Author Interview – Star Sirius

Author's Other Work

Condemned (The Draonir Saga Book 3)

Format: Novel
Release Date: May 13, 2023
You have time to read books one and two before launch!
Available for Pre-order Now: Kindle | Paperback
About the Author: Sirius is a lover of glory, gore, and monsters. They are a queer, nonbinary artist living in the hot and bothered South; currently residing in a little spot that has been dubbed ‘Halloweentown’, North Carolina. They are the writer of The Draonir Saga, the first book of which is Uncrowned (The Laughing Man House), and The Gentleman Demon Series, the first book of which is Swallow you Whole (Curious Corvid Publishing).

Sirius began writing at a young age and started exploring the publishing industry when they were thirteen. With many bumps along the way, they have learned a lot and grown in the craft that they would consider their one true love. Queer characters, gothic aesthetics, and royal drama (fantasy of manners) form the foundation of their storytelling.

When they are not writing, they work as a professional drag performer, weaving the characters from their stories into visual art for the stage.
Q & A

How does it feel to have this story published for the first time?

Putting a book out into the world is always incredibly exhilarating, and it is always followed by that aspect of “what now?”. I am usually so wrapped up in the next project that I forget to slow down and celebrate. With Condemned, I have given myself a little more room to celebrate, because I really love this book. Of the series, it is probably my favorite so far, and I am always nervous about the reception of a new release–but incredibly excited as well.

What inspired the idea for your story?

This series has been with me since I was 13. I have written and re-written several versions over the years with all sorts of different characters until I landed on its current telling. It all started when I was writing back and forth with my penpal at a young age, and it has consumed me since.

We know that writing can be a tumultuous journey with a lot of obstacles, what is your kryptonite as a writer?

Juggling every story at once and giving myself time to do other things. It is really easy for me to get lost in my writing and not leave room for anything else in my life. I am prone to distraction but usually in terms of, I am always considering a story, and find it too easy to abandon other life tasks or activities in favor of returning to my desk.

Clearly, you’ve succeeded at writing a captivating story for GrendelPress, but we all start somewhere. What advice would you give yourself as a young writer?

The advice I would give myself as a young writer would be to not take criticism too much to heart. To write what they want to write, whether or not there is a ‘market’–especially when it comes to queer stories. Write genuinely.

We’d like to argue that every good story makes both the author and the readers feel something. What perspectives or beliefs have you challenged with your story?

I like to put pressure on morally grey characters and family dynamics in my stories. I like to challenge the reader with really considering the character’s motivation while not giving completely clear-cut heroes or villains, I like to let them decide. I like to challenge perspectives on family, who is owed loyalty and why–what generational traumas lead to, and whether cycles can be broken.

Tell us about your favorite author. What about their book(s) call to you and how do they inspire your own writing?

My favorite author is Megan Whalen-Turner. She is not a horror or dark fiction writer, but her clever characters, her captivating dialogue, and the twists and turns of her political intrigue just have me hook, line, and sinker. I do have other favorite authors who are more my genre–Anne Rice, Ellen Kushner, Victor Hugo–but Megan is at the very top. If I could save one book from a burning building it would be King of Attolia.

What do you love most about your story’s genre?

I love dark fantasy because it blends the best elements of horror and (in my case) fantasy of manners. Polite, strained conversation–a lot of beating around the bush, every word has more than one meaning, every smile has a motive. I like books that are not afraid to be bloody, terrifying, or bleak (but always with levity and a perhaps a grain of hope, for heaven’s sake). I love stories that are grotesque and monstrous, but also poetic and beautiful. Books that make you want to look away, but you cannot.

What are some other genres you’d like to break into and why?

I would like to write a really gross splatterpunk story without any speculative elements–just once. I would like to see if I am even capable, because I really love the supernatural.

If you had to pick another story of yours to share with your readers, what would it be?

Swallow You Whole! It is being released by Curious Corvid Publishing in September of 2023. It is about two demons who are caught navigating the ins-and-outs of polite Victorian society while also getting pulled through Hell’s cold, corporate bureaucracy. There is seduction, betrayal, and gross bloody gore.
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