Yep, we’re still celebrating our tenth year of publication here at LSQ, which means we’ve got a big ol’ spotlight we want to shine on our amazing staff. Today, we’re thrilled to introduce to you one of our bloggers, Erin Wagner.
LSQ: Tell us about how you got involved with LSQ’s blog — how long have you been a blogger, how did you first learn about LSQ? What made you want to join the blog?
Erin: LSQ is actually my first go-round at any sort of official, organized blogging. I started blogging here in September of last year. Before that, I reviewed a story here and there on the blog portion of my website (erinkwagner.com), but it was far from regular. I was excited to join LSQ because I wanted to be part of a bigger community of writers–especially writers affiliated with such a great goal, like those at LSQ with its dedication to representing women in the world of speculative fiction.
LSQ: Tell us about your monthly column, “A Woman Was Here.” What topics and themes do you explore? How do you curate fresh subject matter? Does any of what you cover relate to your own writing?
Erin: “A Woman Was Here” is a column dedicated to examining the woman as speculative artist (writer, painter, musician, poet, etc.) present in a variety of spaces we don’t always consider diverse. These can be spaces in the past or present. Specifically, I’ve tried to bring my experience with medieval and early modern literary analysis to the column, since these eras are often only remembered for their male authors. In general, the goal is to spotlight a woman (or group of women) who has produced great speculative art. So I determine what woman I want to write about each month by drawing from my own academic research or hobbies, as well as from news that crosses my path. Since I am myself a woman creating speculative fiction, I’m invested in promoting this representation of my peers, contemporary or not.
LSQ: Have you come across anything surprising in your writing for this column? Or, perhaps learned something unexpected about a particular individual or period of time or something that’s caused you to pause and re-evaluate a theme or assumption?
Erin: First of all, producing regular, monthly content takes effort–not because women aren’t everywhere, but simply because production takes time and dedication. So I’ve learned to really value all of my colleagues at LSQ and elsewhere who routinely write columns and blogs. And the work of the editors who have to organize and fine-tune all of these entries! I’ve also found out how necessary it is to examine the intersectionality of any topic I cover. Many women I write about were still privileged compared to many of their contemporaries, and I find it important to discuss that even as I want to highlight their accomplishments.
LSQ: Can you name some authors you draw inspiration from and tell us why?
Erin: Too many to count! Ursula Le Guin and Octavia Butler, for starters. I feel like they’re the godmothers of modern speculative fiction. Le Guin’s carrier-bag theory of fiction helped dig out a space for slow, introspective stories. I also love the ever-present fantasy authors–C. S. Lewis (whose Till We Have Faces is woefully under-read compared to the Chronicles of Narnia) and Tolkien–though I acknowledge the need to recognize the problems inherent in their representations of race and gender.
LSQ: Can you tell us a bit about your own writing? Are you working on any other writing projects at the moment? If so, can you tell us a bit about them?
Erin: My novella, The Green and Growing, was released from Aqueduct Press (a press dedicated to feminist science-fiction) earlier this year, so I’ve been promoting that piece. I’m also trying to draft a novel this summer. In addition to these projects, I’m constantly submitting short stories. You can see published and forthcoming stories on my website. Most of my work dwells on humans trying to comprehend or relate to things or beings they qualify as non-human.