Interview with Time’s Fool, Wilfred Earl

“No-one believes in ghosts,” said Steven, and leaned back against the booth, “that was my point.”

Described by the author, Time’s Fool is a novel about monstrosity, about desire and communication. It’s about the self we present to the world and the needs we whisper to ourselves in the darkness. It is about honesty and the fear of honesty. It is about the things we refuse – refuse to say, refuse to seek, refuse to believe – because sometimes, ignoring those things is all that keeps us sane.

GenderTerror had the fortunate ability to interview Wilfred Earl about their novel, their experience marketing the novel as an out trans person to a non-LGBTQ crowd, and about crowdfunding their novel.

GenderTerror: Tell us a bit about Time’s Fool.

Wilfred: Time’s Fool is a contemporary Gothic novel in the Victorian tradition – so it is about repressed desires, the need for change, and the terror that change brings with it – but it brings those concerns and fears in to our pragmatic and postmodern world.

It is also, essentially, a dark, gripping story about what happens when a bunch of students who break into a vampire’s house and – not knowing his secret – wind up starting a friendship with him. I’ve been calling it my love song to the gothic, a queer homage to Dracula – but really its a smart, sexy, and darkly comic book for everyone who ever has wanted something more, without quite knowing what that thing might be. It’s about why we love the night, and why we fear it.

GT: What were your experiences crowdfunding the novel, especially marketing something that may not appeal to non-LGBTQ people?

W: Crowdfunding was a very interesting experience, and I’m aware that might be taken as a reference to the curse – may you live in interesting times. It was at once very frustrating, and incredibly rewarding. People were so generous, and keen to read this book, and it felt awful constantly dogging people who you knew had a lot of stuff going on in their lives.

Talking of stuff going on in people’s lives – during the crowdfunding process I also transitioned, socially and made the first steps towards medical transition. I’d come out as non-binary about 6 months before signing to Unbound, and the two things happened very much simultaneously. I absolutely would recommend no-one try to replicate this.  Ever. It was a very foolish move. Just from a logistical perspective – it’s difficult if you’re simultaneously trying to persuade people to buy a book a written by Alys Earl, while getting them to call the person who’s written it Wilfred.

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3000 Miles of Blood

3000milesofbloodBeing a woman who lived during the eighteen hundreds, you’d think I could tell you a whole lot about life when dysentery was a thing people still worried about. When women were still very much beneath men and same gender attraction was basically hush-hush, behind-closed-doors, rarely ever heard of.

I could tell you how much I hated the clothing, the neck-wringing bonnets, or how I slept through the Civil War, World War 1 and even most of World War 2. I know, pretty fucked right?

What I really wish I could recall are the faces of my birth parents. My father, my mother, and whether I had any siblings. Not that it matters now, anyway. They’re all long dead. But there is one person I do remember quite well.

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Dysphoric Reality

TW: Suicide (potentially), dysphoria

People talk about dysphoria as if its a monster. This looming beast who lurches over us, slowly pressing its weight into our bodies. This creature that lurks around every corner, in every shadow. This Blood Mary who waits in our mirrors to strike if we dare to catch a glimpse. Dysphoria is described as dark and monstrous, something ready to rip out hearts and minds out the moment we dare to acknowledge it, feeding on the small triumphs to bring us back down. Those watchful eyes that never leave, that phantom breath down our necks.

What if I were to tell you that for some, dysphoria really is a monster. It really is a creature lurking in the shadows, sucking on happiness and leaving a hollow shell. What if I were to tell you that it may kill me soon and is just waiting for the right moment to strike with blade sharp fangs and claws? If the hushed ways we speak of these feelings manifests. It twists. It warps. It becomes real. Welcome to my world. I do not only have to deal with dysphoria, I have to live with it.

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