BJI: Could you give us some background on In Our House by the Sea?
KL: It’s a love letter. I wrote it about eight months into my relationship with my girlfriend, soon after we moved in together. I was wildly in love with her and with our life together – the romance of domesticity was intense. I loved (and I still love) the little things: brushing our teeth together, Sunday morning breakfast in bed, holding hands as we fall asleep. We’re pretty sickening, I’m sure, though we only do these things when we’re alone! We still live together, though not by the sea.
BJI: Your writing reminds me a bit of one of my absolute favorite authors, Jeanette Winterson. Is she an influence? If not, who is, and how?
KL: Jeanette Winterson is definitely an influence – her poem ‘Warming Her Pearls’ affected me hugely. It’s such a gorgeous example of the eroticism and tenderness in the everyday. That’s something I’ve explored over and over in my work. I’m inspired by lots of other awesome queer lady-writers too, like Sarah Waters, Carol Ann Duffy, and Emma Donoghue (her collection of retold fairytales, Kissing the Witch, is a favourite). They showed me how love between women can go past normalisation – which is what most LGBT activism seems to be about lately, and it’s a noble goal – and right onto a higher plane. Sexuality can be tender and sensual and mythic, and I love to describe that in writing.
BJI: I notice you spent a bit of time away from the Internet to write. What kind of mindset do you need to be in to put a story together? What are your ideal conditions?
KL: The dream is a mahogany desk in front of a window that frames snow gently falling onto a patch of grass, in a silent room that smells faintly of peppermint and old books. But that’s just not practical (and anyway, I’d probably just wonder why the room smelled of grandpas). No matter how much I try to arrange my life around writing, the fact is that writing has to fit around life. Sometimes I manage to hoard up a whole free morning for writing, and those mornings are golden. But like most writers, I usually have to carve out writing time when I can. And I don’t have a desk.
My thinking-up-stories mindset is very simple and never changes: I take a bus or a train somewhere or go on a long walk, with my iPod on shuffle. Something about the lyrics and the constantly scrolling landscape is so inspiring. By the time I get home, I always have a new story idea.
BJI: How’s the novel going?
KL: The novel is looking bloody good! I’ve just sent it out to an agent and she’s reading it just now – I don’t know what she thinks of it yet, so fingers crossed.
BJI: Last question. What excites you most about online/digital storytelling?
KL: The market for short stories is not ideal: publishers won’t touch story collections and anthologies are tricky to get into bookshops because booksellers don’t know where to shelve them. But short stories are such gorgeous, perfect little things. Everyone wants good stories, but not everyone feels they can devote weeks of reading time to a doorstop novel. Even the busiest person has pockets of spare time: commuting, queuing, waiting for dinner to cook. Online and digital storytelling means that as soon as you have a spare moment, a story is right there ready for you.
stories by Kirsty Logan