To accompany our co-written story, “Making Us Monsters.” Here’s a taste:
Uncanny Magazine: From the digging I did, I didn’t see any instances where you’d both co-written a story before “Making Us Monsters.” What was the impetus to not only co-write a story but this one?
Lara Elena Donnelly: I was reading a lot about 1920s Britain, and happened on the fact that socialite Stephen Tennant had been Siegfried Sassoon’s lover. So, I started reading up on Sassoon. When I posted a Sassoon poem to my Tumblr, Sam saw it and said he was into World War I poetry too, specifically Wilfred Owen’s. I don’t remember how we made the jump from “we like WWI poets” to “we should write a story where we write letters to each other as if we WERE WWI poets, and it should be sexy and gay and also horrifying and there should be brutal medical experimentation,” but I do know it started, as many queer fannish things do, on Tumblr.
Sam J. Miller: I had been obsessed with Wilfred Owen from the moment I read his magnificent, horrifying, brutal, beautiful poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est,” and when I found out he was gay it just added so much fascinating depth to the complex interrogations of masculinity in his poetry. And of course, I always lose my mind when someone shares my bizarre obscure obsessions, so geeking out about Sassoon and Owen with Lara really got my mind going. It felt like a perfect first time to collaborate with someone, because we each had a natural affinity toward one of the two, and writing an epistolary piece between two people doesn’t present the same kind of challenges that other collaborations do, where two different prose voices have to somehow become one. For “Making Us Monsters,” we could stick to our own strong distinct voices and it was a strength instead of a weakness.