A discussion with author Rosiee Thor
Welcome everyone! I’m absolutely overjoyed to be introducing Rosiee Thor to Bookish Brews today. This week Rosiee’s sophomore novel, Fire Becomes Her, came out and so we’re here celebrating her release week and chatting about their novel and queerplatonic relationship in literature. I had so much fun interviewing Rosiee I can’t wait for you to read her incredibly thoughtful responses. Please help me welcome Rosiee Thor! But before we get into our really wonderful chat about queerplatonic relationships, let’s take a quick look at Fire Becomes Her.
Bookish Brews Snapshot
In a world where magic buys votes, flare is power and Ingrid has a plan to get her fair share. On the arm of Linden Holt, heir to the largest fortune of flare in Candesce, Ingrid can rise to the top if she can strike a deal and win over her only obstacle, Linden’s father.
💜 Asexual & Aromantic Rep 🌱 Character Growth 🥀 Flawed Characters 🪄 Unique Magic
The Importance of Queerplatonic Relationships in Literature
Amanda Khong: Welcome to Bookish Brews, Rosiee! I’m so excited to have you here! Can you start by introducing yourself to our friends at Bookish Brews? Please feel comfortable to brag a little, we want to know what you are proud of and excited for!
Rosiee Thor: Thanks so much for having me on the blog! I’m so excited to talk to you a bit about myself and my new book. I’m an author, obviously, and I’m thrilled to be launching my sophomore novel this spring, Fire Becomes Her and hopefully introduce some new readers to my debut novel, Tarnished Are The Stars. They’re both YA genre-blending fantasy about queer teenagers finding their voices amid adventure, politics, and a little glitz and glamor. Besides my books, I would say I’m most proud of my amazing tomato crop this last year. I’m an avid gardener and I planted 21 tomato plants which was definitely overkill, but very tasty!
Amanda: Your upcoming novel FIRE BECOMES HER features so many things that I’m excited to read! It has Jazz Age glamor, women in suits, dismantling of the system, found family, and queerplatonic relationships. Though I’m over the moon about literally all of that, I’m most excited about seeing a queerplatonic relationship in literature! For our readers who might not know, can you tell me a little bit about what a queerplatonic relationship might look like?
Rosiee: Of course! Queerplatonic relationships are a little under the radar sometimes and despite being in one myself, I didn’t even know they existed until a few years ago! Basically, a queerplatonic relationship is a committed relationship between queer people that isn’t romantic or sexual in nature. It’s rooted in a platonic bond, much like a friendship, but the participants in the relationship have placed a specific relevance on that relationship because of their commitment or future-plans within the relationship. Basically, it’s like planning a life with your best friend and making the decision to live interconnected lives kind of like how romantic partners do, just without the romantic element.
I was very excited to explore a queerplatonic relationship in Fire Becomes Her. Ingrid’s story of self-discovery as she works through what she wants out of a relationship is very close to my own. I originally set out to write her story very differently, with a very specific romantic agenda in mind, but as I started drafting and explored her character more, it became clear to me that she shared my aromantic identity and to give her a romance arc in the book would be against her character. Instead, I was able to develop a queerplatonic arc for the relationship and it felt so much more natural for both her as a character and me as an author.
Amanda: What are some common misconceptions about queerplatonic relationships? What do you wish everyone knew about them? What do you wish you knew earlier?
Rosiee: I think a lot of the misconceptions stem from misunderstanding aromantic and asexual spectrum identities. I think a lot of people think that queerplatonic relationships are the same as friendships and while they do have a lot in common, a queerplatonic relationship is something that requires a lot of work and communication to establish outside of the friendship it’s rooted in. I wish people understood that queerplatonic relationships aren’t the same as friendships in the way that not all rectangles are squares. Queerplatonic relationships are all friendships, but not all friendships are queerplatonic relationships.
Queerplatonic relationships, just like romantic relationships, don’t have to be monogamous and many people in queerplatonic relationships are poly, sometimes with additional queerplatonic relationships or even some romantic or sexual relationships. I also think people don’t understand that queerplatonic relationships can vary in type and intensity. Some people have queerplatonic partnerships that last short periods of time, and some have queerplatonic relationships that last a lifetime. They can also be very serious relationships or more casual relationships. It all depends on the people participating–just like with romantic and sexual realtionships.
When I first discovered the term queerplatonic relationship, it was long after I’d encountered the concept. I’d heard of it before, only it was just called “heterosexual life partners” and it was usually used to describe two straight women who were just too sick of men to keep dating. This idea didn’t vibe for me because I wasn’t “sick of men” so to speak; I was never really into them to begin with. And since I didn’t align with being heterosexual, the term itself felt exclusionary.
The idea of it felt close to what I wanted for myself, but I felt like I wasn’t allowed into the space because the term was wrong for me. When I encountered the term queerplatonic, it was like being in the wrong size section at a thrift store but finding a pair of jeans that fits perfectly anyway.
Amanda: How does it feel to be able to spotlight a queerplatonic relationship in FIRE BECOMES HER? What do you hope readers will get out of Ingrid’s self-discovery? What part of her journey brought you the most joy to write?
Rosiee: It feels amazing! I honestly wasn’t sure I’d ever get to write a book like this, and to have it be my sophomore novel is absolutely a dream come true. Sometimes I worry it actually all is a dream and I’ll wake up tomorrow to discover this is all an elaborate practical joke or something. When I hand this book over to readers it feels a little like handing part of myself to them. It’s definitely nerve-wracking, but it’s also exciting! I’ve learned to love the parts of my identity I chose to write about in Fire Becomes Her and so I’ve already gotten approval from my harshest critic (myself).
I hope readers love Ingrid, but more than anything, I hope Ingrid’s journey helps them find more ways they can love themselves. I think that was my favorite thing about writing this book–the exploration of different types of love. I hope readers walk away feeling that their way of loving and the types of love they want to receive are valid and worthwhile.
Amanda: How do publishers react to having queerplatonic relationships featured in your work? How do they feel about FIRE BECOMES HER being described as such? Did you receive any pushback or any encouragement to change the relationship?
Rosiee: I’m lucky to have an editor who not only encourages me to write from my own experience, but who’s also respectful of that fact.While it’s entirely possible there are people at my publisher who don’t get it, my editor does (and when at times he didn’t, he asked the right questions and listened to my answers). I know this may not be the case for all writers or publishers, and I don’t know what my experience might’ve been like had I been trying to sell Fire Becomes Her as my first novel.
Sometimes I think about the rejections this book might have gotten if I’d submitted it more widely, but I’m glad my editor and publisher took a chance on this book so I didn’t have to face that this time around. I know there are sentiments among many editors that romance is required in order to sell a book, but I genuinely think those editors just haven’t thought beyond their own reading preferences. There’s definitely a readership for books that don’t center romance or books that center complex relationships that may not fall firmly into romantic or platonic arcs. I hope more publishers take on books with queerplatonic relationships and continue to grow our definition of love in fiction.
Amanda: Do you have a favorite queerplatonic relationship existing in canon already? How was the experience of seeing a queerplatonic relationship in a book for the first time? How did that existing favorite relationship affect your writing for FIRE BECOMES HER?
Rosiee: I am a huge fan of Claire Kann’s If It Makes You Happy, which features a girl in a queerplatonic partnership who is experiencing falling in love with someone else for the first time. I loved how respectful the story was of the queerplatonic relationship as well as the romantic relationship, plus it’s got a whole lot of baking and I can’t resist a description of yummy food!
Amanda: Lastly, can you share with us how valuable it is to you to see more queerplatonic relationships in novels? Do you have any recommendations for books with queerplatonic relationships?
Rosiee: It really means the world to me to see more queerplatonic representation. I didn’t have words for this type of relationship until a few years ago, but I wonder what my experience would have been like had I been introduced to the concept when I was a teen. I went through a lot of heartache and trying to be something I’m not before I found the vocabulary to describe my experience, and even though I’m not a teen anymore, seeing that experience validated in storytelling always warms my heart.
For anyone looking to read more books centering queerplatonic relationships, I recommend checking out The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath [Bookish Brews’ review for The Reckless Kind], and Claudie Arseneault’s Isandor, City of Spires series. I also recommend checking out the anthology Common Bonds, which features short stories about platonic relationships from all aromantic spectrum authors (myself included).
Rosiee Thor began her career as a storyteller by demanding to tell her mother bedtime stories instead of the other way around. She spent her childhood reading by flashlight in the closet until she came out as queer. She lives in Oregon with a dog, two cats, and an abundance of plants. She is the author of Young Adult novels Tarnished Are The Stars and Fire Becomes Her and the picture book The Meaning of Pride.