Periodically, we interview authors of queer speculative fiction for the QSF blog. :)
Today, K.S. Trenten – K.S. Trenten is the author of ‘Fairest’, a f/f fantasy fairytale available from prizmbooks.com. She’s also written ‘A Symposium in Space’, a f/f short story inspired by Plato’s classic, ‘The Symposium’, which appeared in Torquere Press’s science fiction anthology, ‘Theory of Love’. She’s got a second f/f fantasy fairy tale coming out in February 2017 called ‘At Her Service’. She currently revising ‘Aissa and Polyxena’ (a m/m mythic tale of cross-dressing), ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’ (a m/m novel/la about a soul-sucking Paradise vs. the passion of poets), ‘The Hand and the Eye of the Tower’ (two unearthly twins enter an unearthy realm to free their brother from a mysterious entity draining his life), and ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’ (a boy who’s not really a boy returns to the realm of shadows which spawned him to save his beloved creator). She also working on a sequel to ‘The Hand and the Eye of the Tower’ and ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’ called ‘A Godling For Your Thoughts?’, among other projects.
Thanks so much, K.S., for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
K.S. Trenten: It was more I realized I wanted to write and I wanted to be good at it! :) I wrote my first story when I was eleven years old. I’ve been working hard to improve my game ever since (bats away the demons of Repetition and Passive Speech which hover around my head, constantly threatening to invade my work).
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
KST: Gender bending fantasy with a twist of fairy tale, myth, or legend thrown in. ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’, ‘The Hand and the Eye of the Tower’, and ‘A Godling for Your Thoughts?’ were all inspired by Tarot card imagery. ‘Fairest’ is a retelling of ‘Snow White’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’, with a little of ‘Cinderella’ thrown in. ‘A Symposium in Space’ is my idea of futuristic symposium/dinner party in a matriarchal universe, where the characters are all women. ‘At Her Service’ is a retelling of ‘Cinderella’. ‘Aissa and Polyxena’ is based of various Greek and Roman myths about Achilles, Troilus, and the fall of Troy. ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’ was inspired the 19th century romantic poets, as well as 19th century literature.
JSC: Why do you write?
KST: There are few things I love as much as writing and stories. I live for stories. I want to create them, be a part of their creation process, weaving my own creativity into what has gone before, and breathing new life into forgotten tales and ideas. I want to inspire other people with the giddy feeling I had, when I read ‘Interview with the Vampire’ by Anne Rice, or ‘Hell and Earth’, by Elizabeth Bear. It’s magical. I want to be part of the magic, share the magic, and pass the magic onto others.
JSC: Cats or dogs?
KST: I grew up with a dog, disliking cats, because one of them scratched my dog, when he tried to make friends with him. My dislike was no match for the three little cats I lived with in college. :) Nor the little silver tabby my former boyfiend (no typo intended :)), now husband had living with him. I got very attached to that cat, whose loss I still mourn. However, our current cats, Sage and Cinnamon have done their best to fill the void left by Cricket’s passing.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
KST: ‘Fairest’. I’ve been fascinated by the retelling of fairy tales, ever since reading ones by Tanith Lee, Sheri S. Tepper, and Storm Constantine. I’ve played around with the idea since high school. An idea formed in my head, when I heard Evanescence’s ‘Snow White Queen’, played around in my imagination after seeing the anime ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’. The quote “Princesses who aren’t rescued by princes are doomed to become witches”. I wondered what would happen if there wasn’t a prince at all? What would happen if the princess fell in love with the witch who cursed her? I’d always loved ‘Carmilla’, by Sheridan le Fanu, the relationship between Carmilla and Laura in that story. I started getting a strong visual of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty together, the two princesses connected by a sleeping curse. What if one of them became a witch, because of her curse and turned around cursed the other? From these thoughts, ‘Fairest’ was born.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
KST: An idea comes to me. I start writing, often beginning with a quote. My beginnings usually aren’t contrived. They usually involve a paper notebook, since in the beginning, I want to be away from all distractions on my computer, so I can concentrate on the story. Although last NaNoWriMo was spent completely on my computer. When working on a particular project, I try to spend a little time on each day. I take breaks, to walk or do some other work. I steal moments when I’m in motion to think about my projects. Some of my strongest moments of clarity come when I’m doing something else entirely.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
KST: I’m a very challenging person to live with. Only three people have managed to do it. Two of them were my parents. The third I’m married to. :)
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
KST: Pantster. Definitely. My beginnings are all spontaneous.
JSC: Coffee or tea?
KST: Coffee! Breakfast of novelists! :) Although I do like tea.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
KST: I’m revising ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’ for Lethe Press’s general submissions. It’s too short right now. This is a strange, surreal tale, taking place in a city called Paradise, which anything but. Only bits of legends, poetry, and tale have made it into that world. The legends of Byron and Shelley inspire two boys to take on their names, the rules of Paradise, and pale lord who rule it, along with each other. I’m also revising ‘Achille and Troile’, where a not so dead prince of Troy tells an entirely new version of what happened between himself and the mightiest of the Achaens. ‘At Her Service’ is finished, accepted by Prizm Books (Torquere Press’s YA line) and due to be released in February of next year. If you like f/f fantasy fairytales involving genderbending, keep an eye out for it!
QSFer K.S. Trenten has a new FF Fantasy book out:
On the eve of my sixteenth year, I’m cursed to prick my finger on spindle and fall into a hundred year sleep. This is what the witch with the snow white skin and haunting dark eyes promised me, as I lay in my cradle. I haven’t been able to get her out of my mind, since.
She haunts my dreams, steals into my quiet moments, when I think I’m alone. Everyone thinks she’s my enemy. Everyone thinks I need to be protected from her. I can’t think of her as an enemy, no matter what anyone else thinks. Who is she, truly? The only name she’s ever been given are a few, enigmatic words. The fairest of them all.
My first memory was of her dark eyes. They seemed to capture all the colors of my infant universe, even as they threatened to swallow me. Her eyes should have been terrifying, but they weren’t.
Her blood red lips moved, shaping words I could only dimly recall. My parents remembered them only too well, as did everyone else who’d gathered at the castle for my christening.
“I, too, have a gift for this child. She shall grow up, with all the beauty and promise of the dawn, but her sun will never rise.”
My mother told me she nearly swooned with terror at the look of sheer malevolence the witch gave to the sunbeams, playing about my cradle. She wanted to stop the witch from speaking, as did my father. No one could move, no matter how much they wished to. Everyone stood, still and motionless, spellbound by the witch’s gaze.
“Before the sun sets on the eve of her sixteenth year, the princess shall prick her finger on a spindle. With the first drop of her blood, a sleep will fall upon her, claiming her for a hundred years.”
My mother tried to call in another witch to remove the curse. My father burned every spindle he could find. However, nothing could lift the curse, for all their efforts. The witch had disappeared into a cloud of green smoke. No one could find her after my christening, despite many attempts to locate her. The only thing she left behind, besides her curse, was the memory of her dark eyes.
K.S. Trenten is the author of ‘Fairest’, a f/f fantasy fairytale available from prizmbooks.com. She’s also written ‘A Symposium in Space’, a f/f short story inspired by Plato’s classic, ‘The Symposium’, which appeared in Torquere Press’s science fiction anthology, ‘Theory of Love’. She’s got a second f/f fantasy fairy tale coming out in February 2017 called ‘At Her Service’. She currently revising ‘Aissa and Polyxena’ (a m/m mythic tale of cross-dressing), ‘On the Other Side of the Mask’ (a m/m novel/la about a soul-sucking Paradise vs. the passion of poets), ‘The Hand and the Eye of the Tower’ (two unearthly twins enter an unearthy realm to free their brother from a mysterious entity draining his life), and ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’ (a boy who’s not really a boy returns to the realm of shadows which spawned him to save his beloved creator). She also working on a sequel to ‘The Hand and the Eye of the Tower’ and ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’ called ‘A Godling For Your Thoughts?’, among other projects.