A Universe of Wishes: Interview with Dhonielle Clayton (Editor)
Hiya folx! I bet you didn't think I'd be back so soon, ey?
Good news - when I originally signed onto the A Universe of Wishes blog tour with Book Terminal Tours (thanks again!), I was selected to do an interview with Dhonielle Clayton, the wondrous author of the Belles series and the editor of this enchanting anthology. Ms. Clayton was very kind in answering my questions - especially after I kind of dropped the ball and forgot entirely about sending them in until after the deadline. So without further ado, here are the questions that I - and I am pretty sure, other readers - had about A Universe of Wishes...
1. Beyond the base call for diversity, what would you say the underlying motive/message/need in A Universe of Wishes is?
A Universe of Wishes invites readers to experience what SFF [science-fiction/fantasy] looks like when marginalized content creators are given license to create whatever they desire. I wanted to put together a collection of fantasy, speculative, and science fiction stories from marginalized authors because the genre itself isn’t always welcoming to these creators and their imaginations. The lack of inclusion of marginalized authors in the world of SFF is an act of systemic censorship purporting the lie that authors from these underrepresented communities don't spin tales of other worlds and far off futures or imagine alternate histories and portals to other place or wield magic. The quality of this collection is a reminder that despite what is adapted for television and film or what saturates the SFF section in the bookstore or what ends up being touted as the canon of SFF, there is more to be said about magic, about the future, about space, and it’s time for new voices to say those things.
2. As a queer person, a choice a bunch of us face when coming out is whether to sacrifice the comfort of uniformity to gain the sense of realness that comes with showing who you truly are. That is seen as a constant theme within this anthology, especially in “The Silk Blade”, by Natalie C. Parker. How different do you think these stories would be if comfort had been chosen over authenticity (a valid choice)?
One of the underlying principles I had while putting A Universe of Wishes together was the desire to disrupt and to remake the idea of magic, the future, and the hero. There was no place for comfort in this collection. Authenticity was paramount. This is the heart of the We Need Diverse Books movement. It is an exercise to show the world just how good an authentic story is. I wanted readers to be able to come to this collection and find themselves – and others – while relishing in the best that SFF has to offer.
3. Some of the stories within this collection are backstories/novellas set within the author’s own pre-developed story worlds. What do you think made them decide to go down that path, rather than writing a completely new story?
I asked several of the authors to return to the worlds of some of their most beloved novels. I was desperate to see the New York of Zoraida Cordova’s Brooklyn Brujas again and to visit VE Schwab’s Londons and to catch up with Gemma Doyle from Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy. I had planned to write a Belles story as well, but ended up taking a different direction with my contribution. I love seeing how big the imaginations are of some of my favorite worldbuilders, admiring how many new stories they’re able to find in their own book universes.
4. If you could add one more sentence/paragraph to the end of your own story within the anthology ("The Weight"), what would it be?
Hah! I actually wouldn’t add a paragraph. I know readers would love to know the test results for Marcus and Grace after their love procedure, but I actually don’t think the results are needed. The hearticians tell you what’s on their hearts. I like to leave it up to interpretation about what will happen to them in the future.
Many thanks again to Dhonielle Clayton for taking the time to answer my questions! If you want to check out my recent ARC review, just click on this link here. If you want to read A Universe of Wishes, you can purchase a copy at your local bookstore or online (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound). Meanwhile, I am going to go and look up the Brooklyn Brujas series - I need me some more magic.
Until next time,