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This week’s interview is with author, journalist, and anthology editor Robert Kingett.
Robert Kingett is a totally blind author that writes essays and fiction where disabled characters live normal lives. When he’s not writing, he loves to listen to fiction podcasts. Visit him online at www.blindjournalist.wordpress.com
Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of the Spoonie Authors Podcast! The Spoonie Authors Podcast is part of the Spoonie Authors Network, a community initiative devoted to sharing the stories of disabled authors and educating abled people about what life is like for disabled creatives. Transcripts of this podcast are also available on the Spoonie Authors Network. To learn more or become a contributor, visit spoonieauthorsnetwork.blog. And of course, if you enjoyed this podcast, make sure to leave us a 5 star review on your favourite podcast streaming platform.
Dianna Gunn: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Spoonie Authors podcast, a podcast where we explore the stories of a different disabled author every other Friday. I’m your host, Dianna Gunn. And today we are joined by Robert Kingett. Robert Kingett is a totally blind author who writes essays and fiction where disabled characters live normal lives. When he’s not writing, he loves to listen to fiction podcasts. Visit him at blind journalist dot WordPress dot com. Hello, Robert.
Robert Kingett: [00:00:30] Hello.
Dianna Gunn: [00:00:32] I’m so excited to have you with us and to talk about your upcoming project, Artificial Divide. So can you tell us a little bit about this anthology?
Robert Kingett: [00:00:43] Yes. Yeah. So it’s in our own voices anthology, comprised entirely of a blind and visually impaired authors and short stories will consist of a disabled protagonist dealing with a very complex, emotional complex with our Artificial Intelligence and Renaissance Press is the publisher of the Anthology.
Dianna Gunn: [00:01:47] Awesome Renaissance Press is really great to work with by all accounts. We’ve had several of their authors on here and of course, one of their founders. And it’s just lovely to see the work that they’re doing. And I’m really excited for this project in particular. May I ask what inspired you to work on this?
Robert Kingett: [00:02:08] Sure. So I saw a trend of just disable people not being taken very seriously in literature, so for my first anthology, because I have many, many more planned, so for my first anthology, I’m making a second anthology too actually. For my first anthology, I thought, let’s try to go narrow and let me see how much hair that I lose making the anthology. So the basis for the topic came about after watching a movie about a about artificial intelligence called Her and so I thought, OK, well, this is interesting. Let me try to see how a disabled population will handle up would handle technology as it grows. You know, what kind of relationships would disabled people have with artificial intelligence? So that concept intrigues me very, very, very deeply because I love character driven narratives. So I thought, OK, let’s try to put the concept to a test and see what so many disabled writers create. So, yeah.
Dianna Gunn: [00:04:44] Oh, awesome. And what were some of the challenges of pulling this project together? This sounds like a lot. I know you mentioned losing some hair.
[00:04:54] So like. So the project was was. Was making sure how to authentically judge. Judge, the authenticity of, you know, for their own voices because there was some slight worry in the beginning that was basically like, how do we judge, how do we judge these stories? And know that the writer is not just trying to take advantage of a good thing. So that was a really unique challenge to overcome. But I’m very happy to say that that we managed it without compromising privacy or or things of that nature. So. And for me personally, I like to write a lot so so naturally, I tend to gravitate towards the of writing dialogue because I really like, however, creating this anthology has really helped me and has helped me to appreciate different kinds of writing styles and and what goes on in a characters, in a writer’s head, so that was super rewarding also.
Dianna Gunn: [00:07:48] That sounds awesome. And what was the most exciting part of working on this project, was it getting to see all of those different styles, getting to work with disabled authors?
Robert Kingett: [00:08:00] Without a shadow of a doubt it was lifting up a blind and visually impaired offered authors.Because I see so many marginalized writers on Twitter who have great ideas, and who have amazing ideas and who are just not taken seriously at all. So the sheer thrill of allowing a fellow disabled writer to have the. spotlight and to give them a chance and say, well, look at the amazing work they put out, you could have had that. That’s extremely rewarding to me.
Dianna Gunn: [00:09:32] Awesome, that actually is really nice into the next question, which is why are anthologies like these such important opportunities specifically for disabled authors.
[00:09:49] Because it gives each and everybody is stage to show off their talents, and I feel that anthologies tend to last longer than magazine issues, magazine issues or Blogs and everything, because you basically anthology is extremely portable and timeless in way that magazine issues are not. You know, so having anthologies is a really great way to to look for new writers and to try out different kinds of stories and creators that you may have never tried. But for me, without having to go through like tons of magazine issues or tons of ads and everything like that.
Dianna Gunn: [00:11:47] Makes sense, yeah. Do you think that the anthology also sort of creates its own community? Do you feel connected to those writers?
Robert Kingett: [00:12:00] Yes, yes. Yes, Definitely. Absolutely. Working with all of the writers has really helped a lot of us to to work together. We’re not just writers trying to get a literary agent. We’re working as a team and they get to know me and know my tastes and how I give a certain kind of feedback and at the same time I get to know them and they get to know each other and each and every writer in the anthology will now have a book they can actually go to and they can say, oh, let me look at my peer rather than coming to Twitter and things like that, so.
Dianna Gunn: [00:13:55] Yeah, sounds awesome and sounds like a wonderful experience, and you mentioned that you do have another anthology in the works. Can you talk about that yet, or is that on the down low?
Robert Kingett: [00:14:11] That’s like so the second anthology is going to be more broad. So in the second athonology I’m working on is an anthology involving disabled superheroes.
Dianna Gunn: [00:14:43] So that sounds awesome. I can’t wait to find out more about that. Yeah.
Robert Kingett: [00:14:51] Yes. I know lots of people are going to love it because it plays on the, you know, disabled people are insprition trope, so so, yeah, I think lots of people are going to love it.
Dianna Gunn: [00:15:23] You can’t see me right now, but I am grinning at the idea. So, yeah, I think that one is going to be a real hit, certainly with plenty of the authors that have appeared on this podcast. So we’ve talked about why these anthologies are important as rating opportunities, but why are they important in terms of representation? And how do you think these anthologies can push toward better representation in publishing?
Robert Kingett: [00:16:02] Because it’s actually kind of a middle finger to mainstream publishing with that kind of says, oh, nobody really wants to read your stories yet, well, here’s proof that that’s not exactly true. So so like it gives publishers less and less of an excuse to say no, you know.
Dianna Gunn: [00:16:46] Absolutely,
Robert Kingett: [00:16:48] Yeah, definitely, definitely.
Dianna Gunn: [00:16:52] It’s a business decision. Well, if we’ve proven we can sell these stories on our own, then how is this a sound business decision?
Robert Kingett: [00:16:59] Yeah, exactly. I mean, like, it’s still an uphill battle to get mainstream publishing to take you seriously as a copywriter, but these anthologies can really help shape the the the diversity narrative in the sense of moving it forward, moving the conversation forward. Plus, it actually dictates how the conversation is going to go. Because when you pick up an anthology, you’re basically at the whims of the people who created it, and that includes disabled people. So, yeah.
Dianna Gunn: [00:18:21] Yeah. Alright, so that is the end of our questions, where can people go to find out more about you and about artificial divide? When can we look forward to that?
Robert Kingett: [00:18:39] Ok, so Artificial Divide will be coming out in 2021. And you can go to my website to get the latest and greatest news, which is blindjournalist.wordpress.com
Dianna Gunn: [00:19:20] Awesome. Well, I look forward to that very much. I can’t wait to read it and it’s been lovely chatting with you. Have a safe and happy end to 2020 or, you know, as close to that as you can manage.
Robert Kingett: [00:19:40] You, too.
Dianna Gunn: [00:19:42] Alright. Bye. Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of the Spoonie Author’s podcast. The Spoonie Authors’ podcast is part of the Spoonie Authors Network, a community initiative devoted to sharing the stories of disabled authors and educating abled people about what life is like for disabled creatives. Transcripts of this podcast are also available on the Spoonie Authors Network. To learn more or become a contributor, visit Spoonie Authors Network Dot blog. And of course, if you enjoyed this podcast, make sure to leave a five star review on your favorite podcast streaming platform.