Exclusive Interview with author "Brian Fence"
Brian Fence is a lifelong writer of short stories, poems and more recently full length fiction. In his book Librarian we meet a female protagonist who must battle against magic, heartache and loss in order to, quite literally, save the world. Librarian is the first book of a trilogy, in Fence’s alternate universe where love and friendship are king.
A graduate of Oxford University, Fence draws on multiple sources for inspiration including living in England and Japan. and his hometown in New Jersey. His voice has a global quality and is interlaced with a mix of cultural overtones as well as queer themes. In this exclusive interview, we learn what drives him as an author.
You’ve lived in the U.S., Japan and the United Kingdom. Do you feel that’s influenced your writing style?
Definitely! Since I spent most of my young years in Japan and the UK, I’m heavily influenced by sources like anime and British authors such as Diana Wynne Jones. I consider myself a TCK — Third Culture Kid. I had a bit of a disconnect with the US since I was abroad during 9/11, so I’m uniquely challenged to find a world so different from what I knew as a young lad.
What was your inspiration for writing Librarian?
It started off with two supporting characters — Gilbert and Luc, both queer — suffering the loss of the other. The inspiration came while writing at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, when my lover was returning back to England and I was remaining in the US. After reading the chapter, I knew I needed a witness to the loss, and then came Librarian and its protagonist, Lenna.
Librarian is one book in a trilogy. How would you describe the series?
Kirkus describes the series as “political fantasy,” but I see it more about the main character, Lenna, having to deal with loss, grieving, reticence, and her own issues of depression and alcoholism, all the while being tossed about magically jammed-pack world.
Tell us about the central protagonist in Librarian, what drives her?
Lenna Faircloth is driven by her childhood promise to her best friend, Gilbert. After losing her mother and suffering from the grief, they made a pact to help each other out, no matter what the circumstances, with a secret password. She also likes a good bottle of wine, pickled eggs, and bubble baths. She also has a wild distaste for geese, unless cooked.
What do you hope readers will take away from reading your book?
Life isn’t always full of happy endings, but love and friendship are forces to be reckoned with.
How would you describe the alternate universe in which your new book takes place?
“The Continent” (as it’s called) is a sparsely populated land with four major nations. Magic still exists for the young and only a few extra special individuals as they grow older. Also, big note: the stars are going out.
You’ve explored queer themes in your other works. Are any similar themes showing in Librarian?
I believe it’s important to highlight a queer narrative, as growing up as a queer young man I didn’t have very many to turn to; at least, not ones set in a fantasy world. To that extent, Librarian, book one of the trilogy, hinges on the relationship of Gilbert and Luc, and Lenna’s own response to what in her world is considered taboo.
For more about the author, visit: http://www.brianfence.com/