Issue 046 Author Interview: Nikoline Kaiser and “A Moral Majority”

It’s an Issue 046 interview twofer this week! Today we’re taking a trip to Goldville with Nikoline Kaiser and “A Moral Majority.”

LSQ: The citizens of Goldville don’t react the way I’d envision any town in real life reactinggrayscale photo of stop sign to their bizarre situation. I even found myself agreeing with Marigold when she insists that this goes against human nature. Why was it important for you to have the citizens of Goldville be so kind to this stranded alien?

Nikoline: I think it was important because I also agree with Marigold: being as kind and accepting as they are is not something that comes easy for people and the citizens of Goldville react, as a community, in a way I don’t think is actually plausible with the state of the world as it is now. I believe that being good is very hard work, and so does Helena, the mayor of the town. She’s really my mouthpiece more than anyone in this one, and she’s spent her life trying to make the town a safe haven. Goldville, in my head, is a town where almost every single person has experienced something that has made them disinclined to treat others badly – sometimes that thing was Helena! It’s not perfect, as evidenced by Angela having experienced homophobia growing up, and there are limits to everyone’s kindness, but at the heart of the story is my belief that, the more people do good, the more others also want to do good. Hence the “majority” part of the story’s name. A place like Goldville might not ever exist in the real world, but aliens like Marigold might not either (though a girl can dream).

The shorter answer to this is that I want to write about kind people, perhaps in the hope that I’ll become a kinder person too.

LSQ: You give us hints as to what Marigold’s home planet is like, but you never fully describe it. Why did you make that choice?

Nikoline: I had two reasons: 1) as a person who has gone through discrimination because of my gender, sexuality and various other things, I did not feel the need to re-visit the uncomfortable details in a story that was, ultimately, more about kindness than discrimination. I also feel that people (myself included) sometimes want to read happy stories about minorities without having to slog through long descriptions of the abuse they have had to endure. There are plenty of stories like that out there (I’ve written some, too), but a change is nice, once in a while.

Reason 2) is that I wanted the story to be inclusive – whatever “harshness” Marigold faced back on her planet was given to her completely unfairly, and almost everyone can imagine a time when they were treated that way. It doesn’t really matter what shape that treatment took, because it was unjust, and no one should be treated as less than. The details don’t matter, the unfairness does.

LSQ: Where do you see Marigold and Angela’s story going from here? Do you ever plan on revisiting them in the future?

Nikoline: The only thing I know for certain is that they’re going to be alright, because they both deserve it. I have no concrete plans, but if inspiration strikes, I might write about them in the future. For now, the reader can imagine whatever happy ending they see fit. My personal vision currently has lots of succulents and cats for them, and long evenings just being together. Maybe they rob a bank at some point. That could be fun.

LSQ: What was your favorite part about writing this story and why?

Nikoline: The beginning was fun to write. I had this very vivid image in my head of a spaceship crashing into a water tower and from there the story kind of wrote itself. But the townsfolk was what really surprised me – they just popped up as needed and spoke their piece, and were delightfully strange.