Desiree Stinson @RainAaren is the author of Talon, a beautiful new work of lesbian fantasy fiction on Wattpad. Desiree agreed to an interview and offered some very frank and very inspiring answers to my questions. She is also a fantastic artist and you can find examples of her work on DeviantArt at http://hekaten.deviantart.com.
What inspired you to write Talon?
Uncertainty and curiosity, frankly. Becoming an adult is no easy ride. I’m hoping I find some guidance in Diana. I also knew I wanted to write something in the fantasy world I’ve created, and usually I take Rain’s point of view, but I already know her story. I wanted to discover Diana’s.
To what extent is your writing influenced by your own experience?
Usually I don’t base the plots of my stories on my experiences, rather on my curiosity. I have such a thirst for adventure and right now in my life I don’t get much – at all. I write to give myself experiences, how about that?
Do you have any favourite works of lesbian or LGBT literature?
Well of course, Kate there’s Hal! I loved it. Another one was Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, which I found myself reading addictively. Right now I’m reading an old one called The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall, and just finished Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit which was a bit too religious for me. Most of the lesbian fiction I read is unpublished works online, like on Wattpad, however. Seriously not enough published books have lesbian fantasy or science fiction protagonists. I need more, therefore I breed more.
What is the best writing advice that you have ever received?
I haven’t been able to get much actually. There is no one in my life who could act as a mentor for writing. I’ll show my stories to friends and family and get, “It’s so good I love it!! (:” which is nice and all but provides no learning. So I have to be my own teacher. But what I hear a lot is, “Don’t think about it too much, just write.”
Do you find it easy to make time for writing and do you have some kind of writing routine?
Between my busy family life, school, responsibilities and women, no. Sometimes I go into lapses where I’ll hardly write for months and then return to it after. Luckily those painful college essays have had the benefit of getting me back in touch with my words. I find I write best between 1 and 10 am. Which is also when I’m usually asleep. Sometimes I have to choose between one and the other. I don’t really like routine but I like to listen to music while I do it.
Is there anything of yourself in the characters of Rain and Diana?
This is a big one. I’m going to start with Rain, since up until recently she had the biggest effect on me. Rain started as a self-insert character (sigh I know). I came up with her when I was 15, and my best friend and I became obsessed with the Bioware game Dragon Age 2. We invented our self-inserts to act as the leading protagonists in the 200 page fan fiction that followed. I still have it. When I read it, I’m conflicted between feeling warm and proud of it, as silly as it was, and cringing. Anyway, once we moved away from that I kept Rain and my friend kept her character Lunalyn and we constructed our own world for them to play in. We talked about it day and night, developing characters and the story and setting. Hence Estare and the world in which Talon takes place was born. Now during this time in my life I was battling with my sexuality. I had a serious boyfriend, which made it worse. I knew I desired women but I didn’t have the courage to act on it, felt guilty for it even. And then I started having dreams in which a girl with fiery red hair would visit me. She always kissed me before she left, and never spoke. I named her Diana. And so I began to write about the fervent love affair between Rain and Diana. I can’t tell you how many pages it went on. When I was in class at school it was all I’d do, just pull out that binder and a pencil and continue where I left off. I loved writing about them, and thinking about them, and considering the potential of me being like them. Like Rain, who is always courageous and sure of herself. I desired to be like her. Through Rain I discovered myself as a lesbian. I wrote about her until she realized, and I realized. The fight that spawned the break up with my boyfriend was a girl, one I’d met and been instantly infatuated with. But I never got to pursue that girl I met in the hall with the green eyes. I was pregnant. I told my mother, and once sophomore year was over (within the next two weeks) I was not to return to high school. After a whole mess of pregnancy, struggling with depression and desire of girls I could never have, I am here. With my high school equivalency, beautiful daughter and going to college at 17. Now I’ve had the chance to pursue women and love, and I am secure in being a lesbian. But in three weeks about I’ll be turning 18, crossing that divide of adulthood and I realized – Holy shit, I am terrified. I knew I needed a different kind of courage than Rain’s, hers is so rash and unthinking. I needed courage that was slow and steady, that could also be there to nurture my daughter. So I thought of Diana again. Entering into a strange world, with only a vague idea of what she’s doing, but doing all she can for the best. Didn’t mean to give you my whole life story there but there it is. There is definitely parts of me in Rain and Diana.
What kind of writers do you read for pleasure?
Usually I read the stories people post on Wattpad for light reading. Generally something simple so I can follow along easily. Anything I find intriguing really.
How does the process of creating art differ from the process of creating stories?
Art is more immediate. You can see the figure take shape, the vibrance of the colors or the stark black and white, the development. It doesn’t need much forethought besides a general idea. Writing requires more of a solid layout and a clear plan of action for me. Ironically I’m not good at all with following the rules or commitment so this “blueprint” I always have to construct hardly ever actually comes into being. A lot of times my plot veers off into the opposite direction and doesn’t get finished. This can actually apply to a lot in my life so long story short, I squander too much time on forethought rather than execution. So, if I’m feeling creative, usually I’ll just draw. It is simply less to think about.
Just like to say a huge thanks once again to Desiree for being so frank and open about her life and the inspirations behind her writing. Talon is a great book so I urge you to go and read it 🙂