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Home Novels Purchase Interviews Multi Media About/Contact Justine Saracen - Frock Interview Katie:  How did you go about researching Sarah’s character?  Justine:  Fortunately, I have a couple of friends who were very open about what they went through.  Lolanthe Woulff, herself an excellent author, even went so far as to send me the series of articles she wrote on her transformation.  Katie:  Sarah travels to Venice and makes a great discovery.  Can you imagine falling in love with this person yourself?  Justine:  Oh, I WAS in love with her, at every stage of her development, in everything she did.  My editor was too.  The real test, of course, is whether the readers fall in love with her.  Katie:...which compels me to ask if Sarah is based on a real person?  Justine:  No, she was based only on my imaginary dragging (excuse the expression) of Eddie Izzard all the way to the end of the road he only started on.  Katie:  Is this a one-off or will you be including transgendered people in your work in the future?  Justine:  Transgendered people are as likely to show up as gays and lesbians are.  I first choose a time and place and then populate it.  I am currently writing about Nazi Germany, and in that setting, any tg/ts person would not survive long.  So it will have to wait until the novel after that.  Katie:  How can we go about obtaining a copy of “Sarah, Son of God”?  Justine: You can order it in paperback or in e-book format directly from the publisher (Bold Strokes Books) or from any online distributor. beyond gay men and women to transgendered people?   Justine:  Most gays are not aware of the fact that the Stonewall riots, the fun shot that started Gay LIberation, began at a bar for transsexuals (a trannie bar” in the dreadful parlance of the time).  They were the first to fight back; they are our ‘founding fathers’.  But on a more personal level, a friend in the UK introduced me to videos of the young Eddie Izzard, when he appeared on stage in his own adaptations of female dress.  It was NOT drag, but Eddie in his womanly persona.  There was something very stimulating about a person who came so far along that continuum, to look like a woman but still have the ‘taint’ of the man.  I wanted to explore that allure from the standpoint of a lesbian, because it decidedly IS an allure.  Katie:  As a self-identified lesbian, where do you see the ‘overlap’ between lesbians and transgendered people?  Justine:  In the lesbian world there is already a spectrum of sexualities, or sexual personalities, from girly girl - to FtM transsexuals.  So I see the transgendered point as a sort of bridge or synapses between the female side of the spectrum and the male side.  Katie:  In a sentence or two, can you explain what your new book, ‘Sarah, Son of God’ is about?  Justine:  It’s a story within a story within a story, and at every level of the tale, the protagonist is transgendered to one degree or another.  The innermost story, which of course I can’t give away, deals with a witness to the Crucifixion.  The ‘outside’ plot, if you will, takes place in Venice, which I fell smack in love with, and the main character is Tadzio who transgenders to Sarah, and that’s when things get interesting.  Very astute readers will recongnize the name of Tadzio from the famous novella “Death in Venice.”  Katie:  And Sarah turns out to be the main protagonist.  What make you want to write about a transgendered character?  Justine:  Constant erotic dreams about Eddie Izzard as a woman.  I decided I can’t be the only lesbian who thinks a MtF is hot. a transgendered MtF.  In fact, most of my novels have both gay men and lesbians, because they have been the really important people in my life.  Katie:  You were a University Professor for many years.  How different is that from the life of an author?  Justine:  Of course it’s much more fun to be an author, since you get to make stuff up.  In fact, it’s ALL making stuff up.  But the discipline in the writing is the same.  When I was writing for literary journals (the kind that maybe twenty people would read) I had to develop a disciplined writing style in order to keep the reader following my line of argument.  I use that same discipline in fiction, keeping my reader moving down the page with me, though, instead of leading them through the argument, I lead them through the fantasy.  The greatest difference, of course, is that I reach thousands of people now instead of just those twenty academics.  Katie:  Your books are set in some amazing places.  Do you have some affinity or personal experience with each of the locations you use?  Justine:  Oh, I definitely do.  My first novel was about Egypt because my partner was an Egyptologist and she took me there twice.  But whenever I chose an historical event, I went and spent a week in the place where it happened:  Egypt, Jerusalem, Rome, Venice, Berlin.  The only exception was Stalingrad (Mephisto Aria), which was pretty much reduced to rubble in WWII.  Katie:  What caused you to expand your subjects After years of ‘professing’ at universities and writing for international literary journals, Brussels based self identified lesbian, Justine Saracen became an author.  In all her works to date, she has set gays, lesbians and gender rebels in the great moments of western history.  Her most recent offering, ‘Sarah, Son of God’, features a transgendered woman at the center of the action which prompted Frock’s Katie Glower to ask her for an interview, as follows...  Katie:  Firstly, please tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from and where you live now.  Justine:  I’m an expatriate living in Brussels, but otherwise a native New Yorker.  I’ve lived in various US states and in several European countries.  This phase of my life is in French.  Katie:  What do you do?  Are you a full-time author or do you have other interests?  Justine:  These days I am a full time author.  I get up in the morning, walk the dog, spend two hours online reading newpapers, contacting friends, etc.  Then I write.  I have to write a lot because when I edit, I throw a lot away.  Then I eat and walk the dog again.  Occasionally I put on clothes.  Actually I do have a ‘life’, a rather challenging one, adopting to a new language and a new culture.  But I love it here, in a fantastic city and a train ride away from a dozen other fantastic cities.  Katie:  What do you like to write about?  Do you have a specific interest that comes through in our writing?  Justine:  I write historical novels, because, as I tell people at book fairs, I want to plant our flag on the historical landscape.  That is, I choose a great historical event and retell it through the eyes and experience of a gay man or lesbian, or in this case,