Luna rey hall is a queer trans non-binary writer. they are the author of space neon neon space (Variant Lit, 2022), no matter the diagnosis (Game Over Books, 2023), the patient routine (Brigids Gate Press, 2023), and loudest when startled (YesYes Books, 2020), longlisted for the 2020 Julie Suk Award. they are the winner of the 2013 Patsy Lea Core in Memorial Award for Poetry. their poems have appeared in The Florida Review, The Rumpus, & Raleigh Review, among others.








So today on Discovered Luna. Discovered Wordsmith. I have with me Luna. Luna, how you doing today? Good, how are you? How are you? Good, good. And I see you’ve got a twins jersey on, so I’m gonna take a guess where you’re from, but uh, could you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re from, and some of the things you like to do besides writing?


Luna: definitely. Um, I, yeah, I’m an author. I’ve this, I have three books out, including the patient routine, which I believe we’ll talk about today. Um, I’m from the Twin Cities, been in Minnesota my whole life. Uh, and outside of writing, obviously I love reading. Um, I love doing art projects. Um, I’ve been collaging recently.

Um, I like to do graphic design. I do a lot of graphic design for my. Social media and stuff. So I’ve been getting into that too. Um, I have two dogs. I play with them all the time. Uh, they take up a lot of time. Yes. Um, otherwise that, that’s kind of the main thing. Uh, that’s, that’s kind of what I do in my day to day.

Stephen: Nice. What are you the dog breeds? My

Luna: older dog is a Beagle mix. Um, and his name is, uh, Yoshi. Great,

Stephen: great name. Oh, that’s interesting. I had an author here named Yoshi.

Luna: Oh yeah. You know, great name. So, um, and then my younger dog is, um, a pit terrier mix and Oh, nice. Yeah, she’s, she’s, uh, just a pup, just a little over a year old.


Stephen: yeah. I. We had, uh, two dogs when my kids were younger, both rescues best dogs I’ve ever owned in my life. Uh, one has since passed away and I miss her greatly. But the other one sitting over there being a scaredy cat is a boxer and maybe English bulldog mix. We’re not really sure. Oh, sure. But, uh, yeah, she’s a great dog.

Anxiety though, when I leave, so that’s a problem.

Luna: Yeah, my dogs. Yeah, they’re very anxious too. And I work from home in my day job, so I’m here all the time. So whenever I leave, they are a mess.

Stephen: No. Yeah. Their time. Yeah. Same here. What, what, what do you do for a day job? I

Luna: work in education publishing. Um, right now it’s in like assessment, so like standardized testing as an editor.

Hmm. It’s not, no, it’s not super fun. My writing is significantly more fun. Right, but it pays the bills.

Stephen: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve, I am into helping kids with writing and showing parents and teachers how teaching kids to write can lead to things they can do in their future, including storytelling and video games.


As an outsider, I’ll give it that. I’m not in the system. I see some things that could definitely work better and need improvement with our education system and the common core is not one of the good things.

Luna: Yeah, no, I fully agree. Yeah. Um, luckily I work in a lot of like accessibility and accommodation areas, so I get to work a lot of like braille.

Large print type of stuff, um, that kind of stuff. So that’s, that’s great that I can do something that’s very useful because yes, some of it’s, um, quite painful to get through,

Stephen: but yeah. Yeah, I was just, I was just talking to the Pittsburgh Library. They had a, a fair, and they were showing. About getting braille books into braille, which I would love to do because I’d love to have my book available to everyone.

Even if only one kid ever reads that book in braille. You know, there’s one kid that wouldn’t have read, been able to read that book, right? Totally. Same with large print. ’cause my son has issues with his eyes and he likes. Print, but sometimes it gets too small for ’em. So, you know, I, I think, uh, more authors, especially kids, authors, should look into doing some of those alternatives, even though eBooks have helped and audiobooks have helped.

Luna: Yeah, no, definitely. Yeah. And accessibility is so, don’t wanna say it’s like easy, but it’s, it’s so, it’s so important and it’s something that we actually should try to do more of. It’s easy to put resources into it if you care. So that’s, that’s what I’ll

Stephen: say. Agreed. I, I think we’re definitely better off than we were 20, 30, 40 years ago.

Yeah, definitely. But there’s still some room for improvement. Yeah. So, okay. Alright, so let’s, uh, actually talk about some of your stuff. Uh, um, so why did you want to start writing? Yeah.

Luna: Uh, I don’t have a, a super fun like coming to writing moment. Um, I always like to say that I had no clue what I was doing, like wanting to do when I went into college.

So I was at a community college, um, just trying to get generals done and I had to take an English class and it was a fiction writing or screen screenplay writing one of the two. And. I was like, this is kind of fun. Like the first thing in college that I was like, wow, this is kind of fun. And surprisingly, I was not, you know, a big writing kid when I was in high school or younger than that, or reader, like I, English was not one of my strong subjects.

Um, So, uh, once I took that class, I was like, oh, I like this. And then I had to take another English course, so I took poetry, which is my main, my main focus. Oh, good. Um, and I was like, oh, I love this. And I’m, and I feel like I’m okay at this. Like, it was a combination of the, I’m good at, I’m good at this, and it, it, uh, feels good to do it.

So, um, After that, I just kept writing and it, it’s evolved into this, you know, a decade later. Um, and I keep writing primarily just because I have so many, um, especially with like this book, the patient routine that just came out and some of my previous books. Um, I feel like I just have, um, There are a lot of like specific things that I, I want to and need to say.

So I think that’s, um, why I continue to write is that it, you know, maybe one day if I feel like I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like, ah, I don’t have anything else to say, then maybe I’ll stop. But, um, I. For now. I got, I got things to

Stephen: say. Well, I, I love that. It was a discovery process and you found what felt good and comfortable.

Yeah. I, I, I, I know, I agree with you. I’ve heard a lot of people that do the, uh, oh, I’ve always wanted to write, and my focus was, you know, always on writing in high school and, you know, and. Not everybody comes to it that way. And not everyone. I’ve talked to people who, for years, wanted to write a book and then they retired from their day job and suddenly they had the time to do it.

So yeah, totally. I think that’s an important message for lots of people. Yeah,

Luna: and I mean, I, I sucked at English in high school. I mean, it was not great and you know, I did not, uh, I was not a big reader at all, like I said, and I, um, sur surprised, I think I surprised a lot of people when I was like, I’m gonna pursue writing, you know, as a career.

Nice. Um, and they’re like, what? Like, that’s not you. Like, well actually I think it is.

Stephen: So that, that’s awesome. And. I’m gonna preach for a moment, uh, what something you just said there, you weren’t great with English in high school. That is actually like the least of what you need when you write and telling to tell a story because so many people miss that storytelling part.

They’re so focused on the craft, writing the sentence, and in school we teach kids spelling and grammar. Before they’ve written a single thing. Well that’s like, you know, just in the, you know, nebulous. Why am I learning spelling? Why am I learning grammar? It doesn’t mean anything. Yeah. But if we, I feel if we taught kids writing, just writing stories, telling stories, sitting around in a circle and telling stories.

Before we worked on spelling and grammar, that they would do better with the spelling and grammar ’cause they have something to refer to in their heads. Uh, I, I’m fighting a, a, a system, so yeah, I, I

Luna: definitely feel like there’s something to be said about, um, feeling the creativity of kids in writing. Like instead of kinda, uh, extinguishing

Stephen: it and with the software and software that’s still coming.

All that spelling and grammar is the least you have to worry about. ’cause you click a button and a lot of it gets fixed. So all the time we spend on that, yes, it’s good to know, but you know, it’s the same like civil war. I couldn’t tell you all the battles of the Civil War where they were or when they were.

I know they exist and I can look ’em up and that’s kinda how most people are with dates and history and stuff. And I think that’s kinda where our English is going to get to as far as the rules and the grammar and spelling. Uh, again, my opinion not shared by everybody. Uh, I think I’m, I’m on the leading edge in a hundred years, I’ll be revered or something, so yeah.

Yeah. So let, let’s talk about your book. The important part of what we’re discussing. Um, it is called the Patient Routine. Uh, tell us a little bit about it. ’cause I, I, it sounded very interesting when I was reading over the blurb.

Luna: Yeah. Um, the patient routine follows, um, a character named Ashton. They’re a college age non-binary student, um, and they’re suffering from health anxiety, what used to be called hypochondria.

Um, and they’re having an episode, um, that they can’t really shake off. So they decide to check into the emergency room, and in the process of that, the hospital goes under lockdown and everybody in the hospital is trapped in there until the situation which, you know, I won’t try to spoil too much, um, gets resolved.

So it’s a. Mystery thriller. Um, it’s, it’s all done in verse. Um, like I said, I study poetry for my, you know, my, my M f A, my b, f, a, all of that. So I’m, um, that’s kind of the mode that I write in. So it is a very playful with the page and formatting and language. Um, But it’s definitely a, uh, spooky story as well.

So I mean, it’s got, it’s got a little of everything, um, in there and it’s definitely a journey of, uh, you know, the self finding oneself in, um, the larger mental health sphere, the hospital system, um, gender. And a, a ton of other things, but that’s kind of the basics of it.

Stephen: Nice. So it’s it’s your jabber walkie.

Luna: Yeah. Nice. Something

Stephen: like that. So is it a medical thriller or, uh, straight up horror more, uh, what would you say?

Luna: Yeah, I’d say it, um, it’s definitely more like body horror. Um, it leans more towards that. I mean, there are definitely some medical aspects, obviously. Hospital. Um, but it definitely leans more towards just, um, the horrors of being trapped in your own mind.

The horrors of the medical system, but not in the terms, not in the way that I think most people think of, of like medical thrillers where, um, you know, the, the disease or the, what’s happening is like a really focal point. Like Ashton is the, the main focus in what’s happening with their.

Stephen: Okay. And, and can you think of any books or have you read any books that are similar to this to give people an idea if they’re interested?

Yeah. Um,

Luna: I think when I, I think when I pitched it originally, um, it was a mix of the Troop by Nick Cutter, um, which is a masterful, uh, body horror, um, piece of work. And then Eric Rocha’s, um, gosh, what’s the name of that book? It’s their first, um, book. There’s, uh, things have gotten worse since we last spoke.

It’s a queer horror book. Um, those were kind of my main inspirations. And then there was a bunch of, uh, like novels and verse that I read, um, to kind of just see structurally so that those also took influence. Um, I’m thinking like, Um, was it long? Way down by, um, oh gosh. Jason Reynolds, I believe

Stephen: his name is.

Luna: Long way down. Um, I’m just Googling things. Got it. Yeah, so those are, those are kind of the three books that I, when I was pitching people. Those are the ones that came to mind.

Stephen: Okay, nice. So if someone’s read and liked those or a combination of those, uh, they’d probably enjoy your book? I

Luna: would definitely

Stephen: say so, yes.

Okay. And what type of feedback are you getting from readers?

Luna: Uh, yeah, so far it has been extremely positive. Um, We’ve gotten, I think right now, uh, I think there’s like over 50 reviews on a bunch of, you know, platforms. Nice. Um, and it’s been very positive. You know, a lot of people who are, I, I think my favorite piece of feedback so far has been, and it’s happened two or three times, I’ve noticed, um, people have been like, I hated this book.

The first like few pages or the first like, Few sections and by the end of it I loved it because I think it is one of those things where it is harder to get into. ’cause it isn’t straight prose, it isn’t, you know, something that’s super, um, easy to get into if you aren’t used to reading poetry, if you aren’t used to the structure and kind of the.

The norms of poetry. ’cause it definitely leans into those. Um, but I think once you get past the fact that it’s poetry and the past, the fact that it’s not just paragraphs, then you can kind of get into the story and actually enjoy it.

Stephen: So definitely if somebody’s, uh, you know, uh, all my, all the books I’m reading sound alike, and they’re all the same, blah, blah, blah, I need something a little different and to mix it up.

I mean, that would be, uh, a good reason to pick up your book right there. Uh, I would think so. Something, yeah. You know, uh, and I know I, I think that way quite often. You know, I love certain things like Star Trek or what, you know, but if I watch too much Star Trek at one time, I get burn out and I’m like, ugh, I need something different.

Right. And then I’ll pick up. Foundation by Asimov Way different, but still a little si, you know, so, right. Yeah, uh, definitely. Uh, for someone looking for that type of thing, uh,

Luna: okay. Yeah, no, definitely. I think, you know, if you’re, yeah, definitely. If you’re looking for something different or if you’ve ever, you know, Wanted to see, uh, you know, I, I think it also works in the other way where people, if you’re scared of poetry, maybe this could be an easy way to get into it because it has a lot of the elements that regular fiction

Stephen: books have.

Yeah, that’s a good point. Poetry with a plot.

Luna: Yes. Yeah, it’s, it’s pretty much an epic poem. Um, you know, like the old classics.

Stephen: The, the, the really, really

Luna: old class, the really, really old, you know, the, the Dante Infernos and the, the Homers and the Iliads and all that. The Beowulf. Yes. So, uh, it’s definitely along those lines too.

I guess maybe I should have pitched that too.

Stephen: Yeah, well, you know, I guess it all depends on who you’re talking to. Yes. Yeah, that’s true. I, I, because I could, if I throw out to certain people, Hey, it’s a little bit like Beowulf. Oh heck no, I’m not reading that. You know, but there’s other people. If I say, Hey, it’s a little bit like Be Wolf, really, I think I’ll check that out.

So, yeah, all depends I guess. Yeah, totally. So Luna, if you had a choice, uh, would you like to turn this into a movie or a TV show?

Luna: Oh, geez. That’s, um, I think it’s definitely more of a, a movie. Um, it’s a, it’s, uh, and it’s a novella, so it’s, it’s a short little piece. Um, So it, it goes by quick. I’ve, another piece of feedback I’ve gotten is that it’s very, you know, one, one sitting type of read where you just kind of go through it, um, just in one shot.

Um, so I think it would probably fit a movie more. It, it doesn’t, I don’t know how you could expand it into a nice, like, nice Netflix style where they really milk it for all it’s worth. Um, but I. Hour and 25 minute movie. Oh yeah.

Stephen: Nice. And, and horror quite often loses something if you extend it too much. Uh, there’s very few examples of Yeah.

Really good horror TV shows.

Luna: Yes, that’s true. Yeah. See, uh, there, I mean, that’s few that have done it well, but, um,

Stephen: that’s not an anthology series. Yes,

Luna: true, true. I do love like the, the Hing on Hill House. That’s great.

Stephen: Yeah, that was exactly what I thought of one of the few ones. But the Bly manner wasn’t quite as good, right?

Luna: Yes. So, you know it all, yeah. Con yeah. Contact of the series and uh, source material that also helps.

Stephen: But, um, very much so. Do you have a, a website that people could go to and check out all your books? Yes.

Luna: Yeah. Luna rey hall.com. That’s l u n a r e y h a l l.com. And I’m at Luna Rey Hall on every social media platform

Stephen: there is.

Nice. And we’ll put, uh, links in the show notes to all that. Awesome. So do you have any plans for your next book?

Luna: I, well, uh, I do have another book coming out, um, in. January, it’s my second full length poetry collection. Um, I like to think of it as like a sister project ’cause it is also about health anxiety, but more personal.

Um, when I was talk, I was just talking to a friend about it actually. Um, and I was saying like, The poetry book is more about the hopeful aspects of mental health and my personal journey and the horror book. The patient routine is more about the, how can I make this experience as scary as possible to reflect some of the horrors that I’ve had in my life, but not.

To push it to the extreme. Interesting. So, um, so yeah, so that comes out in January. It’s called no Matter the Diagnosis. Um, and, but I do, I’m, I’m constantly writing. So I have another book that I’m pitching right now that is also a horror book that’s about, um, analog horror. I don’t know if you know what that is.

It’s like a. It’s like a YouTubey type thing where um, it focuses a lot of like on mystery and old. I like to think of it as like old broadcasts that, uh, have like secret messages. Okay. That’s kind of the easy way to explain it. Um, okay. But I’m, yeah, I’m also working on my next, I’m doing everything apparently.

Yeah. So, um, I’m also working on a full novel length project too. That will be my first novel. Um, so we’re seeing how that goes. Um, I have no experience on that, so, um, that’s taking it slow and, um, that’s, those are my, that’s what I’m working

Stephen: on. Oh, nice. And, uh, now you’re, are you doing all of these in pros or was this just for the one and you’re doing, uh, regular type non-pro writing?

Luna: Um, yeah, so I have the one that I’m pitching, the analog horror one is kind of like a mix of both. Um, it uses prose, some poetry, and then it also has like letter writing in it too. It, it’s, it’s all over the place. Um,

Stephen: well, is it called, uh, a pistol area, right? Is that, that’s what that’s called. Okay. Yes. I keep my terms straight.

Luna: Um, But yeah. So then, um, but the novel is a novel in verse. Um, that’s just, that’s my go-to. I, I, I feel like, I think in poetry now, I’ve just been so used to it. So when I’m writing, it comes out like that. Okay. Um, I’m not sure. I, I’m always, you know, someone asks me if I’ll write like a, just a standard fiction book one day in Prose, and I was like, I don’t know, you know?

I don’t know if I could, like, I feel like I’m, so I’d have to go back to school maybe and learn from fiction writers. Um, Yeah. So, um, a mix of prose and verse

Stephen: uh, writing. But, but also they always tell you, you know, write what you know. And you, you discovered writing. Yeah. So if you think and write well in prose, the, the people you start picking up, kinda like Katamari there, you know, with the rolling ball picking you up.

Uh, That, that that’s what they’re going to like and want. It’s, it’s what makes you stand out too. Right. You know? Totally. It’s, it’s that thing, uh, that’s different about you, but also something that’s not so far different that nobody wants it, you know, you know what I’m saying? Totally. You don’t have that

Luna: balance.

Yeah. I get that.

Stephen: Okay. So, um, What are some of your favorite books and authors that you’ve read? Oh, geez. You mentioned a couple earlier what your book was like, but your personal favorites.

Luna: Yeah, so, um, actually the Troop by Nick Cutter is one of my favorite books ever. It really got me back into horror. Um, I was super lucky to have Nick Cutter blurb, my book.

That was an amazing experience. I, I go back to that book like once, once a year at least. Um, one of my favorite, I have two favorite poetry books that I always recommend, which are Black Aperture by Matt Rasson, um, and Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith. Both are great. Um, those are, those are my go-tos. I’m also a big fan of, uh, I, I read a lot of comics, so I, I read a lot of, um, Saga is my favorite, like graphic novel.


Stephen: son loves Saga.

Luna: Yeah. Fantastic. Um, I have the collector’s editions behind me. I love that.

Stephen: Oh, I see right there on the end. Yeah. Yes. I recognize the cover

Luna: with a big stack of books in front of it too. Um, so those are kind of those Yeah, those are my, um, those poetry books. I go back to all the time and saga.

I read a bunch too. Um, But the troop, um, I’m, I’ve been a big fan of, um, queen of Teeth by, um, Haley Piper. She’s great. Um, yeah, so those are, those are my, I guess off the top of my head, those are my

Stephen: favorites. Okay, great. And where you live, is there a favorite bookstore that you like to go to? Yeah, I

Luna: love, um, moon Palace books in St.

Paul. They’re great. Um, I’ve read for them a couple times and they’re a very, Uh, queer friendly, uh, very accessible stores. So they, um, they, they have my heart right

Stephen: now. Nice. Okay. I’ll put a link to them in the show notes and a map so people can get to ’em. Awesome. All right, so before we talk some author type things, um, tell everybody if someone pa saw you on the street and said, Hey, I heard you wrote a book.

Uh, why should I get it and read it? What would you tell them?

Luna: Um, I like to think because it is, um, pride month while we’re recording that you, yes. It’s should support, you should support trans, non-binary authors and, um, especially ones that are writing in verse. ’cause that is a, a very niche field,

Stephen: um, population of one at the moment that I know of.

Luna: Yeah. So, um, you know, support, uh, experimentation.

I’d say that’s the biggest thing that I. Would, uh, preach is that, um, if you like this type of work and or you even have ever thought about it, um, make sure that you, you shout it’s, uh, um, shout it out ’cause um, nobody will continue to publish it if it just. Dwindles correct. And yeah, there, there are, there, there are other authors who write, you know, horror in verse who write, you know, novels in verse, um, currently.

Um, and they’re awesome, but they are few and far between.

Stephen: Yeah, I don’t think I can actually name another horror verse book or writer, uh, other than what you’ve talked about off top of my head. Yeah, there

Luna: was, um, oh my gosh. And now I’m gonna of course blank. It, there’s this great werewolf one, um, that was inverse and I’m totally blinking on it, so

Stephen: we’ll, we’ll, we’ll get up and maybe put it, put it in the show tonight.

Yeah, yeah. I’ll send it. So, yeah, that’d be perfect. Uh, let me ask you, since uh, you’ve been writing a couple things now, you’re working on a couple things, what are some things you’ve learned that you’re doing different now than you did from the start?

Luna: Yeah. Um, I think the biggest thing with like my first book, it was, um, and my first book is called Loudest When Startled, it’s a poetry book about gun violence and masculinity, family, et cetera.

Um, I think the biggest thing that I learned from that is that now I know more in my audience, like what my. People who have continually read my books, um, what they want out of me. I think that’s a big thing that I’ve learned. Um, another thing is kind of just like trusting myself. I think that’s a big, just like, especially with the patient routine, that was a big leap of faith to just be like, I can do this totally different, weird thing and make it a success.

Um, Otherwise, I mean, if I didn’t trust myself, I think I’d just be writing the same book over and over again with different, uh, you know, variations. Um, right. I would never have jumped into a different genre, a totally different, uh, community really with the horror as opposed to poetry. Um, so I think those are the two big things that I’ve learned.

Stephen: And I love what you said about, um, your, your audience and what they want, because that sometimes can be a hot topic, you hear write to market, uh, quite often. Yeah. In the publishing and writing in, you know, groups and stuff. And a lot of people are like, ah, you know, write to market’s bad and blah, blah, blah.

But the, there’s, I’ve discovered people take that. Saying in two different ways. You can have right to market, which means, oh, I wanna write a, a successful horror book, or a successful romance, you know? And I went and studied all the tropes and I threw ’em all into this book, and now I wrote it and it should be successful.

You, you weren’t. Writing what you wanted. You were writing what you thought would sell, but if you have an audience like you mentioned, and there’s certain things they want from your books, there’s certain things they want from horror books. You write what they want, you’re writing that is also writing to market, but you’re not doing it in that sleazy way.

That’s what we should all be doing, is writing what our audience wants to read. If not, if we’re just writing for ourselves and what we want. We don’t really have a right to complain if nobody else likes it or buys it. Sure. But if we understand our audience and we’re writing what we want, but what they wanna read, also that’s a VE debt or Venn diagram in there.

Uh, I think that’s super important to understand that distinction in a couple different ways of saying right to

Luna: market. Yeah. Yeah. No, I totally agree. I think it. Yeah, I mean that’s, that’s a said. Yeah, I agree with what you’re saying. Yeah.

Stephen: Alright. Good, good, good for me. You agree? Yes. So, okay. So our discussion, let’s talk about this.

And I was excited because you’re an l uh, forgive me if I get all the letters wrong. It’s changed on me. L G B T Q I. Is that it? That is,

Luna: yes. I mean, yeah, definitely. Um, LGBTQ plus is also acceptable. There’s, you know, many acceptable

Stephen: directions. So there’s variations, I think. Yes. So, uh, which is not even something 10 years ago that was really on anyone’s radar or part of the discussion of genres and things.

So the first thing I wanna ask you is, are you finding it. Easy or harder to get into. It’s hard to tell ’cause you haven’t written before, but do you, do you find that saying, I’m L G B T Q writer, do you find, uh, the difficulties or what’s easy about it? Uh, you know, what, what’s different, I guess, than someone that’s not an L G B T writer?

That you can tell, that you can see. Yeah. I know that’s a weird question because you haven’t been writing for 50 years in multiple genres.

Luna: Yeah. Um, I think for me, well first of all, being queer permeates, like all of my writing, like everything I write is very queer. It’s all very, um, part of, you know, I don’t think I’ll write a book that doesn’t have.

A main character that’s,

Stephen: and, and we, we mentioned this earlier, they always say, write what you know. Well, there you go. Right? Yeah.

Luna: Yeah. So, like I said, patient routine, they’re very non-binary and that is essential to the story. Um, the books I’m writing now, they’re all trans characters and that experience is very integral to the story.

Um, So, yeah, I mean I think that’s from my limited experience over the last, you know, 10 years. ’cause I definitely, I started writing when I was not out. Um, so my first book came out right where I was starting to be out. Um, so a lot of those were written very, um, I would say, Shy or frightened of letting on that I was a queer person, um, letting on that I wasn’t, you know, this man that my family and everybody had thought I was.

Um, so I mean, those things are just like constants for me in my writing always now, like the, just being queer is part of my, my work now. Um, and I guess that as, as opposed to, and I. In both poetry and horror. It’s very, they’re very accepting, uh, communities, the author, communities, the writing, the readers.

Um, so I mean, I haven’t had any like, pushback. I definitely had some feedback where people didn’t understand the crux of, um, particularly the patient routine. ’cause it is a very, you know, queer. Climax, I would say, where, you know, um, if you hadn’t experienced that, and maybe if you weren’t paying attention through the whole thing as closely, you might not catch on to everything.

Um, but I mean, yeah, I definitely feel, or I mean, right now, I, I could not pull the two, I couldn’t pull writing and queerness apart for me. Like they’re just inter, they’re integrated now. Okay.

Stephen: If that makes any sense. No, absolutely. And I. Uh, you, you know, you said about 10 years ago is when you first started.

In the last 10 years, the, the avenues have changed a a lot. Mm-hmm. That there’s more avenues. You mentioned the bookstore near you that’s accepting and allows you to come and read. Whereas pre covid 10 years ago and all that may not have been a possibility. People, you know, oh, that’s going to hurt our store, or, oh, we don’t have a section for that.

You know, and, and I think there’s more. Of that out there, uh, you know, to, to give you those avenues.

Luna: Yeah, I definitely think visibility and, um, celebration of queer work has definitely increased in the last 10 years. Um, luckily I live in a state and, uh, the Twin Cities metro that is very accepting and very, um, progressive, uh, for the most part.

Um, so. I hope, my hope is that 10 years ago it would’ve been okay too. But um, yeah, no, I definitely understand what you’re saying. And yeah, I think the, especially for bookstores, the, um, I guess there’s something to be said about the, like the genre nature of. LGBTQ

Stephen: plus. And, and I’m so glad you mentioned genre ’cause I was going to bring that up.

Uh, but for, for people who do listen to the podcast regularly and get it, uh, I’m, I’m going to just bet there’s somebody, oh, I can’t believe that he’s talking to an l LGBTQ writer and that’s, I don’t wanna listen anymore, blah. I’m sure there’s somebody like that, but Sure. But you know what, I have never. I like to read horror and I like to read fantasy.

I have never taken a horror book and crammed it down somebody’s throat and say, you must read horror because I think it’s the best. I can’t imagine you’re going to take your book and shove it down anybody’s throat and say, you must read this because I said you should. I don’t understand the people that think it’s their duty to the world to denounce any genre because they don’t like it, and that doesn’t even make sense to me.

Luna: Yeah. It’s a, it’s a difficult, um, subject for some people, I guess

Stephen: you could say. I, I, that’s a very delicate way of putting,

Luna: you know, Saying anymore? Yeah, I think, you know, some people are just, uh, not open to Right. Um, The, the, the width of the human

Stephen: experience? Well, I’ll say for anybody listening personally, I’m probably not going to go into the store and pick up an L G B T book.

That’s fine. I’m not your target audience. You know, I, I go and read aza, but if one was on my desk, somebody said, Hey, you’d probably enjoy this. I’d at least give it a try, but I don’t, I wouldn’t stop listening to a podcast or something like that because of. This one interview or something. I, I just think people need to move on.

You know, why, why do you care if other people are enjoying Luna’s books? Let them go enjoy it. That’s great. They’ve got something for them to read that they wanna read and enjoy. Yeah,

Luna: definitely. No, I. I

Stephen: agree with you. Well, I’ll let you know once this airs, if my subscriber rate goes down. Yeah. We’ll know who we don’t wanna, who we don’t wanna talk to.

Luna: Yeah. Hopefully I don’t kill too many of your

Stephen: subscribers. That’s fine. You know what? If people are close-minded and they wanna drop the podcast because I talked to you and you’re on here. Let ’em do it. That’s fine with me. There you go. Keep the rest of them. Uh, now there is one thing, uh, that I, I know you probably deal with that I deal with.

So I, I write middle grade books, fantasy books. Yeah. That you write L G B t L G B T Horror At the moment we’ll say, but here’s what bugs me. Middle grade L G B T Q, those are demographics. Those are not genres. You can’t just say, I write middle grade because a kid that likes, uh, dork Diaries is not necessarily going to like where the red fern grows.

There are two different genres and what people need to understand is you can have a demographic, but within those demographics you still have all the same. Genres. So you write horror, it’s in the L G B T L G B T Q demographic. I write fantasy in the middle grade demographic, uh, which is way different than an adult fantasy book.

Uh, you know, so does, does it. I don’t know, do you run into that or think about it where people just say, oh, he writes L G B T Q? Well, I don’t write romance necessarily. I don’t write, uh, you know, literary fiction. I write horror. Totally different than just, uh, you know, lumping. I, have you ever, you know, thought about that or is that an issue for you?

For me, that’s an issue. Yeah.

Luna: Um, I think my most straightforward answer is that I don’t care. I, I totally understand and appreciate, um, what you’re saying, and I think there has been a lot of push for. You know, generalizing, I guess, you know, I love that word. Word. Everything. Everything and anything right.

To sell it. I mean, I think that’s the biggest thing is that it’s all to sell these things. So you can sell the category, you can sell the author, the, the, the book. Um, but definitely when I’m writing, I’m not, I’m not thinking about it. You know? It’s just, it is what it is. And. After the fact. Um, you know, I wasn’t like going into this and I was like, I wanna make a horror piece specifically.

Um, it just ended up being that genre because of the content. Um, so I mean, yeah, I definitely don’t, I. For me personally, you know, it’s, it’s not a, it’s not a big deal or a big thought. That’s something for my publisher to deal with.

Stephen: Got it. That’s probably a personal pet peeve of mine. Sure, sure. But, but the other thing is with the L G B T Q is sometimes, what does it matter?

It doesn’t always come into or affect the story. Much, if at all. For example, uh, the Lord of the Rings. I know there’s been a huge argument and debate and whether Gandalf is gay or not and they should tell us, or um, I think rallying had some of the same issues with some Harry Potter characters who’s gay and who’s not.

It’s like, hold on a second. Harry Potter is basically middle grade. These kids are in school. There’s a little bit of flirting and you know, standard kid, uh, dating type stuff. It’s not really affecting the story if someone is gay or isn’t gay. And I think, I think a, as a society, we need to get past that point where we have to focus on that part of it.

That it either is or isn’t. And it’s just part of things. Let’s worry about the story. What do you think about that?

Luna: Yeah, I mean, I definitely think representation is important. Yes. In, in the, um, especially in, you know, Early grade, middle grade. Ya, it’s definitely important to show that these characters exist and that they are fully fledged characters and, you know, there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of nuance to that conversation, but, um, true.

Yeah. I definitely think that, um, you know, uh, again, I, I do kind of think it just goes back to that they’re trying to sell. You know, X, Y, Z and they’re labeling things that really don’t, like books, really don’t need like labels and that kind of terminology. I think

Stephen: I, I, I agree. We, so, um, let’s focus on story.

Luna: Yeah. So, um, yeah. But, um, I mean, if people wanna debate on if a character is gay or not, like, Go for it. That’s my opinion. Like go for it. Um, especially if it helps a kid or, you know, helps someone, uh, well that’s a good point. Accept

Stephen: themselves. That’s a good point. Yes, you’re right. I mean, come on. For almost a hundred years now, we’ve, uh, heard the story of, uh, the Seven Dwarves that all lived together in one house.

Let’s think about that for a moment, folks. Yeah. They’re pretty gay. Yeah. I mean, that’s been, that’s been in kids’ stories for a long time. Totally. Yeah. Alright, so, uh, Luna is, is there anything that you would say to an audience, uh, about being an L G B T writer or L G T B books in, in general, uh, that something that you, you’d like to just get out?

Luna: Yeah. Um, I definitely think if you’re, you know, an LGBTQ plus person, a queer person and you wanna write a story, definitely go for it. ’cause there’s an audience and there are people who wanna listen to it and read it. And it doesn’t matter that you aren’t fitting the standard, um, paperback, bestseller, um, ideals.

Um, you could say. Um, so yeah, that I can just say we need. We need more of that. We need more people to just be themselves and to really do weird, cool, creative projects. And, um, that’s that. Yeah. I’ll

Stephen: just leave it there. Okay. Agree. Agreed. And if that isn’t for you, great. Go back to the 3 million other genres that are available on Amazon.

Yeah, definitely. I, I, I, I look forward to. Not having that distinction that you know, that if, if you pick that, it doesn’t have to be the, the, um, sexuality or the L G B T Q ness of a book doesn’t have to be the focus of it. It, it, we need to get to the point it’s past that to the story and how well the story’s told and uh, everything else is just, Part of that, that that’s what I look forward to.

Yeah. Uh, you know, I, I have no problem reading books with straight characters, gay characters, bi characters, trans characters. But I’m not, I even, even the, the hero characters. I, I, I don’t care to read a book where the focus is on that. Sure. I, I wanna read a spy thriller or something, you know what I’m saying?

Uh, it, it just, that’s what it is. Great. It can be a part of the story, but not a spotlight.

Luna: Yeah. Nope. I, I hear you.

Stephen: All right, man. I appreciate you taking some time chatting with me today. Uh, it’s been great talking to you. Thank you.

Luna: Yeah, definitely. Thank you for having me.

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