Lucky me! I recently got to spend some time chatting with the amazing G Benson, the author of last year’s hit ‘All The Little Moments’ and the recently-released ‘Flinging It’, both published by Ylva Publishing. I’m a huge fan of her work, and it was great to talk with her about her writing and other things.
So, your second novel, ‘Flinging It’, is out now. It deals with the controversial issue of a married person having an affair – what prompted you to choose that subject? Did it seem a risky move to take in writing that so early in your career?
The problem with writing (I think for most authors) is that once the muse hits with an idea, not much can stop it! I had an idea in the back of my head, very vaguely based off something I wrote forever ago, and my brain ran with that idea. That idea just happened to be about two women caught up in an affair. Did it seem a bit risky? I was so caught up in the story (which I completed most of during NaNoWriMo, a time in which no real thought is allowed—just write write write) and it wasn’t until a few people who read the first few chapters told me: “I like it! But…an affair…that’s a bit risky” that I stopped and thought about it. I appreciate that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, completely. But their romance, and their story, is, I hope, about so much more than something illicit.
Both ‘Flinging It’ and your first novel, ‘All The Little Moments’, emphasise diversity in strong ways, with POC as main characters in both novels. ‘Flinging It’ also features the story of Jack, who is transitioning from female to male when he discovers he’s pregnant. Is diversity an element you feel we need to see more of in lesbian fiction?
YES! Is that answer sufficient? I think diversity is something we are sorely lacking in all aspects of media—be it TV, cinema, or books. We can all strive to be better. Everyone deserves to see themselves in a well-rounded, fleshed out character. Media doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
You were ‘discovered’ through fanfic and that’s what became ‘ATLM’. How different a process was it for you to write ‘Flinging It’ as a novel without that fanfic start to its story?
So, so different. I actually thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the nerves. I really got to discover the characters for myself and push myself creatively. I had to ask myself, “But, why would she do that?” and find the answer for myself. There were no episodes to go watch or meta to read. My favourite part was not being confined by what was “canon”. I could make the characters as diverse as I wanted. Yay!
So far both your novels have been set in Australia, your country of birth. Do you see that theme continuing?
Funny you should ask! My current work-in-progress is based in the US, which is a first for me. Though the other two floating around in the pipeline are Australia-based…it’s really fun to incorporate bits of my home country, that we don’t see very often on TV or in books.
You’re currently in Greece, working at a refugee camp. Tell us what prompted that work, what you’re doing and how your readers could help
I think what prompted me to help was frustration at some of the ignorant things people had to say about refugees. Hearing about the conditions they have been thrust into in these camps after escaping a brutal war broke my heart, and left me angry all at the same time. But then to hear some of the things people had to say—I just remember thinking “enough”. I was lucky to meet some very inspiring people on Lesvos while I was attending Lesvos Lesfic in June and from there, I got my butt into gear to come back over.
By coming over to help, I’m hoping that at least some of the people this story touches see that refugees are also people, and open their minds a little, all while doing something small to try and improve the conditions these people are in. There is always more to do, and sometimes you feel like the dent you are making barely registers. But then someone will give you a huge hug for something as simple as finding them deodorant, or teaching them a little English, and you’re reminded that the small things matter, too.
There are some amazing organisations out there that are desperate for anything from a share of their posts to get the word out, to donations, to people coming over to be hands on. Check out: Together For Better Days, and Dirty Girls of Lesvos, run by an incredibly awesome woman who did a lot to inspire me.
What’s next for G Benson – can you give away a little of what you are working on right now?
Nope, it’s super secret! Kidding. I’m working on a YA novel. It’s something completely new for me, so a lot of fun in that regards. After that…I have two ideas tugging at me. Who knows?