Good morning, everyone!
Welcome back for another exciting post! Today is release day for one of my most anticipated anthologies–LOVE & BUBBLES, a collection of Under the Sea themed stories, all featuring characters on the queer spectrum! And I have the honor of interviewing one of the authors–MAGGIE DERRICK!
Mermaids? Other mythological creatures of the sea? Queerness? The stunning cover? An amazing cast of authors?
It honestly sounds right up my alley, and I cannot wait to get my preorder! And after doing this interview, I am even more excited to read Maggie Derrick’s story!
LEAH: Hello! Welcome to Small Queer, Big Opinions, it’s lovely to have you!
MAGGIE: Hello to you too! It’s even lovelier to be here!
LEAH: So, first things first, can you tell us about your story in the LOVE & BUBBLES anthology?
MAGGIE: Heck yes, I can! My story is titled A Happy Place and it’s about a young water witch who has been exiled from from her coven until she can tap into her dormant powers. She moves in with her aunt who lives by the sea, where she befriends a mermaid who helps her find her magic.
LEAH: Oh wow, that sounds incredible! I can’t wait to read it! *smiles* What was it about the submissions call that made you decide to write and submit a story for this anthology?
MAGGIE: Good question! I have a deep love for the ocean. It’s such a big part of who I am that it ends up featuring in almost everything I write. I also make a point of making all my stories about queer characters, so when Gaven put the call out for queer love stories set underwater, it felt like a perfect fit.
LEAH: It certainly does! *laughs* And who doesn’t love a good story with witches and/or mermaids? If you included any of your own marginalizations in your story, what was it like to incorporate those? Did it make the writing more difficult? Easier?
MAGGIE: I personally identify as a bisexual woman. While the sexuality of Nixie – the story’s MC – is never explicitly stated in the story, the romance is between her and another female-identifying character. As a bisexual woman who didn’t come out until my late 20s, writing queer characters like Nixie has been are really valuable way for me to express part my identity and participate in a community where my queerness is often easily erased depending on the gender of my romantic partner.
LEAH: I totally understand what you mean, and I’m so so excited that there’s even more queer characters like her in the world! Bi solidarity! *smiles* Who was your favorite character to write in your L&B story, and why?
MAGGIE: Probably Meris, the mermaid. My characters usually end up having some degree of angst in their backstories, but Meris’ biggest gripe in life is that she’s the youngest in her family and bores easily. It was actually kind of refreshing to write a character whose happiness isn’t hiding a secret pain – she’s just naturally fun and delightful.
LEAH: That sounds super refreshing! I love me some good angst, but it’s so nice to have more mellow and fun backgrounds! Can you tell us a bit about what you’re currently working on?
MAGGIE: I’m currently slogging through a rewrite of my first book, The Star and the Ocean. The beta draft of this book has been available on Wattpad for a couple years (it even won a Watty Award in 2017, which is the website’s annual international writing competition) but I feel like I’m at a point in my writing journey where I’m ready to go back and give it the update it deserves. I’m hoping to have the manuscript ready to query in early 2019.
LEAH: Well, I love the title, and I’m certainly intrigued! I’ll have to keep my eyes open for news! How about a few fun questions? Pick two (2) of your characters, from your L&B story or your other works, and describe their favorite meals.
MAGGIE: In my mind, Nixie is a bit of a hippie. I like to imagine her being a vegetarian (or at least pescaterian) and loving bean and chickpea burritos. Her aunt Morgana, who Nixie is sent to live with, is less health-conscious than her niece and loves nothing more than her husband’s famous fish fry.
LEAH: If your characters had a Must Read/Watch/Listen To/Etc. piece of media, what would it be?
MAGGIE: Nixie is the type of young witch to have an annual Samhain screening of Practical Magic. She also recommends Ann Claycomb’s debut novel The Mermaid’s Daughter to anyone looking for another queer mermaid story.
LEAH: *takes notes on the book rec* Recommend a couple songs to listen to while reading your story!
MAGGIE: Basically Florence + The Machine’s album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful on repeat.
LEAH: You can never go wrong with Florence! And finally, please share the most recent read you loved and feel free to tell us why!
MAGGIE: I just read Alice Hoffman’s The Rules of Magic twice in a row. I’m obsessed with her beautiful prose and the way her version of witchcraft is nicely balanced between the realities of the craft and the fantastical.
LEAH: I’m always looking for more witchy books, so I’m adding that to my wishlist ASAP! *smiles* Well, thank you so much, again, for stopping by! I can’t wait to read your story and the rest of the collection!
MAGGIE: Thanks for having me! I can’t wait for everyone to experience the book for themselves!
A B O U T T H E A U T H O R :
Maggie Derrick is a bisexual writer, artist, and podcaster based in Vancouver, Canada. She is the author of the Starborn Series, which includes the Wattys-winning first installment, The Star and the Ocean. Her short story “A Happy Place” was included in the recently-published collection, Love & Bubbles: an Anthology of Queer Love Stories Under the Sea. When she isn’t writing, Maggie likes to spend her time exploring VanCity and getting emotional over dogs. Find her at maggiederrick.com, and on Twitter as @MaggieDerrick.