is there particular wording that you put in there intentionally.

H: Uh, I mean, ok. So this is gonna mark me as within certain political positions, and I don’t really care about that, um.

N: Ok. [laughs]

H: Um, I...

R: ...It’s also...

H: ...use the word queer a lot.

R: This is the half of the interview that people have to pay us in order to have access to...

H: ...Oh, yeah...

R: ...which currently limits its reach slightly

N: Yeah.

H: I mean, my politics are not a secret.

R: Ok.

N: That’s fair.

H: Y’all have seen twitter.

N: [laughs]

R: [laughs]

N: Yeah.

R: Yeah.

N: It’s true.

H: Like I’m - I really like the word “queer”. I...

R: ...Mmmhmm..

H: ...there are slurs...

N: ...It’s - it’s nice and inclusive and...

H: ...it is...

N: ...easy and not something you have to memorize.

H: And also, it was like thoroughly reclaimed in the ‘80’s...

N: ...Yeah...

H: ...and the word - like if we’re - if we’re being real in rural spaces, the words that people use if they want to hurt me, are usually words like “lesbian”, um.

N: Yeah.

H: Which is...

R: ...Hmm...

H: ...like, should I not use the word lesbian because it’s been used as a slur against me? Uh.

N: I mean, there is no word in that entire set of communities that has not - did not have an origination as some kind of slur or had not been historically used that way.

H: Yeah. And - and...

N: ...Like if you’re eliminating those words, you have - we have no language.

H: Alright, and...

N: ...that’s not just true of this - this section of - of communities, it’s - it’s true in a lot of spaces. It….

H: ...Yeah, like Sideways thinks about herself in super queer terms. Queer...

R: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...is the primary identity of people of “The Scapegracers”, she doesn’t specify beyond that, and I don’t think that she probably will. I think that’s probably the label that she’s gonna stick with, uh. I - like whereas it’s important to Jane to use the word “bisexual”, so she does. Um.

N: Mmmhmm.

H: Like, there are [sighs] - like in the - in the Delacroix house, everybody in the Delacroix house is like, pretty visually queer I think, and there’s a bunch of like...

R: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...queer art hanging on the walls, and like, their server has a big ole necklace, with “them” on it. Yeah, I - I don’t know. It’s - it’s weird for me to approach “How do I use queer inclusive language,” because I don’t know what other language I would use. I know that I try to...

N: ...Well, I mean, yeah. I mean even - even things like explicitly saying, “This character is bisexual. This character is…” like that...

R: ...And - and you don’t have to call it out...

N: ...matters...

R: ...for every character in order for...

N: ...No...

R: ...it to be an inclusive space.

N: No. But...

R: ...Um...

N: ...but having it be like, “Oh they’re, you know, because they like ‘women’.” like that’s...

H: ...Oh no, hate that.

N: [laughs]

R: [laughs]

N: Yeah, but like that’s - that’s kind of what - I mean we, you know, we assume that our - some of our listeners also hate that and just care about the things like, you putting the word bisexual down in writing on paper.

H: Yeah.

N: Like, you know, that’s - that’s...

H: ...I...

N: ...that matters.

H: I mean...

N: ...So...

H: ...we mentioned, like, invisibility and hyper visibility earlier.

N: Yes.

H: And I think a lot of queer people often experience like degrees of both of those things at the same time and...

N: ...Mmmhmm...

R: ...Mmmhmm...

H: ...like while Sideways is hyper visible as queer and is like the target of verbal, and sometimes non-verbal violence because of that...

N: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...there are scapegracers who are subject to violence in the form of erasure of huge spots of who they are, um...

R: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...right, like heteronormativity can be violent.

N: Mmhmm.

H: Um, and none of the scrapegracers are spared that, right? Like that’s tied up with just misogyny as well.

N: Yeah.

H: Um, those things are very much intertangled and the invisibility of their own desire and their own happiness, not their own happiness but um, the - the things that make them happy are subsumed under, like a set of assumptions about girls like them, and that there are girls like them that are an identifiable type that have an identifiable...

N: [laughs]

H: ...like taxonomical...

R: [laughs]

H: ...rules, you know, like it’s important for Jane to say that she’s bisexual because that’s something that’s stripped from her because she’s living in a heterosexist society right?

N: Right.

H: Um, where it’s not always important for - eh, maybe with Sideways it is, but like, I - Yates I don’t think would want to be hyper visible. Like...

N: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...pre Yates declaring herself the way Sideways constantly declares herself a lesbian...

N: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...I think would make Yates feel very uncomfortable and unsafe and like there’s too much attention to a particular aspect of her life where she doesn’t think the attention should be put. Um.

N: Hmm.

H: I don’t know. Different queer people are different and want different queer things.

N: Yeah.

R: Yeah.

N: Makes sense.

Sideways has a very traumatic event happen fairly early in the book, how did you decide what was going to happen to Sideways, and how does it continue to impact her later in this first book? (27:24)

R: Ah, uh, back to a specific plot point.

H: Mmm.

R: Sideways has a very traumatic event happen very early in the book.

H: Yeah.

R: How did you decide what was going to happen to Sideways and how does it continue to impact her later within this first book.

H: Uh, are we talking about the witch finders?

R: Uh, yeah!

H: Yeah. Um.

R: To whatever degree you want to discuss that.

H: Yeah, I mean I can say that um, like somebody who was reading the book, asked me when they reached that scene, if there was going to be a scene of sexual violence there.

N: Mmmm.

H: Which I just have personally no interest in writing.

N: Mmhmm.

H: And I - I think it’s also - there’s something to be said about the fact that we’re very trained as readers to expect a scene that is set up like that to culminate in a scene of sexual violence.

N: Mmmhmm.

H: Um.

R: I know I was worried about it when reading that scene.

H: Yeah! And I - I think that a different writer writing that scene probably would have put it in.

N: Hmm.

H: But I just have no desire to do that and like, I don’t need - one, I don’t find it particularly, like on top of me not finding it uh, particularly, uh, appealing thing to write...

N: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...like, you can be really evil and horrible and disrespect people's autonomy without that and...

R: ...Mmmhmm...

H: ...I think that it can sometimes be, um, a very heavy handed, like hamfisted shorthand for, just like, disrespect, like bodily disrespect.

R: Yeah.

H: But that was already happening, right? Like.

N: Yeah.

H: I - it’s already incredibly clear, at least in my mind, that...

N: ...Yeah...

H: ...witch finders don’t particularly respect the bodily autonomy of witches.

N: Uh.

R: [sighs] Absolutely.

H: Yeah.

N: Well and - it - it - it matters too that there’s depictions in general of that kind of disrespect for someone’s body without it always being sexual assault.

H: Yeah.

N: Like...

R: ...That’s...

N: ...that’s such a big deal because there’s such a - I feel like there’s a...

R: …’cause otherwise it...

N: ...a cultural...

R: ...feels...

N: ...assumption that if that - that one thing didn’t happen to you then it was actually fine and it’s like...

R: ...Mmhmm...

N: ...no.

H: No.

N: That’s not how that works.

H: It’s - I - I don’t feel like I need to demonstrate the evilness...

N: ...Yeah...

H: ...of witchfinders by having them do something that the audience will recognize immediately as evil, because they’re doing - they’re being such dickheads. Like they’re being...

N: [laughs]

R: ...Yeah… [laughs]

H: ...like the shittiest teenage boys...

N: [laughs]

H: ...and I just don’t feel the need to...

R: ...The shittiest teenage boys and also some adults, right?

H: Uh, I mean...

R: ...Uh...

H: ...Abel’s an adult, yeah. Like...

R: ...Yeah, yeah...

H: ...Abel’s grown. Levi and Caleb are like Sideways’ age essentially.

N: Ok.

H: And then David is a kid. He’s like, fourteen. No, like Abel’s grown. Abel’s in college, which [sighs].

R: Ok.

H: [sighs] Fuck Abel. Uh.

N: [laughs]

R: Or don’t.

H: Oh god. I - the - the witch finders are really fun to write, because they’re absurd.

N: Yeah.

R: Hm.

H: Yeah, like they’re - they’re not great people. Like, I just - I wasn’t interested in that being why Sideways is afraid of cars, no.

N: Mmhmm.

R: Right.

H: Like, Sideways doesn’t like getting in cars, particularly - maybe it would be different if she’s driving a car perhaps, but like being in a vehicle that’s moving, and making car sounds, and not feeling like you have control over where you are, what your body...

N: ...Mmmhmm...

H: ...is doing, becomes very stressful, as an understatement...

R: ...Mmmhmm...

H: ...for Sideways, here on out right?

N: Mmhmm.

R: Right.

H: And, at - because she lost her bodily autonomy in a car, and I think that that’s traumatizing enough...

N: ...Yeah...

R: ...Yeah...

H: ...and I also, like it’s not like there will never be allusions to sexual assault in my work, right?

N: Mmhmm.

H: ‘Cause particularly in this, this is a contemporary and all of these girls grew up in rape culture, and I find it very unlikely, actually incredibly unlikely, that none of the scapegracers have [ever] been sexually harassed, that none of them know anybody, that even if it hasn’t happened to them personally, have been like some sort of delineation of victim/survivor, um, ‘cause that’s just not what it’s like to be...

R: ...Yeah...

H: ...an AFAB person, living in a misogynist society.

N: Mmmhmm.

H: But that doesn’t mean that I need to, I just - I don’t feel like it’s particularly productive or interesting, for that to be the villains’ MO.

R: Mmhmm.

H: Like there’s so many more creative ways, [sighs] to write people being...

R: ...Hmm...

H: ...assholes that may make you feel like, you actually put some thought into how they’re assholes, you know?

R: Yeah, ‘cause otherwise it - otherwise sexual assault can kind of often end up as an evil for evil’s sake, kind of trope.

H: Yeah.

R: W - where all that you have to do to show that they’re evil is that they do that.

H: Yeah.

N: It’s just...

R: ...Yeah...

N: ...it’s just hard ‘cause then if someone doesn’t do that, then there’s - yeah, there’s a weird argument precedent for saying that that means that they're fine, and...

R: ...and they’re not...

N: ...No...

R: ...here, and your...

H: ...No...

R: ...yeah...

H: ...Sideways was just kidnapped...

R: ...your book...

H: ...by witchfinders...

R: ...makes it very obvious...

H: ...there’s nothing fine about that. The whole...

N: ...Yeah...

R: ...Yeah...

H: ...like...

N: ...Exactly.

H: Being kidnapped by people who want to remove your soul from your body, is like, not ideal. Um.

R: [laughs]

H: And not something that Sideways particularly enjoys or thinks well on.

N: [sighs]

H: They clearly don’t respect her boundaries but I just don’t - I don’t particularly feel the need to write it. I don’t particularly feel the need to put my characters through it, um, or my audience through it, and also that’s not like the kind of villain, uh, well, Levi isn’t an assailant but he is a dick in perhaps overlapping arenas, um, but by in large the witch finders are not assholes for that, they’re assholes because they’re evil witch finders, like...

N: ...Yeah...

R: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...who do witch finding and I think that that should be - illustrative enough of their villainy in the book, right, and I - like, I - I don’t know, just as an author personally...

N: ...Mmhmm...

R: ...yeah...

H: ...I don’t perceive myself writing really any scenes of that explicitly, right?

What were some of Daisy's other potential names? (33:33)

R: Yeah, what were some of Daisy’s other potential names, if you don’t mind saying?

H: Yeah. Daisy...

N: ...I’m just really curious...

H: ...was...

N: [laughs]

H: ...at different junctures of her, like years ago um, Daisy was like Zoey for awhile, um, she’s been Chloe, she’s been Daphne. Like I knew it was a name that ended with an e sound, and I knew that it was a name that, like, I don’t know, like kind of a cartoon name...

R: ...Hmm...

H: ...like I knew Daisy was somebody who was landed with a name that is hyper feminine and kind of infantilizing and was just kind of stuck with it now. And Daisy - like I like names with really chewy syllables...

R: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...and so Daisy fulfilled my desire to have like, phrases like “Yates and Daisy”, where you have the long aa repeated twice, but also, I don’t know...

N: ...Oh...

H: ...there’s just something like, aggressively girly about the name Daisy...

N: [laughs]

H: ...that I think matches Daisy’s particular brand of aggressive girliness.

R: Mmhmm.

N: Ok.

H: And I think, you know, it’s a name that I...

N: ...It’s cool...

H: ...see her being partially resentful to.

N: [laughs]

R: Yeah.

N: That’s cool. Yeah, that’s really cool, that makes sense. I think - personally I think the way people name things and characters is really interesting, and, I don’t know. I think it’s - I think it’s cool to - to know that that character had other things you were thinking about, and like, why.

H: Yeah.

N: I guess.

H: It’s like, usually I have a name decided for a character pretty fast, and it sticks with them.

N: Mmhmm.

H: Like Sideways...

N: ...Oh...

H: ...was always Sideways.

N: [laughs]

What’s one thing you wish you’d gotten the opportunity to talk about? (35:10)

R: Yeah, what - so as we’re wrapping up, what’s one thing you wish you’d gotten the opportunity to talk about?

H: Oh, I hope that in the future, even though I don’t feel as though particularly lacking here...

N: ...Mmm...

H: ...talking about like, queer - intergenerational queer relationships and also like ways of flagging oneself as queer and looking queer...

R: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...and feeling visible as queer, I was excited to talk about those things, ‘cause I feel like...

R: ...Do you want to talk about any of that before we wrap up?

H: I mean, I feel like we’ve kind of talked about both of them.

N: Ok.

R: Ok.

H: It just would be cool to continue to do that. I’m excited for the second book, where - I - I can’t tell you anything that happens, but...

R: ...Yeah [laughs]...

H: ...it’s more of that, some things happen...

R: ...Yeah...

H: ... events.

When building your characters’ identities, are there aspects you intentionally include for everybody? (35:56)

N: Um, I do have one last question.

H: Mmm.

N: Just as kind of - ‘cause we’ve talked about, kind of pieces of a bunch of different things, a little bit, just as kind of an overarching wrap up question, when you’re building your character’s identities, are there aspects that you intentionally include for everybody, or is it kind of a case by case basis? Like, gender, and sexual orientation being one, but also including things like neurodiverge - divergence and disability and ethnicity and body type? Are there things that you intentionally want to have laid out for characters? Or does it - is it kind of just depends on who they are? Or?

H: I mean? There’s certain things that you have to know about a character, kind of from the get go, if you’re writing at least a contemporary. I imagine it’s - it’s different if you’re writing like a - a second world types of generation.

N: Ok.

H: But like, they’re gonna impact like the way that that character has grown up and the way people speak to them, and the way that they see themselves and, you know, that matters.

N: Mmhmm.

H: Um, and - that - that’s like across multiple identity margins, right? Like...

N: ...Mmhmm...

H: ...I try to, and then at the same time as that, I tend to think about a character’s aesthetics really early, um, like, I’ll know that I want - like a thing that will probably show up a lot for me, is they’re gonna be like a really fem character who like wears a lot of like soft, pastel things, and then there’s gonna be like a character who’s like kind of punk or goth or emo, and then there’s gonna be, like, your athleisure character.

N: [sighs]

R: [laughs]

H: And then there’s gonna be like your Bratz doll character, and...

N: [laughs]

H: ...that’s probably gonna show up a lot in my writing, ‘cause I like that, right?

N: Mmhmm.

H: So, alongside all of my, um, a least like the considerations that I - I try to put forward, in making a person the kind of person that they are, like their style matters, and I need there to be the hairbow person in the friend group, and like who’s wearing the high tops and who’s wearing like the really high heels, and who’s wearing like ballet slippers, and who’s wearing the boots, I need to know!

R: Mmhmm.

H: Yeah.

N: [laughs]

Wrap-Up and Outro: Included in Part 1 and Part 2

Do you have a favorite book written by someone else, and if so what makes it your favorite? (38:02)

R: Nice. So for our outro...

H: ...Uhuh?

R: ...uh, items, do you have a favorite book written by someone else and if so what makes it your favorite?

H: [pained sigh] Uh, singular favorite?

R: Well...

N: ...You can have more than one. [laughs]

R: Most recent that comes to your mind. We’re not obliging you to champion this book till the end of time. We just want...

N: [laughs] Yeah...

R: ...what is something that is - I mean I’m someone who has like, a most recent favorite, which...

N: ...Or, it could be the...

R: ...keeps being...

N: ...favorite - yeah. Or - or if you...

R: ...the most recent thing I read.

N: ...have four or five that you just can reread forever and you will love forever, like, we are - we would love to have four to five, or even ten book names to add on here.

H: Um, so ok. First, most recent faves, um. I enjoy “Burn Our Bodies Down” by Rory Power which is also like a lesbian in rural space YA, very creepy, into it a lot. I enjoyed “Cinderella is Dead,” uh, that one’s really fun. Uh, I enjoyed uh, “Girl, Serpent, Thorn,” which I just got. That was a great book. I like “Ruthless Gods” which is a sequel to “Wicked Saints”. I like “Gideon the Ninth” because I’m a lesbian, um which sounds flip but actually it’s really not, um, like it’s probably one of the only books in existence that I can think of that come into my hands anyway, with a butch protagonist, which as a butch person is important, um.

R: Mmhmm.

H: Oh, boy. I’m really excited for “The Year of the Witching”. Hasn’t come out yet, haven’t gotten my hands on a copy yet, but it’s on the top of...

N: ...Soon [laughs]...

H: ...the list. Soon. Um, I liked “[A] Song of Wraith[s] and Ruin” - wraith - wrath and ruin. Um, yeah, I like those a lot.

R: Nice. Yeah.

H: Yeah. Well yeah, I’m just gonna leave it there.

N: Cool.

R: I - my copy of “Cinderella is Dead” had better be in the mail.

N: [laughs]

R: [laughs] Um, waiting for that.

Do you have any queer authors and/or authors of color whose work you’d like to shout-out? (40:08)

N: Um, so, uh, do you have any queer authors or authors of color whose work you’d like to just like shout out or - or recommend to our audience?

H: Everything I just said.

N: Perfect.

R: Ok.

N: Awesome.

R: Excellent.

H: Uh.

What is your favorite non-traumatic thing in any of your books? (40:20)

N: And uh, did we - did we ask about your - your favorite non traumatic thing in your books?

H: Oh.

R: Yes.

H: Favorite non traumatic thing in my books. I really like when they go to the movie theatre before the trauma happens.

R: huh.

N: Oh yeah.

H: Uh, yeah. Yeah, I don’t know. Like, horror is - horror movies and horror camp is like weirdly really important to me, um, and I just really like shitty - like you guys might no kinda the theatre I was thinking of.

R: [laughs]

H: Um, ‘cause I was thinking of a particular theatre, uh.

N: I particularly enjoyed the “Do you really care about our I.D.’s? You know…”

R: [laughs]

N: “...you don’t…”

H: Yeah.

N: “It’s this town,” like.

H: Yeah.

R: [laughs]

N: That, uh, I’ve had that experience. [laughs]

H: Yeah, um.

N: Yeah?

H: I - I love really intensely, weird little spaces that have their own like, pocket universe energy, and would - which means I really enjoyed that, like I liked the Delacroix House a lot. I also like - it’s - uh, the - the flashback scene, or Sideways like regals information about her mother and getting her spellbook for the first time, is a traumatic scene, but non the less, I really like it. Yeah.

R: Ok.

N: I really enjoyed your descriptions of the snacks.

H: I - snacks are so important...

N: ...In general [laughs].

H: Food is important. I’m a big believer in like, over describing food scenes, under-utilized sensory device, and character beat device, even though Sideways eats meat and I don’t so there were occasionally things that Sideways was really into that I’m like, “This is gross,” um.

N: [laughs]

H: We forgive her.

Where can people find your work? (42:00)

R: So uh, obviously we have uh, the book “The Scapegracers” which... by the time this interview is released the book is out! Go get the book.

H: Wild.

R: Do you have any additional pluggables that you would uh, like. You can say them here and we will also put them in the show notes for the episode.

H: Uh, when is this going up?

R: This is going out on the release date for your book.

H: Oh boy. Um.

N: That’s the plan. [laughs]

R: That’s the plan.

N: Yeah.

H: Oh.

R: If all goes well. Hmm.

H: So - so.

N: We definitely will not release it earlier than that. We can wait if you would like us to.

H: Uh, release date is fine.

N: Ok.

H: I will have events but the events are still being planned.

R: Mmhmm.

H: So.

R: Do you have a website? Because...

H: ...I do...

R: ...that might have the events...

H: ...have a website. Yes.

R: Excellent. What’s that?

H: It’s hannahabigailclarke.com.

N: And where can people find you on social media? Do you have any - do you have a twitter handle you would like to plug?

H: Ah the Twitter. It is @sapphomancer and one could feasibly find my bullshit there, while so inclined to do so.

N: Wonderful. And for our - is it the same as your - it’s the same as your Discord handle.

H: Right.

N: Uh huh.

R: I - I know what it is.

N: I know, but our - our audience does not. Uh, so just for anyone looking it’s f - it’s “sapphomancer” [says each letter individually].

H: Yes, sappho as in lesbian poet, mancer as in doer of magic. Yes.

N: Oh! I didn’t even put that together. That’s - that’s actually really good.

H: Uh.

N: I’m a fan.

H: I’m a parody of myself.

R: I’m over here like, how else would you spell sapphomancer? [laughs]

H: [laughs]

N: Well, there - there are other ways, it could have f’s.

R: It could - it could have. It did not.

H: I suppose it could, yeah. But I could...

R: ...Alright...

H: ...be doing a dialect thing where I put a p in front of the s in sappho.

N: True, and you don’t have to have two pp’s technically.

H: Ah.

N: It could just be ph. There - there’s options.

H: Yeah. Could...

R: ...But, we’ll have...

H: ...be in Greek...

R: ..we’ll have...

N: ...Right...

R: ...those links - we’ll have the - we’ll put that website and Twitter link in our show notes, so if you are partaking in this episode, you can check there, and uh, any last thing you wanna say before we go?

H: Thanks for having me on.

R: Thank you so much for joining us!

H: This was a good time.

N: Good.

R: Good.

N: I’m glad.

R: Excellent.

N: Um.

R: So uh, thank you for...

N: ...thank you for...

R: ...showing up and tuning into another one of our interviews with authors. You can find our regularly scheduled episodes fortnightly uh, at Books That Burn, just everywhere. Uh, you can listen to - you can find more of our episodes in whatever uh, feed you originally found this, and we also have transcripts for some of our episodes. Those are at transcriptsthatburn.com.

H: You know what? I’m sitting here and I realized that we never talked about the burned book character and I’m on a podcast called Books That Burn. Oh Fuck! [laughs].

N: [laughs]

R: [laughs]

N: That’s ok. That will be a…

H: [sighs]

R: ...Do you wanna say…

N: ...a nice little tidbit for uh, our listeners to go read about in your book. [laughs]

R: Yeah! There - there’s a literal burned book character.

H: There’s a little burned book character, my favorite fucking character.

R: [laughs]

N: [laughs] Thank you so much for being with us.

R: Fair.

H: Ok.

N: [laughs] Go ahead and hit stop.

R: [laughs]