So today I’m here with quite possibly THE most exciting post I’ve done on my blog so far! You may have heard of the soon to be published Keep Faith, a short story anthology written by the most amazing group of authors, all about the intersection of faith, religion and queerness. Well today I am here with the absolutely lovely Gabhi Martins, editor and author of Keep Faith to chat about this brilliant anthology that you 100% are going to want to read.
Oh, and did I mention we’re having a GIVEAWAY?! Stay tuned to the end of the post to find out how to win a copy of this marvellous anthology! And thank you again Gabhi for speaking with me about your new anthology and what faith means to you.
Rach: Could you tell me a little bit about where you got the idea for this anthology from? What made you want to talk about faith and queerness?
Gabhi: I was talking to a friend, and they told me that their girlfriend had been expelled from home and church for being queer. I really wanted to help, but I didn’t have the $$$ to make an impact in the situation. So I asked my friend if they thought it was a good idea to get a group of badass authors together and start an anthology, with all proceeds going to their girlfriend. My friend was thrilled, and so I started talking to authors I thought would like to help!
You have such an amazing group of authors! Can you describe some of the stories we’ll expect to see in the book?
Oh yes, yes they are amazing. I am so excited for everyone to read their art, because they truly took it to the next level with these stories. They are so different and so incredible. We have everything from science-fiction to high fantasy to contemporary and romantic comedy. One of the stories made me cry. One of the stories made me laugh so much my belly ached. One of the stories made teenage me feel seen. Honestly, they are just good concepts. I couldn’t have chosen a better group of people, and they couldn’t have chosen a better way to tell their stories. I honestly believe there’s something for everyone in there.
The blurb for Keep Faith says “and faith meaning whatever you want it to mean”. So if you had only 5 words, what does faith mean to you?
Believing and trusting in yourself.
I was drawn to this anthology as soon as you described it to me because faith is something close to so many people and in my experience, when it intersects with my queerness, it has often caused difficult challenges that I have sometimes struggled to cope with it. Was it challenging to write/edit something that is so personal?
We definitely have some very personal stories in the anthology, and reading the doubts and fears of being queer while religious (or while inserted in a religious context), there’s a part of me that felt uncomfortable. But the authors were very skillful in approaching faith and queerness in a way that felt respectful and rawly honest at the same time. I tell a little of my own personal journey with faith in the editor’s letter, but spoiler alert: not very pretty. It saddens me because what I’ve learned is that faith is never judgmental, is never almighty-and-righteous in the sense that it knows all. Faith is kind and loving. At the core of any religion or spiritual practice there’s love. Love for yourself. Love for people. Love for your god. But when religion translates from concept into a practice ruled by humankind, we humans have a tendency of spoiling it just a bit with what we personally believe, prejudice and all. We are imperfect. We are judgmental. We think we’re better than our peers. Not god. (Or God. Or Allah. Or the Universe. Or Nature.)
What would you say to child you about faith and queerness, knowing what you do now?
It doesn’t matter what you call it and it doesn’t matter what rituals you practice to be reminded of that. We are here to love each other, and we are here to grow together. Progress and love are the universal laws.
Goodreads blurb: Keep faith, in the broad sense of the word. It doesn’t have to be a religion, unless you want it to be. It doesn’t have to speak about the universe, unless you want it to. It doesn’t have to be about anyone but yourself. Keep faith, in other planets and other houses; be it in the face of danger, grief, or while you spread your arms and laugh. Keep faith the same way you keep hope, bright and shiny, ever present. Keep faith in all your queer, beautiful self. Because you deserve it.
This is an anthology of 14 short stories, by 14 queer authors, where faith and queerness intersect. Incidental, purposeful, we-exist-and-that’s-why queerness. And faith meaning whatever you want it to mean.
Keep Faith has an absolutely amazing team of authors, all who bring such a unique perspective and voice to the anthology. Hear from Adiba Jaigirdar, Bogi Takács, C.T. Callahan, Elly Ha, Gabriela Martins, Julia Rios, Kate Brauning, Kess Costales, Mary Fan, Mayara Barros, Megan Manzano, Shenwei Chang, Sofia Soter, and Vanshika Prusty.
Keep Faith is publishing on September first, as ebook only. You can preorder the anthology on gumroad here! As Gabhi mentioned, all proceeds go towards an amazing cause so please do spread the word about Keep Faith to reach as many readers as possible. To hear more about this wonderful anothology, check back into my blog on Sunday to see a full review!
I hope this post has made you as keen to read this as I was! Hence I am SO incredibly excited to be hosting a giveaway to win a copy of Keep Faith. To enter, comment below, or quote retweet to my announcement tweet (here) telling me in five words what faith means to you. For an extra entry, you can follow myself and Gabhi on Twitter! The giveaway closes next Wednesday (4 September) and a winner will be randomly selected and annouced on Twitter on Thursday 5 September!
Rach + Draco