Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
A dear friend of mine is a Pagan priest, and a discussion we had on his celebration of Samhain is where the inspiration for "Fierce Love" began. From there the setting developed as thoughts of Pagan rites drew my imagination back to an old, pastoral world where the remnants of Celtic belief endure in a post-Roman era. Erim Owenson, from whose perspective the story is told, is in some ways a character molded after myself. He is an outsider and a non-believer who has fallen unquestionably for the Celtic-born Adair, whose faith is an integral part of his identity. Learning how that love can bridge the divide between them is the focus of "Fierce Love", and will be a continuing thread in their story going forward. (Yes, I've got more planned for these two. Much more.)
Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
Shortly after my first sip ("Swapped") was published in July, there was a call for submissions posted on the Torquere LJ Community. When I saw that this year's beneficiary was the It Gets Better project, I knew I had to contribute something for it. It spurred me to write "Fierce Love" in its entirety in a single week (a feat for me, because I tend to take a long time writing) to make the submission deadline.
Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
This is where I got hung up on whether or not to do this interview. It involves bringing up a time in my life I'm still not completely comfortable talking about, but then perhaps its time to let go of the past a bit more. I've been a supporter of the It Gets Better project from the start because not so long ago I was one of the teens it tries to reach out to. It's been less than a decade since I graduated high school, and the scars still hurt from the teasing and isolation I felt as the only openly gay student in my class. There were a few times that I seriously considered suicide, and my heart breaks for every young person that has chosen that path. What saved me was knowing I was never alone.
I am forever grateful for having gay men to look up to, in my own family, who had the courage to come out and show me that life does get better when you embrace it. I am forever grateful to the family of Matthew Shepherd, who turned their tragedy into a movement that proved love can overcome hatred, and compassion is the greatest tool against ignorance. Today, mandatory regrets aside, I'm happy with the life I've tread and the circle of friends I've found my place in. I have high aspirations for the future -- Still looking for Mr. Right, but hey, that just means more stories about sexy men to sate me, right? ;-)
Christopher West's Fierce Love reviewed by Eden Winters