Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone

Guest Blog by Christian Baines

Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by, and to the Iqarus team for asking me to be part of this event. My name’s Christian Baines (he/him/his). I write dark, queer fiction for my fellow weirdos, and dear gods, I miss travel. Seriously. Not just travel to book events, where I get to meet wonderful readers and writers and share stories, but travel just for the sake of exploring a new place. A history. A culture. Anything outside… Well, anything outside would be nice right now.

Since March last year, the only travel I’ve been able to do has been on the page, whether that’s reading or writing, exploring new worlds in my head. It got me thinking (it’s been a good year for that) about different types of travellers and different types of readers. The kind that prefers to flop down at an all-inclusive or on a cruise with a meal plan and entertainment all laid out, and those who prefer to go off script on an adventure.

Combining fantasy, horror, sex, and humour, my books aren’t easy to pin down My writing heroes are an eclectic bunch too, including Anne Rice, Bret Easton Ellis, Clive Barker, Poppy Z Brite, and James Robert Baker. Mix in filmmakers like David Lynch, John Waters, Pedro Almodóvar, Gregg Araki, Tarantino, and Hitchcock, and you might spot a theme. None of them are interested in making the audience cozy. When you go inside one of their stories, you’re completely in their hands, on a spoiler-free journey through the unexpected.

In other words, forget the all-inclusive. We’re going on an adventure.

When I read or travel, I’m craving risk, yearning to be surprised and changed, or at least challenged. Whenever possible, I try to pay that experience forward through my books. That means no spoilers. Even the promise of a HEA is off the table, so when a reader asks, I say my book has ‘the right ending.’ When I read a review of my book from a reader who’s clearly had that ‘holy fuck’ moment, whether it’s from an unseen twist, or just an emotion they weren’t expecting, that’s like a standing ovation.

So, here’s my promise to my readers. If you pick up one of my books, forget the itinerary. Forget the meal plan. This isn’t that kind of vacation. We’re here for the adventure. I hope you’ll join me for one soon.

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Christian Baines is an awkward nerd turned slightly less awkward author of weird and dark queer fiction. His work includes the gay paranormal series The Arcadia Trust, the novella Skin, and Puppet Boy, a finalist for the 2016 Saints and Sinners Emerging Writer Award. Born in Australia, he now travels the world whenever possible, living, writing, and shivering in Toronto, Canada on the occasions he can’t find his passport, or has to isolate due to a global pandemic.

Join him as one of the authors reading during ‘The Queer Character Doesn’t Die in the End: Queer Horror’ (Reading B1)

Check out the full schedule HERE.