If you're interested in fairytales that feature a heroine that is the one who saves a prince with queer characters, then check out "The Bone Spindle" by Leslie Vedder.
What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?
I’ve always loved the magic of fairytales — poison apples, enchanted castles, and glass slippers abandoned on the steps. But a lot of the original fairytales don’t offer much in the way of agency for the girls involved. In fact, there’s quite a bit of sleeping, housework, and waiting to be rescued.
In "The Bone Spindle," I wanted to write a fairytale retelling that would turn that dynamic on its head. Instead of a princess, "Sleeping Beauty" is a prince waiting for a kiss. The girl destined to wake him is a no-nonsense treasure hunter who doesn’t believe in true love, and her partner is a queer, ax-wielding warrior with a penchant for cracking skulls. The fierce friendship between the girls is really the heart of the story, and my favorite part.
What does "Reading with Pride" mean to you?
For me, Reading with Pride means having the opportunity to pick up a book and see queer characters in any role at all, with no limitations. Queer romance — definitely. Queer space adventures — bring it on. Queer characters in ghost stories, and spy thrillers, and epic fantasies — all that and more. Queer characters of all stripes grappling with themselves, or the world, or just the murderous pirates whose treasure they stole!
Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so important when it comes to writing books and characters?
There’s an old adage that, whether we mean to or not, writers put a little of ourselves into everything we create. This rings very true to me. Ultimately, each and every writer is one person, peering around at the world and trying to understand it, and then writing a story that conveys some version of their experience. That will always be an incomplete picture. We need all kinds of perspectives, all kinds of writers telling their stories. Only a kaleidoscope of different views could ever hope to represent the world in all its richness and complexity.
Which character did you relate to the most and why?
The character I love the most is Shane. She’s a mercenary with a past she’s left in the dust, one who’s brash and loud and unapologetically herself at every moment — especially when she’s flirting with pretty girls. She’s everything I loved in my favorite heroes as a teen, all packed into one kickass queer girl. But honestly, she’s way too cool for me!
Her partner, Fi, is a historian and scholar who grew up with her nose buried in a book and who’s more interested in ancient magic languages than making friends. She’s way more my speed (though still cooler than I am).
What can fans expect from your book?
The Bone Spindle is a fast-paced action-adventure with plenty of treasure hunting and romance, both of the m/f and f/f variety! It’s my love letter to fairytales and action movies like Indiana Jones and The Mummy, with characters who laugh in the face of danger and take on traps, ruins, and riddles while running for their lives.
It’s also set in a world where queerness is totally accepted and lines of succession have nothing to do with gender. So while there’s plenty of heartache and trouble in store for Shane and Fi, none of it is rooted in discrimination.
What's up next for you in the bookish world?
"The Bone Spindle" is a trilogy, so I’m working on book two right now. Book one has a lot of twists and turns, and I’m loving that book two (coming in 2023) is finally giving me the chance to really dig into the love stories, including some serious sapphic enemies-to-lovers!