To celebrate the release of Epilogue: A Novel and Pride Month, we have interviewed the author Lily Lashley (aka Etzoli) to give us the inside scoop on what influences her writing. Epilogue: A Novel is the story of three teenagers who return from waging revolution in a magical dimension—but someone is missing—in this devastating fantasy […]
To celebrate the release of Epilogue: A Novel and Pride Month, we have interviewed the author Lily Lashley (aka Etzoli) to give us the inside scoop on what influences her writing.
Epilogue: A Novel is the story of three teenagers who return from waging revolution in a magical dimension—but someone is missing—in this devastating fantasy fans are calling “a must read” and “an instant classic.” Now available on Audible and Amazon.
How has your life as part of the LGBTQ+ community influenced your writing?
Writing and my LGBTQ identity go hand-in-hand, where one is wholly inseparable from the other. I actually discovered myself through my writing and wouldn’t be here today without it. In my stories, I strive for authenticity and truth whenever possible. This leads to a lot of research into various communities, ethnicities, nationalities, and a broad spectrum of humanity to draw upon for storytelling. In that research, when diving into the LGBTQ communities, I found myself connecting on far too many levels to ignore the obvious signs.
It was like a glass shattering inside my skull. The doors were thrown open, the bridge dropped, the gates wide. My life suddenly made sense, and in retrospect, so did my writing! I’d been writing LGBTQ stories for a long time without even realizing it, as so many of my characters struggled with their own identities and expected social roles. As I became comfortable with myself, I was able to broaden the kind of story I tell. Writing saved my life, and I’m glad others get to share in the novels that came out of it.
Why is it important for you to include LGBTQ+ representation in your books?
I want to write authentic stories about the real world. Not accurate stories, mind you (I’m writing sci-fi and fantasy, after all!), but ones that reflect the world as I see it. There are so many tales to tell, and LGBTQ representation is simply a fact of the universe. Were I not to include them, it wouldn’t be a real story. It’s as simple as that!
What advice would you give to others writing about LGBTQ+ characters and to LGBTQ+ authors?
We’re real people, just like any other. There’s nothing complicated about writing us as characters. The biggest challenge is to confront your own expectations on how people are “supposed” to be and realize how diverse and multi-layered every human being truly is.
Most importantly: not every LGBTQ story needs to be about their identity! These stories are valuable, and chronicling the struggle we face in society is important, but it need not be the only story told. There’s so much more to representation than just hardship. Write your story, as authentically as you can, and let the natural representation of society flow into each page. You can do it 🙂
For my fellow LGBTQ authors: it is the scariest thing in the world to tell your story to the public. I salute everyone brave enough to do so. Whether you’re a published successful author or just tossing something up on a free fiction site, the adrenaline rush is the same. Empathy is a powerful thing, and it is fueled by truth. Keep it up <3
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