Anna Butler Interview

How did you first discover your genre?

I always say that I don’t write m/m romance per se, but sci-fi and steampunk with LGBT protagonists. I’ve always loved sci-fi. My dad’s influence, since he was a devotee all his life—finding birthday and Christmas presents for him always involved delightful hours spent in bookshops trying to decide which sci-fi novel he’d like best, and buying him several instead of being forced to choose. That wasn’t generosity, by the way, because guess who also got to read them?

I discovered the m/m aspect through slash fanfic. There is some marvellous fanfic out there that’s often way better than the source material. It’s often less constrained, more creative, transformative. I still read it for the sheer enjoyment of something written not for any commercial reason, but for pure love of the source.

What do you like best about your genre?

I write science fiction. Space opera, really, and I love the potential for not only writing action and adventure with spaceships and laser pistols and humanity fighting for its survival against unknowable, unfathomable aliens but also exploring how much humanity’s own worst traits creates half of the problems it faces. Great fun!

I also adore history, Egyptology in particular. I’ve managed to mix that into both my Taking Shield series and into the steampunk Lancaster’s Luck series.

Seriously, there is nothing better than being an author. Not when I can get to play in both my sandboxes at once.

What one thing would you change about your genre?

I do find some of the ‘romance’ expectations to be constricting. Writing about LGBT characters is a broad church open to every kind of story and genre, but because of the prominence of m/m romance, books tend to be viewed through that romance lens. I’ll admit to being rather irritated when reviewers complain about the lack of romance in my Shield books, for example, when it’s not a romance to start with! I think it does colour reader expectations and makes it harder to get out of narrow niches.