By Kellie Dohert
Sitting in my apartment, my black cats curled up next to me, my mug of equally black tea cooling on the table, I bask in the glow of my computer screen. It’s late—nearly midnight—and I should go to bed. But I can’t, not yet, not now, not until I’m done writing this one last paragraph, this one last scene, this one last chapter. Just one more, I tell myself, and then I’ll go to bed. Living alone has its advantages, but one disadvantage is that no one is there to tell you to go to sleep. Because of that, I spent many, many late nights writing my new fantasy novel that would eventually be calledSunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties. (Though back then it was simply called “Misti’s Story” because I hadn’t thought up the official title yet.)
I was too excited about my story to stop, and as a writer, that spark—that urge to write—is an amazing feeling. I was excited about the new style of magic I was crafting, the unique creatures I was struggling to describe, and the plots I was twisting…but I was mostly excited about my main character, a Moon Knight named Misti. Why? Because I related to her. Hard. She was awkward and shy and made a ton of mistakes, and I recognized her struggles. I had wanted to write a character who wasn’t the hero-type and Misti fit the bill.
But most of all, I related to her because she was bisexual, and writing a bisexual main character in a novel-length work is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long, long time. (I’d only written bi ladies in short stories and flash fiction before.) Being bisexual myself and not seeing many bi main characters—or even female main characters, or even other queer main characters—in the science fiction and fantasy stories I read was disappointing. After all, I’ve always loved fantasy and science fiction, loved the swordfights and tech, the dragons and machinery, the magic and planets to explore.
But…where was the woman like me in all these adventures? The woman who fell in love with the person, not the gender? I didn’t see that character in the stories I read, so I decided to write my own! I focused on writing queer female main characters where being queer was a facet of them but not their only storyline. I wrote Mia, a lesbian spaceship captain running away from her past, as my first foray into writing queer. She has two books Finding Hekateand Losing Hold, but that wasn’t enough for me.
I wanted to focus on a bisexual character next and so, Misti and my fantasy novel Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Tieswas born. While writing her story, I felt all of Misti’s triumphs and turmoil. I connected with her, not only because she was shy and awkward like me, but also because she shared the same sexual preference as I do. Writing her allowed me to live the adventure she was having, wyverns, magic, betrayal, found families, new romances, and all.
Then, having her story picked up by Desert Palm Press (a publisher I had worked with before) and published on March 27, 2019, was simply thrilling. Why? Because I believe, like many others, that there should be more creative work with queer characters in it, and I’m so happy to add my voice to that diversity movement. I’m glad to include more queer characters in the science fiction and fantasy realms. I’m thrilled Misti, my first bisexual main character in a novel-length work of fiction, is out there, her quest available for all to read. And, like me, here’s hoping Misti helps other bisexual women see themselves in the journey, too!
A little bit about Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties:Misti Eildelmann is fighting a banished one when he slips a pendant around her neck that saps her strength. The pendant is dangerous. Deadly. Misti needs help. Old and new friends join her on the quest for aid, including her crush Dylori Clyofis and a villager Arias Silverstone. The journey is risky—filled with frightening suncreatures, evil worshippers, and twisted betrayal—and Misti soon discovers her pendant is connected to a much bigger plan. Check out my website kelliedoherty.com for more information and where you can find the book, and head on over to desertpalmpress.com to see some more fantastic queer fiction.
A little bit about me: My name is Kellie Doherty; I am a bisexual science fiction and fantasy author living in Eagle River, Alaska. My work has been published by Desert Palm Press, Queer Sci Fi, and Pathos Literary Magazine, among others. I currently work full time as an office assistant and part time as a freelance editor. In my (mostly non-existent) spare time, I like to read, play games, and watch way too much YouTube.