Today we’re joined by Darcie Little Badger. Darcie is a wonderfully talented Apache writer who writes short fiction in the the horror and dark fantasy genres. Her work has recently appeared in Strange Horizons, Vignettes from the End of the World, and Dark Eclipse. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I write speculative fiction, stories from my daydreams and nightmares. Favorite genres include horror, dark fantasy, and fantasy. Though my published work is all short-form (< 10,000 words per story), I’ve been planning a humor/mystery/horror novel for several years; that project will begin in earnest after I complete my scientific dissertation. By day, I study phytoplankton genes.
What inspires you?
Besides those pesky daydreams and nightmares, my greatest inspirations are other authors. I read horror fiction nightly – haunting lullabies! When something really frightens me, my eyes sting and well up with tears. It’s an unconscious reaction, much like the tingly foot sensation some people experience on roller coasters. Anyway, teary-eye-resonant stories and the people who write them are definitely inspirational. My favorite horror is subtle, thoughtful, and beautiful. Diverse characters are a plus. Stuff containing stereotypes and/or edgy-to-be-edgy material won’t impress.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since the day I picked up a crayon and scrawled my first word, “love,” across a piece of construction paper. You can thank (or blame – your choice) my mother for that aspiration. Every night, when I was a toddler, she read nursery rhymes from thick, illustrated books, and when we ran out of rhymes, she invented new ones. Mom is also a Lipan Apache storyteller. During my childhood, she regaled school classes, scout troops, and library groups with the adventures of Trickster Coyote. While listening to my mother, I fell in love with language, especially its power to spread imagination.
My interest in dark fantasy/horror fiction emerged early, courtesy of two popular horror series. As a kid, I enjoyed R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, with the original illustrations by Stephen Gammell. If you haven’t seen Gammell’s work, be forewarned: it’s scary.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?
Most of my speculative fiction occurs in the same alternate reality world, an Earth that’s similar to ours but stranger. While reading my stories, look for references to a mysterious woman named Maria …
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Here’s my advice to aspiring writers: read and write voraciously, and remember that editing is an important part of writing. Very few people can create a nearly perfect piece before revisions. Above all, don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Abide by the old saying: if at first you don’t succeed, try and try (and try and try and try times infinity) again. You’re embarking on a difficult journey, but if you love to write, the trials are well worth the triumphs.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I have not experienced ace prejudice in my field. Hope I never do!
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
The “just a phase” misconception was common during my early twenties. I’ve also heard some people say that asexuality doesn’t really exist, and I’m not referring to “nothing exists” existential philosophers.
Well, my sexuality is not a phase, and I definitely exist inasmuch as anybody exists – whether or not we’re all figments of a really long dream is a discussion for another, stranger interview!
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Polonius (from Hamlet) had a point when he said, “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
You aren’t unnatural. You aren’t broken. You are part of a wonderfully diverse spectrum of people. And most importantly, you are not alone.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
For an updated bibliography and sporadic posts, please visit my blog at https://darcielittlebadger.wordpress.com/ I have a new stories on the horizon, so stay tuned!
I’m also on Twitter @ShiningComic
Thank you so much, Darcie, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.