This week we put our five questions to Forget Yourselfauthor Redfern Jon Barrett.
Would you like to introduce yourself as a writer? Well, I'm a queer polyamorous pagan giant who likes writing queer polyamorous pagan fiction. These themes are prominent in the two titles I've published with Lethe Press: the concisely-named The Giddy Death of the Gays & the Strange Demise of Straights (queer polyamorous fiction set in Wales)and the upcoming Forget Yourself (queer polyamorous fiction set in a mysterious dystopia that isn't Wales). I managed to trick Swansea University into giving me a doctorate in literature, and I also campaign for polyamory rights -- which has earned me some pretty exciting hate mail, as well as attacks from angry conservative newspaper columnists.
Above all, I firmly believe in the subjects I write about: first and foremost I consider myself a propagandist.
Summarise your latest book from Lethe in five words! Queer. Identity. Lost. Dystopia. Absurd.
What’s the secret to your writing? Locking yourself away and writing a disciplined word count, or waiting for inspiration to strike? (Or something else entirely, of course…) I don't have any techniques or tricks. I write because if I didn't I'd be wandering the streets screaming creative fiction at strangers (note: most strangers don't like that, but the ones that do are new best friends). As such I have to be disciplined in working less - making sure I leave time for things like 'leisure', 'friendship', and 'not neglecting those two boyfriends I live with'. Left to my own devices I'd eventually starve to death.
If your house is on fire, what book do you rescue? (Forget about your loved ones, they can save themselves…) Stonewall by Martin Duberman. Queer, gay, trans, lesbian, and bi people all have a shared history, and it's vital that we preserve and cherish that. On a side note, I was once house-sitting a friend's apartment here in Berlin, when the apartment next door caught fire. We watched in total dismay as the firefighters threw hundreds of smouldering books out the windows, to land in the courtyard four stories below. I still have nightmares about it.
Finally, let’s pay it forward. Recommend one gay-lit writer we should be reading right now. Though I'm somewhat obsessed with Marge Piercy and Alison Bechdel, they're not exactly in need of any shout-outs from me! But I am currently reading Puppet Boy by Christian Baines, and I'm devouring it. Baines writes with a Brett Easton Ellis-style darkness, something which always captures my attention and eventually, eternal devotion. Quick-witted, well-paced, and deeply fucked up, I'd pass it along to friends and mortal enemies alike.
Forget Yourselfis out now from Lethe. Check it out here.