Meet Room col­lec­tive mem­ber Am­ber Dawn

Am­ber Dawn

Room Magazine - - CONTENTS - —Rebecca Rus­sell

Meet Room col­lec­tive mem­ber Am­ber Dawn, au­thor of the Lambda Award-win­ning novel Sub Rosa (Arse­nal Pulp Press, 2010). Her lat­est novel, Sodom Road Exit (also with Arse­nal Pulp Press), was pub­lished in March.

Tell us about Sodom Road Exit. What in­spired you to write it? The novel’s set­ting—a fallen amuse­ment park town—is also where I was born and raised. I’ve at­tached an im­mense amount of feel­ing and mean­ing to my mem­o­ries of Crys­tal Beach and wanted to hon­our both my his­tory and the park’s his­tory. I knew one day I would write this novel—first I needed enough dis­tance, per­spec­tive, and heal­ing.

Who are your queer lit­er­ary he­roes? Sap­phire, Dorothy Al­li­son, Lee Mar­a­cle, Sky Lee, Leah Lak­shmi Piepzna-Sa­ma­ras­inha, and Beth Goo­bie (I don’t know if all th­ese au­thors iden­tify as “queer”). They are au­thors who speak up about in­di­vid­ual or sys­temic trauma—racism, colo­nial vi­o­lence—and queer­ness within their bod­ies of work. They are the au­thors who in­spired me to start, and con­tinue, writ­ing.

You’ve edited two queer an­tholo­gies, Fist of the Spi­der Woman: Tales of Fear and Queer De­sire (2009) and With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn (2005). What was most chal­leng­ing and most re­ward­ing about help­ing to bring th­ese books into be­ing? I love the multi-voiced cre­ative con­ver­sa­tions that an­tholo­gies of­fer. Many of the con­trib­u­tors to both the queer an­tholo­gies be­came friends and beloved col­leagues, and all the con­trib­u­tors in­spired me and taught me about craft­ing iden­tity on the page. The most chal­leng­ing thing was—sur­prise!—the lack of money avail­able to an­thol­ogy ed­i­tors.

What are you read­ing right now, queer or oth­er­wise? Kim Fu’s The Lost Girls of Camp Forever­more, Joshua White­head’s Jonny Ap­ple­seed, and Imani Sims’s (A)live Heart. I pre­fer to read more than one book si­mul­ta­ne­ously. It keeps my “wicked” mind favourably oc­cu­pied.

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