Her debut novel hits the shelves today
BY GEORGIA DIMDORE-MILES
Never Trust A Gemini by Freja Nicole Woolf was released today and we cannot recommend it enough! The novel is a response to issue-led narratives that most LGBTQIA stories are forced to follow. Rather than focusing on the issues faced by the queer community as a whole, it centres the everyday experience. Of course, LGBTQIA people do face many issues in their daily lives, but that is not all that our lives are about, and Freja’s book illustrates this wonderfully. Freja tells us that in writing this novel, she “wanted to show that sapphic romance could be just as cringey and embarrassing as any other romance”. We can safely say that she has definitely proved that, and we’re so excited for the world to see it.
Get into our interview with the new author…
Georgia: My first question is what everyone is probably asking – from your own experience, why should you never trust a Gemini?
Freja: Ironically enough I don’t actually have much experience with Geminis. But I had a friend who was very hot and cold and I thought Geminis have this duality, they are very hot and cold. They have two faces and they will only show one of them. I then imagined having all of that in a relationship and the anxiety it would bring. I kind of used it as a motto and a bit of a joke for myself. One of my best friends is actually a Gemini, she is the most wonderful friend and I don’t think she will ever quite forgive me for “stabbing her in the back” like this. I have gone ahead and published a book slandering her sign hahaha! Geminis have actually loved it though, they are quite excited to have the representation.
Would you describe yourself as a zodiac fanatic?
I am definitely a big fan of them but not quite as militant as Cat is! I don’t allow them to control my perception of someone or allow them to write off people. I normally just make a joke that something is typical behaviour of that sign. But when I meet someone new I am curious to find out what sign they are and whether that matches my experience of them. It very often does. I am very good at guessing people’s signs accurately, which makes me feel quite good about my guru abilities.
So would you, like Cat in the book, base dating decisions off of horoscopes?
I think Cat is more full on with it than I would be. I don’t really base decisions just off that, we are bigger than star signs. Every time I have decided I will never date a sign again, I meet someone else and they are lovely, and I roll with it. Cat is definitely more intense than me.
Never Trust A Gemini really reminded me of some of the books I read when I was younger but those books never had any queer or lesbian characters. How does it feel to be able to provide young LGBTQIA adults with this kind of representation?
Without wanting to sound cliché it means everything to me! I spent all my teen years suppressing something in me and that takes its toll. How are you supposed to stop suppressing something if you don’t know what it is? It is important to make space for different identities that fall outside of being heteronormative. I am just so thrilled that not only are these books being written, but industry figures are behind them. When I was in school there was nothing about being LGBTQIA and my teen years weren’t even that long ago. I feel like not that much change has happened in such a short amount of time.
I totally agree. Even now it feels like there are more queer stories being written, but lesbian centred stories still feel like a rare thing. Do you think that the publishing industry has still got a long way to go with that?
I think it is good that progress is being made but I agree there is a limited space for lesbian stories. When I spoke to a friend who is a lesbian about the book, the first thing she asked me was “so one of them doesn’t die at the end? There’s no tragedy?” I was like “ NO, there’s none, it is happy, it is a normal romance with the romcom chaos!”
The fact that was the first thing to enter her mind shows us something of where the industry needs to go. We are often given such sad stories, of course lesbian yearning is a thing but lesbians should also be able to be happy! Sapphic romance should be able to be as embarrassing, cringy, funny as heteronormative ones. There is no shame around it. It really is just her coming of age and realising who she is and it isn’t too heavy for her.
I read that you wrote this piece almost as a reaction to the issue-led stories that LGBTQIA lives are allowed. Why did you want to write an everyday experience instead?
It is quite funny because being LGBTQIA affects every part of your life, but at the same time we all share the same world whether we are gay or straight and there is a common human experience. I think often we are othered and told we are going to live a completely different life. Especially in this country I think it is important to make the point that you can have the same life, in many ways, as a straight person. You can have all the same things. Cat has her group of friends, their house parties and gatherings, their teen dating experiences. She shouldn’t be excluded from those things just because she has dizzy crushes on girls instead of boys.
The story really is for everyone. My straight friends who read it found it just as relatable, which makes me really happy.
You can order Freja’s book now from gaystheword.co.uk or check out other bookstores across the UK.
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