Cover Photo: This header image is a headshot of Charlie Jane Anders and the logo for Tor.com
Photograph courtesy of Charlie Jane Anders; book cover via Tor.com

Charlie Jane Anders Wants You to Know Daydreaming Is Important, Serious Work

In this interview, Ruth Joffre talks with Charlie Jane Anders about her craft book ‘Never Say You Can’t Survive,’ building writing communities, and queer joy.

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Never Say You Can’t Survive

Ruth Joffre: was originally published on Tor.com as a serial, and I’m pretty sure it’s the only craft book that’s ever been published that way. What was it like writing the book as a serial in our apocalyptic world?

RJ: You write in chapter 3 about the teacher who changed your life, Ms. Pennington. You’ve since gone on to become a teacher yourself, leading workshops and giving craft talks. What does it mean to you now to be a creative writing teacher and to have your own craft book?

Never Say You Can’t Survive

RJ: You talk about community in several places in the book. Can you talk about the importance of community and how it has helped you both as a writer and as a person?

RJ: In chapter 16, you write about the importance of having fun, and throughout the book you talk about cozy, comforting, and affirming stories. Can you talk a bit about the importance of joy as a topic and queer joy in particular?

The Walking DeadMad Max

RJ: In chapter 2, you reveal how you define success, which is 1) that you get to work with people you like and admire, on projects that you are excited about, and 2) that you get to keep writing and having people read your stuff.

career

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RJ: You mentioned working a nine-to-five for a long time. Do you have any advice for writers who are trying to balance a day job with writing?

RJ: What one piece of advice do you most wish you had when you were first starting out in the industry?

RJ: Spiritually, your book reminded me a lot of Kate Bornstein’s Were you thinking of that book at all as you wrote?

Never Say You Can’t SurviveHello, Cruel World

RJ: One last question: What other trans writers should we be reading right now?

Light from Uncommon Stars

The Story of the Hundred Promises

H. E. Edgmon .Man o’ War

Ruth Joffre is the author of the story collection Night Beast. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Lightspeed, Pleiades, The Florida Review Online, Flash Fiction Online, Wigleaf, Baffling Magazine, and the anthologies Best Microfiction 2021, Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness, and Evergreen: Grim Tales & Verses from the Gloomy Northwest. She lives in Seattle, where she serves as Prose Writer-in-Residence at Hugo House.