Author Sara Gaines spoke with us about her new book, Noble Persuasion, the second book in the Halvarian Ruin series – a medieval fantasy series featuring a lesbian protagonist. Noble Persuasion just came out yesterday, June 18th! You can grab a copy over at Harmony Ink.
J: So tell me about your Halvarian Ruin series.
Sara Gaines: Descriptions like “finding yourself” are used a lot for stories with LGBT protagonists. While it’s definitely true that Aleana and other characters in the series have to “find themselves” in a way, it’s not entirely based on sexuality. The characters have to figure out where they fit into a world that’s falling apart around them, and while there are romances shown, the series is about how people change to fit into the environment around them. If they want to.
J: Is the series more fairy tale or epic adventure?
The characters have to figure out where they fit into a world that’s falling apart … the series is about how people change to fit into the environment around them.Sara Gaines: It definitely falls more into the “epic adventure” category. While the books are set in a fictional medieval world, there is no magic, no dragons are flying about, and there aren’t any terribly mysterious elders passing out cryptic prophesies. The most fantastical element is that women are respected and sexuality isn’t always a big issue.
J: Which of your characters do you feel you relate to the most?
Sara Gaines: This is always a hard question to answer, but I think the character I relate to the most is Kahira. To keep this from turning into a sob story, let me just say that there have been a few rough patches in my life that I didn’t always handle well. Kahira managed the things she went through a bit better than I did, but there’s definitely part of me that relates to her.
J: Are you yourself part of the LGBT community?
The books I could find in the libraries and bookstores of Kentucky didn’t have a lot of books with romantic relationships between two women.Sara Gaines: I am. What really drove me to write when I was younger was that I was struggling to truly come to terms with my sexuality and my usual way of coping with things (reading a pile of books) wasn’t working as well as I’d hoped. The books I could find in the libraries and bookstores of Kentucky didn’t have a lot of books with romantic relationships between two women.
J: What was the first LGBT character you remember seeing/reading?
Sara Gaines: Idgie Threadgoode from Fried Green Tomatoes. Although when I watched that movie the first 1,000 times, I didn’t quite realize that Idgie and Ruth weren’t just friends like my Southern family thought. I think I watched the movie non-stop once I realized I had a little more in common with Idgie than I originally thought.
J: What LGBT authors do you admire?
Sara Gaines: All of them. I don’t mean for that answer to be a cop-out; I have great respect for everyone who has contributed to the pool of books for LGBT readers. I never would have thought it possible, but “I can’t find any” is getting less and less applicable when people are searching for stories meant for them. There are more creators finding a way to get their work out there. It doesn’t matter who they are, what they’re doing is admirable.
J: What kind of stories do you want to see out there someday as far as LGBT lit and/or fantasy?
I want to make sure everyone has a character they can really identify with, no matter what their race, religion, etc. might be.Sara Gaines: I want to see more more diversity. We’re seeing more LGBT characters in books, but I think it’s important that we have LGBT characters from different backgrounds. As a white girl in the South, I had Idgie Threadgoode to look up to. I want to make sure everyone has a character they can really identify with, no matter what their race, religion, etc. might be. We’re at a point where those books are starting to exist, but there can never be enough of them and we have to keep doing our best to make sure people know the stories ARE out there.
J: I hear that you dabbled in some sword fighting as a kid… do you still? ;)
Sara Gaines: My “sword fighting” was mostly limited to the kids in my neighborhood and me trying not to hurt each other too much with the sticks we were using as swords. I was fascinated with swords as a kid though and read my fair share of books about them (yeah, I was the weird third grader reading about the history of medieval weaponry). My interest is still present and I’m lucky enough to work across the street from an art museum with a whole collection of medieval weapons and armor so that’s where I spend many of my lunch hours.
Don’t forget to grab your copy of Noble Falling, and the brand new sequel, Noble Persuasion, from Harmony Ink!
Interview conducted by Jesse Ellorris, senior editor.
Revised 06/21/15 – Publisher for the Halvarian Ruin series is Harmony Ink, an imprint of Dreamspinner Press, not merely Dreamspinner Press itself. Updated information and links regarding this.