Author SpotlightLGBTQ

L. Bossi – Author Spotlight

I am so excited to introduce you to L. Bossi in my Author Spotlight this week. An artist with a background in fashion design and graphic design, Bossi brings a unique blend of art and storytelling to their novels in The Enpirion Project. Bossi says, “From the time I’ve been young, I’ve held an intimate love for both art and writing. I’ve spent years working on The Enpirion Project, a fully illustrated fantasy trilogy that has allowed me to merge those together and create something special. There are currently over 700 art pieces and counting with The Piri Project, including everything from concept work and storyboards to illustrations and full digital paintings.”

I am big fan of fantasy, graphic novels, art, and great storytelling. Bossi brings all this and more in their trilogy, The Enpirion Project. And it also has LGBT+ representation, which of course, I am all about promoting through my channels and here on my blog. So first, let’s talk with the author a bit about this LGBT+ representation, why it was important to them, and how it plays out in this trilogy.

What motivated you to write LGBT+ fantasy novels and embark on The Enpirion Project?

I actually never set out to write an LGBT+ themed novel…or any novel for that matter.  It just sort of happened.  I was attending DigiPen for my BFA when the whole thing started with a series of very intense and realistic dreams that got me into a Thing.  The art came long before the writing and became a bit of an obsession that took over all of my non-school related art time.  My sketchbooks, notebooks, random anything wound up with doodles, mostly of Piri.  I met him and was learning about who he was long before I was introduced to Neph or their relationship.  And, honestly, Piri and Neph’s relationship was actually something of a surprise to me, not because it was a gay relationship, but simply because I never expected things to turn into a love story.  As I’ve told others, and I know people find it a little odd, I don’t take credit for creating the story or characters.  They introduced themselves to me and are as real, in my mind, as anyone I know.  I simply listened to the story that they told me and wrote it down, rather than actively creating or forcing something.  But there were months of drawings beforehand as I learned who they were.  It was finally one specific sketch where I sat back and went “Whoa, there’s more going on here than a simple friendship.”  It wasn’t long after that when I began to actually write things down.

How do you incorporate LGBT+ themes and representation into your fantasy novels? Why is it important for you to include diverse characters and narratives?

Both the inclusion of LGBT+ themes as well as diversity isn’t something I ever thought of or actively worked in.  Neither of those is something that, to me, should ever have any thought of “inclusion”.  The characters, as I met them, were simply as I’ve shown them, as diverse in race, identity, etc as anyone in real life.  I didn’t change who they were or suddenly think, “Oh, I need to diversify the cast.” 

That said, I do think that it’s incredibly important to have diversity in any sort of media.  That’s life and why shouldn’t we show it?  It’s what makes the world so wonderful and interesting.  We should be celebrating all of that wonderful uniqueness.  I find it a sad state of affairs that we have to actively include diversity and think about it.  At some point, I hope that we get to a point where it’s just normal.

Can you tell us more about The Enpirion Project and its significance in the context of LGBT+ representation in literature?

The Project itself centers on Enpirion (Piri) and, while it’s a fantasy story, the main thrust of the book deals with Piri himself and his personal struggles.  The books cover everything from being a severe introvert and having to deal with interpersonal relationships to mental health battles, but, at the same time, none of it is a big, narrative deal.  It’s not thrown in your face and I’m certainly not using the books to martyr myself over a cause.  The issues are simply part of who Piri is and how he copes with life.  They’re treated as normal struggles, the same that many of us deal with.

I do think that the book is significant in the context of representation because, regardless of my intentions (or rather, lack thereof), it IS an LGBT+ book, something that is sorely lacking in the fantasy genre.  It also normalizes the relationship of the two main characters.  It avoids gay male stereotypes, something that I’ve always disliked and something that many of my gay friends also dislike.  The characters are simply who they are.  The world of the book and its main race/culture, also treats the relationship as normal.  There’s no stigma, no prejudice, something you also rarely see in novels.

How do you approach world-building in your fantasy novels, particularly when it comes to creating inclusive and diverse societies within the context of the story?

Just like with the story itself, I listen to the characters.  I allow them to convey the intricacies of their world and society and I would never consider myself a world builder.  I’m merely a conveyor of the story.  I do, however, take copious notes.  The walls of my studio are covered in white and cork boards containing everything from post-it notes to sketches to a full timeline of Seri history.  I have the equivalent of another book that’s nothing but background and history of the world.  I’m constantly fact checking myself and making sure I haven’t gotten things wrong and I am well aware of when I’m trying to insert something into the world that doesn’t click with what the characters have told me.  I don’t consciously approach any of this.  It’s probably not the answer you’re after, but it’s the truth.

Are there any specific challenges or rewards you’ve encountered while writing LGBT+ fantasy novels and working on The Enpirion Project?

Probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve run into is just the fact that it has a gay relationship that’s at the forefront of the story.  For as many people who have no problem with the LGBT+ community, there are just as many who, sadly, do and I’ve had people confront me about it or refuse to even consider reading the book because of it.  At one author event, someone made a snide remark concerning the themes of the book and told me he didn’t understand why I would bother trying to sell something like that.  It happens.  It’s unfortunate.

But for as many people like the one mentioned above, there are just as many who have read and adore the books.  It’s a reward in itself just to have people connect to something I’ve created and enjoy it.

How do you balance the elements of fantasy and storytelling with the exploration of LGBT+ experiences and identities in your novels?

This wasn’t something I ever had to think about.  While the books are about overlying politics and supernatural events and all that good fantasy stuff, the real story is about Piri and the challenges he deals with, from interpersonal relationships to his mental health.  His story was always at the forefront and everything else just wrapped around it.  And, to be honest, I don’t actually consider the Piri/Neph aspect to be about a gay relationship.  It’s simply their relationship.  No tags attached.  They both just happen to be men.

That last sentence just sums it up so much for me, and everything about the author’s attitude toward the relationship and the LGBT+ representation in the story is so important to me, as a queer person. We, LGBTQ people, are a part of the world. We’re a part of life. And it’s important that we are depicted in stories as such. The story itself doesn’t need to revolve around us being gay; we just need to be in the stories.

Bossi does this in a way that is natural, respectful, honest, and beautiful. The story, the art, the world they have created, and the complex characters that bring it all to life is just what we are needing in this genre! I can’t wait to read more.

About the Books

The Enpirion Project: Exordium (Book 1)

  • 400+ Pages
  • Over 200 Illustrations & 3 full digital paintings
  • Available in Hardback, Paperback & Sp Ed ebook

Book Themes:

  • Fantasy
  • LGBT+
  • Mental Health, Depression, Anxiety, Self-confidence, Interpersonal Relationships
  • Contains mild sexual content

The Enpirion Project: Nadir (Book 2)

  • 400+ Pages
  • Over 200 Illustrations & 3 full digital paintings
  • Available in Hardback & Special Ed ebook

Book Themes:

  • Fantasy
  • LGBT+
  • Mental Health, Depression, Anxiety, Self-confidence, Interpersonal Relationships

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap