Meet Room collective member Amber Dawn
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.