EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Nina Varela Talks About Her #LGBTQ+ Book ‘Crier’s War’

In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx/WOC community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.

Telling queer stories isn’t just a want for young readers who identify as LGBTQ+. Queer books are a necessity that change the lives of those who consume them, no matter the age. This same principle can be applied to Crier’s War by Nina Varela. It’s a queer book where two young women from completely different walks of life that come together and develop a dangerous bond grounded in romance. We got a chance to speak with Nina Varela about her LGBTQ+ book, what it meant to her, and plans for a sequel!

1. If you could describe Crier’s War in three words, what would they be?

Couldn’t kill her.

2. How important was it to tell this queer story, for you as a writer, and as a queer person?

It was important in that I care deeply about this story, these girls; I love Crier and Ayla and I think their story is exciting and I’m glad I get to share it with people. I’m infinitely happy whenever a queer reader tells me they felt seen when reading this book. I’m always wary when I talk about “importance”—I’m not trying to change the world, this book is one lesbian fantasy amongst many (which is how it should be!), but I do hope it makes people feel things. I hope it serves as a reminder to queer readers that they can star in any kind of story; they can exist in every world; their story matters, they should tell it, I want to hear it.

3. What parts of you are in Crier and Ayla?

I’m a weird contradictory mix of Crier’s nerdiness and idealism and Ayla’s anger and cynicism. It depends on the day. Maybe it’s that I’m angry and sad about a lot of things, like Ayla, and I have to believe that those things can and will change for the better, like Crier. I love books like Crier and messy moonlit parties like Ayla.

4. What do you hope people take away from Crier’s War?

Sort of what I said earlier—that queer people can exist in any narrative, any world. But even more than that, I really just hope it’s fun. Like, it’s not a lighthearted book, but I do hope it’s an interesting ride, and that people care about the characters and want to see them through to the end. I hope it’s escapist in some ways. I hope people care, and continue caring. That’s the highest compliment!

5. Any plans for a sequel?

Yes! IRON HEART is slated for Fall 2020. It was so fun to write, I’m so glad I got to finish Crier and Ayla’s story—I think it’s a pretty good ending, if I do say so myself.

Thank you so much for having me!!

Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)

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