Interview with Kirsty Logan

Photograph
by Jane Flett October 23, 2015

We asked Kirsty Logan to be our first featured writer, because she’s a total badass Scottish folklore obsessed writer with a semicolon tattooed on her toe, and all of that is pretty fabulous with us.

She obliged with Queer Zombie Disco, which you can check out here if you haven’t already. We caught up with Kirsty to ask her about some of the influences behind her writing…
It’s so refreshing to see riot grrls in a story—there’s a punk sensibility about this that we really loved. Does music influence your writing in any way?

Very much so! Lyrics, of course, but also the rhythms and repetitions of sound. For the past few years I’ve been working on a story collection called Girl With the Most Cake, inspired by Hole’s Live Through This album. It’s been the best fun. I love nothing more than writing stories about angry, bitchy teenage girls. Even though I’m 31 and have a career and a flat and pay my council tax on time and blah blah blah, in my head I will always be a 13 year-old goth.

 

Queer Zombie Disco is, I gotta say, a super hot story. You’ve also had stories included in the Best Lesbian Erotica anthologies. How do you write a good sex scene?

A lot of my sex scenes don’t have any sex in them, in the conventional sense of insert-body-part-A-into-body-part-B. I’m more interested in the build-up or the come-down, really. The build-up is all terror and excitement, and when the lust descends it’s like a red cloud across your vision, and you can’t see anything else. Then after, the come-down, and the mist has cleared, and you’re happy or sated or disappointed. To me there’s more to explore there than the actual squishy throbbing sex part.

So my advice for writers is: focus on detail, don’t use gross genitalia words (if I see the words ‘dick’ or ‘pussy’ I grimace and stop reading), don’t pound, don’t thrust, don’t attempt to describe the whole act.

 

This story had a very urban Glaswegian feel to me, and I hear you’ve just spent a month in Finland on a writing retreat (which I imagine to be a land of saunas, lakes and solitude). Do you find yourself strongly influenced by place/surrounding when you’re writing? How does this affect your stories?

I love Glasgow. Every city I write is Glasgow. It’s that mix of the gritty and the glamorous, the fact that it’s a working city and refuses to put on a pretty mask for tourists, but that it’s beautiful anyway.

Finland was great, and I miss it. You’re right about the solitude, but at the time that’s what I needed. I’d just spent a chaotic six months on the book promo bandwagon, getting trains and planes back and forth across the UK, doing events three times a week. I loved it, but it was exhausting. I needed to crawl back inside my own head for a while, and remind myself why I do this whole writing thing at all. Because the events are great, but it’s not why I do it. I do it to make up worlds and explore them for a while, and then open the doors so other people can explore them too.

I’ve also just been to Iceland and it was amazing (Why did it take me 31 years to go to Iceland? Why don’t I live there? Why doesn’t everyone live there?) It was so inspiring that I’ve already plotted out a whole future novel about Icelandic witches going on an epic murderous quest. I can’t wait to write it.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on my fourth book, a novel called Rust & Stardust. It’s about queer mermaids on a Scottish island.

 

And what’s your fantasy project that you imagine yourself working on in ten years time but haven’t told anyone about yet?

I’m a big nerd for pro-wrestling. Not proper sports wrestling: the TV stuff, scripted fights, steroid-buff men leering into the camera. LOVE IT. I’m obsessed with the crossover between reality and fantasy, and how in pro-wrestling that line is crossed and re-crossed so many times that it’s totally rubbed out. I want to write a novel or story collection all about pro-wrestling and the blurring of reality and make-believe, and how living a life where that’s normalized affects you.

 

Reading your story made me remember how much I miss a Scottish breakfast. What’s in your hotblood hangover cure?

A crispy bacon roll with lots of butter. Strong tea with sugar. Though now I’m in my 30s I get a hangover from about 2 glasses of wine, which is a horrible thing that no one warned me about.

 

Finally, I know you’ve had some experience in running a literary magazine (Kirsty was the co-founder of Fractured West, a fabulous Scottish flash-fiction journal.) Any advice for Leopardskin & Limes?

Remember why you decided to start a magazine in the first place. It can be really tiring, and it’s a lot of work for no pay and no prestige. But it’s all worth it for that diamond-flash moment where you read a story and it’s good, so fucking good, and for a moment you forget where you are and fall into the storyworld. Just keep thinking of that moment, of that writer, of that story.

 

Thanks so much for talking to us, Kirsty! We can’t wait to see your next projects, especially those murderous Icelandic witches…

 

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