Podcast

Historical Research, Lesbian Love Stories, and More with Diana Pinguicha

This episode’s guest is Diana Pinguicha, author of the historical fantasy novel A Curse of Roses. Find out more about her at https://pinguicha.wordpress.com/

Thanks for listening to this 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.com. And of course, if you enjoyed this podcast, make sure to leave us a 5 star review on your favourite podcast streaming platform.

Transcript

Dianna Gunn: Hello and welcome to the Spoonie Authors Podcast, a podcast where we explore the life and stories of a different disabled author every other Friday. I’m your host, Dianna Gunn, and joining us today is Diana Pinguicha. In the sunny lands of Portugal, Diana is a computer engineer graduate who currently calls Lisbon home. She can usually be found writing, painting, devouring extraordinary quantities of books and video games, or walking around with her bearded dragon Roberta. She also has two cats, Sushi and Jubas, who would never forgive her if she didn’t mention them. Hello Diana, you’ve a great name!

Diana Pinguicha: You too! See? Dianna-Dianas spend time together.

Dianna Gunn: (laughs) Can you tell us about your novel, A Curse of Roses?

Diana Pinguicha: I can, surely! Okay, so A Curse of Roses is a sapphic retelling of my hometown’s legends surrounding Elizabeth of Portugal who we call Isabel de Aragão and Isabel of Aragon, if you want, where one morning, she was caught sneaking out of the castle by her husband, the king, and her goal was to feed the poor, but he was very against charity, he was that little privileged crap who thinks that poor people just, you know, they don’t need any help, they just need to work harder. But she wasn’t; she wanted to feed them. So, she was carrying bread in her skirts ,and when he found her he asked, “What do you carry in your skirts, in the folds of your skirts?” And she was like, “Well, I can’t say bread, because he explicitly forbade me. (Dianna G laughs) So, roses, I guess?”

Diana Pinguicha: And then he was like, “Well then, show me.” And then she did, and it was indeed roses. And I had to change some things because it’s YA, so they’re not married yet. They’re just engaged, since the age of 10, which is actually true. And she believes herself to be cursed in my version because all the food she touched turned to flowers, which is a bummer, when you’re trying to eat. So, we think is difficult for her, and she believes she will die because of it, and telling she’s told there’s an enchanted Moura called Fatyan nearby, and then she may or may not help her, and she may or may not be trapped inside the stone.

Dianna Gunn: (laughs)

Diana Pinguicha: So, magic isn’t the only thing that happens between the girls.

Dianna Gunn: She may or may not be trapped inside a stone. I appreciate the ambiguity here.

Diana Pinguicha: Like surely like, threw herself off a tower, they said, because her betrothed was killed by Portuguese soldiers when they took all Al-Manijah, which is now Moura.

Dianna Gunn: Oh wow.

Diana Pinguicha: And I was like, “No, she did not.” (Dianna laughs) No, that’s not what happened. She got cursed inside of tiny stone, and that’s what we’re going with. No killing herself over men.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah, killing yourself over a man… it’s always silly.

Diana Pinguicha: Overrated.

Dianna Gunn: Do not recommend.

Diana Pinguicha: No. “Yeah men are weak,” I say to my male cat.

Dianna Gunn: Yes. (laughs) It’s so strange to think that they [the humans in the story] were in reality, engaged from the age of 10, too.

Diana Pinguicha: The Medieval Ages were so creepy.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah!

Diana Pinguicha: It mixed marriages at young ages, and I actually—I wanted to have that in the book just to show how terrible it is and how it kind of still happens in some places? That you promise these girls at the age of 10 and then you send them off to be married at 13.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah.

Diana Pinguicha: And one thing I liked about Dinis and Isabel is that they only consummated the relationship apparently when she was 17. Because, so a lot of people talk about historical accuracy, and how you know the marriage bed regardless of how young, the girl is. Truth be told, at least with nobility, you had a clause of consent age. So normally, the guy, a king or a Baron or whatever, he would not be allowed to touch the bride until she turned 15.

Dianna Gunn: Which is still a horrifically young age to be married, in my opinion.

Diana Pinguicha: Horrific!

Dianna Gunn: I think it’s a really interesting thing to deal with when you’re writing historical fiction that is also YA because how do you traverse those expectations that were so different, without making everyone really uncomfortable that this is a YA a book and it, you know, deals with things that we don’t like to acknowledge that teenagers have ever done. (laughs)

Diana Pinguicha: They did, which was actually so funny, like in the opposite end, if you were a commoner and you would rarely get married outside like in your teens. You wouldn’t because people needed the extra hands to work.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah.

Diana Pinguicha: So, people like would get married at around 22, which also you don’t see a lot of that happening in supposedly historical books, but it is the truth. Commoners got married way later because people needed hands in the field.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah, and their weddings were way less intricate and interesting (laughs) and ceremonial even.

Diana Pinguicha: It was probably just the priests marrying them and dinner, and like lunch for family.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah.

Diana Pinguicha: And that was it.

Dianna Gunn: It was a very different set of expectations that people live with, and I think now we tend to get caught up in, like, we have such similar societal expectations. Like, the average person now spends like 18 grand on a wedding, and that’s like considered normal apparently. I don’t know who’s doing this. I don’t know anyone who spent 18 grand on a wedding, but according to internet statistics I’ve read that it’s like not an uncommon amount. But the reality was, you know, historically, those kinds of expectations have not ever been placed on anything for commoners you know it wasn’t…just wasn’t…a realistic expectation.

Diana Pinguicha: [Unclear] They had like other things to do with their money, namely, buy food.

Dianna Gunn: It wasn’t realistic, they knew it wasn’t realistic, and they didn’t care. Like, it’s not realistic wedding. And everyone has less money. [Talking together.]

Diana Pinguicha: Last wedding I went to, it was quite big, and there would fireworks. and as I stood there looking at the fireworks I thought: What a waste of money. (Dianna laughs) What? I mean sure it was cute, but did we really need fireworks.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah.

Diana Pinguicha: And they were basic fireworks, too. They were not even that great.

Dianna Gunn: This is all of these things, but that we now expect ourselves to do, but it’s not realistic for us. And we should accept that the way the commoners back then accepted that the rules of nobility were not realistic for them (laughs).

Diana Pinguicha: And if you look closely, the big weddings between the nobility, they were more like a big event in that all the commoners would see. It was like, their, like, pay per view on TV.

Dianna Gunn: Exactly.

Diana Pinguicha: Was entertainment.

Dianna Gunn: Exactly. Alright, so I could talk about historical details (Diana laughs) for days. They’re even more interesting than cats, and that’s pretty impressive. But I want to bring things back to A Curse of Roses. What was the most exciting part of working on this book? Was it doing that research? Was it writing the book?

Diana Pinguicha: So, I really, I enjoyed writing it because it was writing about a story that was very close to me, it was my hometown’s legend, and that was like, as I was writing is like, I can’t wait until it’s like so gay. (Dianna laughs) They’re gonna like foam at the mouth (Dianna laughs again), and I’m gonna live for it. So, it was a very homophobic place that I grew up in, and I enjoyed, like I ended up enjoying research, even though it was a lot, because you need to research your own country. Like surprise. And it was exciting because I found out that a lot of things I’d been taught in history class were actually not right, mostly about the Moors and how we go like, oh the Moors, they were all Arabs, and they were all Muslim. And then I found some archaeological papers and research that prove that it was actually an amalgamation of cultures, so we had Moors, the Moors were Muslim, they were Christian, and they were Jewish. And they all live together. And also, the Moors did not invade. They came naturally through trade. And the shifting of allegiances between, like, the commoner people— because they were like being done with their Christian overlords (Dianna laughs) treating them like crap, so they were like, well, maybe we’ll change to the Caliphate and see if it’s better, and he was better because they prospered. But of course, the Christian overlords who had retreated to the north, always had, like, these entitlement about the lands, and so they had to conquer them. As always, being the [indecipherable].

Dianna Gunn: Yeah. I feel like there’s two points there which is one, that, you know, pretty much every historical culture was way more actually multicultural, than we like to think, like, there were Black people in Northern Europe, right?

Diana Pinguicha: Trade always existed, and people move, and people settle.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah.

Diana Pinguicha: And Portugal is extremely close to Africa. I literally—the Strait of Gibraltar is 60 kilometers long.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah.

Diana Pinguicha: If I’m not mistaken, around 20 miles? So, you could easily traverse that are you kidding me.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah.

Diana Pinguicha: So, of course, came over, and they stayed, then there was like mixing of cultures.

Dianna Gunn: Exactly. And I think that we, we really understate the importance of that, and with the Moors in particular, it’s interesting because it’s also used as this way to “other” them and to sort of delegitimize their achievements.

Diana Pinguicha: It is also… So, during a lot of time, for a lot of love for a lot of kings, the Moors were like, you’re allowed to be Muslim and Jewish in old Portugal. And it wasn’t until King Dom Manuel in 14something. He was really horny for like the daughter of the King of Castela. And the King of Castela was a bigot. He said, “You’re only allowed to marry my daughter, if you kick off or forcefully convert or kill all the Jewish people.”

Dianna Gunn: What a great guy, people.

Diana Pinguicha: Yeah, lovely and then our king was like, “Sure, I’m really horny. I will do this.” Like, I’m asshole.

Dianna Gunn: Oh wow. And it’s amazing how we overlook, things like that we just sort of wash over them.

Diana Pinguicha: Yep. And a lot of the other angle. Muslims started way back then. Because that’s why we still say, like, Moors all Muslim because it’s easier for us to digest that our first king was like taking wisdom from Christians, and not this big bad and invader.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah. That’s really interesting. I feel like it’s really cool to learn things about your own history. Certainly, like, you know, my ancest—I live in Canada, but my ancestry is, you know, Scottish largely and learning about that and learning about a lot of the things about Scotland, that are misconceptions is really fascinating, you know. You grow up with this image of who your people are and what your place is like and then when you dig deeper you’re like, “Oh, well, there’s this this and this” that all challenges it and sometimes you know, completely dismantles the image that you had.

Diana Pinguicha: Completely. Yeah, I was just like, maybe— in the beginning I was like well, Fatyan is immortal so she’s going to be Muslim, and then I found all of that it’s like, “Wait, what?” (Dianna laughs) So I felt like I had to make her a Christian just to show that they existed. And also, so the big bad was, like, someone related to Fatyan, is not a Muslim man, I did not want that to happen. So, they became Christian Moors, which we— a lot of people didn’t think exist, and they’re just allied with the Caliphate. Different.

Dianna Gunn: I love the, the ability to use historical fiction to highlight things like that.

Diana Pinguicha: And all the nuns being queer in the convent, like, no, this is the place we made for ourselves so men will stop bothering us (laughs).

Dianna Gunn: Well, yeah (laughs).

Diana Pinguicha: That’s what happens!

Dianna Gunn: I mean, I’m sure some of them just wanted to be left alone and weren’t queer at all (laughs), because the only way to really be left alone…

Diana Pinguicha: [Some of them might have been] asexual and they were just like, “Leave me alone I’m not interested.”

Dianna Gunn: But really the only way to be left alone at certain points of history as a woman was to become a nun, so…

Diana Pinguicha: In a convent, you would not be bothered, and you have a certain protection.

Dianna Gunn: Exactly. And if you wanted to enjoy your fellow nuns (Diana laughs), well, nobody’s gonna notice because nobody’s allowed into the convent.

Diana Pinguicha: And also, women were not seen as sexual beings, so they were just really good friends.

Dianna Gunn: Oh yes, I always forget that part.

Diana Pinguicha: I’ll call them [unclear].

Dianna Gunn: Alright so, was this studying this history also the most challenging part of this like how, how much long was this research process in comparison to your actual writing process?

Diana Pinguicha: So, aside from, like, writing it, and then it wasn’t coming along, so I went into a deep research hole, and I stayed there for like a year. Then I realized finally, what I wanted to do. But some of the most challenging parts were like the language, in that I could not use the modern language, so a lot of words will be right out. And that was funny because I found out that medieval Muslims, had a word for lesbian and lesbianism.

Dianna Gunn: Oh, really?

Diana Pinguicha: It was, yeah, so lesbian was sahiqa and lesbianism was the sihaq. And I find this fascinating that they thought it was a disease that you got by breast milk. So, the woman who would breastfeed you, if she ate certain foods, it would turn you gay. Amazing. (Dianna laughs) And then they also believed that the way to cure it was for women to rub their hot parts against each other. Um, like in a way that would work.

Dianna Gunn: I mean that will release your tension, I guess, um, I don’t think it’s going to cure the underlying attraction (laughs).

Diana Pinguicha: It would alleviate the symptoms for a while, I guess.

Dianna Gunn: So, I love that phrasing— their hot parts.

Diana Pinguicha: Yeah, they’re hot parts against each other. (Dianna laughs) Yeah. And also, I, I wrote a bit of— so I wrote things that didn’t exist, Yzabel is neurodivergent but I could not say it out loud, I just had to explain it in the text and hope people got the meaning of it. And a lot of them did— some did, some didn’t. But yeah, so those parts were hard to write because they were hit very close to home. When she’s just going bonkers like, “Yep, that checks out.” (Dianna laughs) I would react way, if this thing had happened to me. And then I had like agents rejecting me saying she was over the top and too emotional and I was like, and she cried a lot, and I was like, “Nice! I cry a lot. I’m too emotional. I’m like the extra person in the history of extra people.” (Dianna laughs) Nice to know I would not be a compelling protagonist; I know I wouldn’t be but…

Dianna Gunn: Ah, let’s face it, when we agree to be writers we sort of hand over our compelling protagonist card because suddenly all we’re doing is sitting in a corner typing (laughs). The rest of our lives.

Diana Pinguicha: Or failing to type, just like, looking at the screen like, ugh!

Dianna Gunn: Or looking at our cat, like, as long as we’re looking at the cats, it’s fine, we’re doing something, you know. “It’s fine that I didn’t write today, I spent the whole time looking at my cat.”

Diana Pinguicha: You see, my pets know when I’m having an anxiety crisis and they come up to me, especially Sushi. Jubas just comes near me all the time because he’s a mama’s boy. But Sushi, like, when I had my, like, really bad panic attack, she would, like, she would be sleeping next to me every night, and she rarely does that. She would like, be meowing at me. She also rarely does that, but she knows it cheers me up because when she yells we go, “Awww!”

Dianna Gunn: That’s very sweet.

Diana Pinguicha: Sushi—she’s like she’s not unfriendly. She doesn’t like other cats much, but she likes people. And she really likes me. But she gets extra cuddly. She’s not a lap cat; she becomes a lap cat.

Dianna Gunn: Ah, Artemis just prefers her father (laughs). And, but then when I get, like, really stressed out, or I have a migraine or something, she will come, and she’ll cuddle the heck out of me. That’s how I know.

Diana Pinguicha: They know.

Dianna Gunn: Yes.

Diana Pinguicha: I’m really don’t deserve cats or dogs

Dianna Gunn: We don’t. So, speaking of anxiety, you— So, A Curse of Roses is published through Entangled Teen, I believe?

Diana Pinguicha: Yeah, it is Entangled Teen.

Dianna Gunn: And… which means that you had to submit. How did you deal with your anxiety during the process of submission? Submitting your work?

Diana Pinguicha: For a long time, I was just querying agents because that’s what you do, and no one would take the book. And I was like, honestly, believing that it was like some of my best work, and that if this wasn’t going to get published because there’s nothing like this out there. There’s no YA fantasy so in Portugal with lesbians, I can guarantee you this (laughter). That’s why I wrote it. I was like, “Well it’s not happening.” And then I was just like playing video games, then another rejection came in and I was just like, “Ugh, I’ll go back to Divinity then (Dianna laughs), at least I’m happy there—Divinity Original Sin.

Dianna Gunn: Excellent choice. I might have logged 400 hours with my partner.

Diana Pinguicha: Me too! I have every achievement! That’s how into it I was, like, honorable mode, when you die, there goes your save. I got that.

Dianna Gunn: Amazing.

Diana Pinguicha: It was, yeah if you do it through Lone Wolf it’s really easy (laughs).

Dianna Gunn: Really?

Diana Pinguicha: So, I would just be, like, getting rejections and be like, “Ugh. Gonna play some video games because I’m good!” Because I get really immersed. If it’s a good story, I get really immersed in it, and I forget the rest of the world, so it helps with the anxiety. But then I also hyperfocus on it and don’t do anything else. But after all that depression, Jen, who was one of my editors, they reached out to me. “Alright, you sure you don’t want to sub to us?” And was like,”Sure, what the hell I have to lose?” And I knew they liked it, and they sent it to their boss. And then I had, like, an offer, like, they were going to take it to acquisitions, but I needed to rewrite the first chapter. Because it needed to be redone to be something else, which is where it ended up now. And I did it in two days (Dinna laughs). And then yeah I went to Acquisitions, and again, I was playing video games, so I wouldn’t think about it. That’s the best way for me. It just works. And then I had the offer, so I was like, “YAY!” And then I had another offer. I was like, “Oh, so when it rains, I guess I rains a little bit harder.”

Dianna Gunn: (laughs) Yeah.

Diana Pinguicha: Yeah, my recommendation is find something that completely distracts you from it. It’s honestly the best way. For some people, it’s writing another book, but when I’m on submission, I find that I can’t concentrate on writing another book, so I just go bananas. Do games.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah.

Diana Pinguicha: Especially long ones. The Witcher III is another good one, if you want to spend like 300 hours in.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah, I played with The Witcher III for like a first month of quarantine (laughs).

Diana Pinguicha: Good time.

Dianna Gunn: See now, waking up at 8:00 AM, playing Witcher III until 8:00 PM. No care in the world.

Diana Pinguicha: It just goes, like, when you’re immersed in it. Especially again, when it’s a good story and you really invested. And if the game is also fun to play. It’s like a double in.

Dianna Gunn: So, what advice would you give for dealing with anxiety in situations where you can’t run off and play a video game though? Or how do you eventually get yourself to the point where you are sitting down to do the work?

Diana Pinguicha: So yeah, when I’m in a good mental state, so, take a breath. And it’s fine if you write just like crap. Don’t judge yourself. Be kind to yourself like, and also, if you need to, take a break. I hit pause on it, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So, just take your time, be nice to yourself, and remember that it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t— nothing happens with that book. Sure, you wasted time and that sucks, but see it as, like, if it doesn’t work, like, in terms of having a book published, it worked in that you got more practice writing, and your writing became better. That’s why we call the first novel we’re writing a practice novel. ‘Cause you’re just learning, and it’s fine to take your time learning it’s fine to do that. And another advice is that do not compare yourself to others. Like, don’t. There are multiple factors that go into publishing, and quality of work is important. But that’s not all. Luck is a huge factor, mostly like finding, like, the right agent or the right editor at the right time is super underrated when people talk about publishing, so luck is. It’s fair. And yeah, just don’t see other writers as competition, see them as other people who, like, have gone or are going through the same problems as you.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah.

Diana Pinguicha: Especially, like, neurodivergent like you, like, you don’t need to be in competition, you’re, like, you’re the same. And it’s more—it’s a problem with publishing, not with you or the others, in they’re publishing things—they only have space for one. That’s on—that’s publishing’s fault. Publishing should make space for more. It’s not on you; it’s not on any anyone else. And this goes for queer and every other book—there’s room for all of us if there’s room—I said this before—if there’s room for like 50, white, straight Cinderella retellings (Dianna laughs), there’s room for 50 queer and Black and disabled and whatever Cinderella retellings. Just saying.

Dianna Gunn: Absolutely. And, you know, it is… publishing… things take a long time.

Diana Pinguicha: It moves at a snail’s pace.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah, and I think that it has its own built-in anxiety.

Diana Pinguicha: Mm hmm.

Dianna Gunn: And I think that really the, the best way to deal with that is to stop seeing other writers as competition, like you said, and make friends who will bitch about it with you.

Diana Pinguicha: Yeah, that’s what I do. Like my friends’ DMs, like, “You’re so full of salt!”

Dianna Gunn: (laughs) And there, there is power in that solidarity, and that goes a long way towards helping with anxiety, I think. I think just knowing, like those other people are in the same place, and that it’s not all in your head, and having those other people to pull you out of your own head ’cause, let’s face it, we’re writers we get in our own heads a lot. It is really great.

Dianna Gunn: We live in them, basically,

Dianna Gunn: Yeah. I live in my own world, which is sometimes better and sometimes not.

Diana Pinguicha: Also, find friends were like at the same publishing stage as you are, because then you can commiserate hard with each other, because the same stuff will be happening to, like, all of you at the same time. Yeah, I have friends like from five years back when they were just querying and now like some of us are getting—are debuting this year, so that was funny. Like, happening all at once for all of us. Like yeah, so publishing was just five years behind on them.

Dianna Gunn: Five years behind… it seems to be how publishing is on a lot of things (laughs).

Diana Pinguicha: Sometimes it’s been years. Sometimes it’s tiny. It’s different with indies I feel like indies, they don’t get enough credit for what they do in that they take risks, a lot more than trad pub because trad pub will only buy and invest in your book if they know they can make the money back.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah, absolutely.

Diana Pinguicha: Which from an investment perspective I know it makes sense, but it also makes for a whole lot of the same stuff just getting published because then they’re chasing trends, and this happens a lot in YA. Mostly.

Dianna Gunn: There’s a big difference between, like, small press traditional publishing and the big publishers, too, like, you know, a good percentage of the authors that have appeared on this podcast are people who are from the same two or three small presses.

Diana Pinguicha: Which is fine, like, small presses, like, don’t let anyone tell you that debuting with a smaller press is wrong. It is not wrong. And if you can take that shot, and you’re comfortable with it, take it. Don’t let anyone say that, “Oh no that’s just not a good publisher, and your book’s gonna die.” Because you never know. It could be your steppingstone.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah, like do your due diligence.

Diana Pinguicha: (At the same time) This makes me really mad.

Dianna Gunn: Check out the publisher. Make sure they’re, like, real people and not scam artists but don’t…

Diana Pinguicha: Yeah, do your research, like, I recommend don’t publish with a publisher that’s not been in business for at least five years, because often if they’re open for less, you’re not sure if they’re gonna last.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah, and it sucks to have a—

Diana Pinguicha: Do you research first, but don’t be afraid of small presses. Small presses are fine, especially if they’ve been open for longer, and you can, like, find their books and bookstores, and if you’ve read the books, especially, so you know they’re good. If you’ve read a lot of their books, then why not yours be one of them? Give them a shot. I buy a lot of indie books just because like I want to support authors, and they’ll put their books at like one buck and I’m like, “I won’t read it, but yeah, I’ll buy it!” I like to support more books, and I have no time to read all the books I have. Anyway, might as well give money to people who are from underrepresented backgrounds.

Dianna Gunn: No time to read all the books you have? That sounds familiar.

Diana Pinguicha: Like, what is time anyway in COVID?

Dianna Gunn: Complicated.

Diana Pinguicha: So, Jeremy Bearimy*.

Dianna Gunn: Yes! All right, so we are running a bit long, so I’m going to reel us back into our designated questions. How would you like to see representation of mental illness change in publishing and also just in media as a whole.

Diana Pinguicha: So, what I’ve said is I’d like to have my books and more stories with a mentally ill protagonists, not a mentally ill side character, because we need those, I’m sorry, people like us exist, and we like seeing ourselves, like, take front stage. And I’d like for mentally ill characters not to be the villains, like, it’s fine if everyone’s mentally ill and your villain is mentally ill, that’s fine. Just don’t make the villain the one, the same with like, queer characters. Don’t make your one your villain, the one who has, like, the issue, or being gay or whatever. And I like to see more own voices, as much research as you do, and you can be respectful while doing your research. If it’s a main character, you cannot compare to someone who’s lived through it. Sorry, you can’t. And I’d like for people to stop with the whole—and this happens a lot and especially in horror—in that everyone thinks this character is mentally ill. But it turns out that they’re being haunted, or they have like this other thing going on with them that’s like supernatural, and then when that goes away, they’re like, completely healed from whatever mental illness, they have, and like, imagine if you could, like, exorcise a ghost and still be, like, mentally ill. Imagine a mentally ill character defeat evil and remain the way they are. Because we defeat our own evils. If we stay mentally ill, we stay anxious, and we keep on being autistic, but we manage, so why can’t the main character do that? Be the main character save the world while also battling anxiety.

Dianna Gunn: Really, with some of the supernatural things that happen to some of these characters, they should be getting new mental illnesses, having experienced that (laughs)!

Diana Pinguicha: I’d imagine a lot of PTSD would be happening.

Dianna Gunn: Right?

Diana Pinguicha: For all who experienced like paranormal activity and all that.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah.

Diana Pinguicha: Yeah, it does not go away, and it should not be going away in your stories just because they’re no longer, like, haunted or living in a haunted house.

Dianna Gunn: Absolutely.

Diana Pinguicha: That’s my view.

Dianna Gunn: The effect lives on. Anyone who that resonates with should really watch The Haunting of Hill House.

Diana Pinguicha: I love The Haunting of Hill House.

Dianna Gunn: I finally got around to watching Netflix, ’cause put out so much for that year that I didn’t get through it all. And so, we finally watched Haunting of Hill House this October. It’s incredible. I love the exploration of trauma and the way that the supernatural and the trauma and the mental illness, they all play off of each other, rather than like one thing very distinctly being the cause. Like, there’s this interplay between the two, and I wish that more horror that.

Diana Pinguicha: Bly Manor is also really good. I really enjoy it.

Dianna Gunn: We’re only halfway through it, don’t, don’t, don’t say…

Diana Pinguicha: Well, I think it’s more atmospheric; it’s different.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah.

Diana Pinguicha: People went in expecting for more Bly Manor, not more Hill House, but it’s different and I really enjoyed it. And also, we still have Carla Gugino in it. She’s a goddess. She was, like, in Hill House. I was like, Oh my god.” She looks so ethereally beautiful in this

Dianna Gunn: I think, I think I like the family dynamic of Hill House more, and I really like the way that they did the character backstories across the episodes. It was very, like, well put together, and I don’t feel like the back-story portion has been as elegantly portrayed in Bly Manor so far. Anyway, let’s move on to our final question. Where can people go to find out more about you and A Curse of Roses?

Diana Pinguicha: So mostly, I’m on Twitter, I know people hate Twitter. I love the chaos of Twitter. I’ve been an early adopter of that chaos in like five minutes, I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m really good at blocking (laughs). I don’t know. But you could also go to my website. She’s so far, my last name pinguicha.wordpress.com where I—there will be some interviews and editorial spots linked there, and then also my Instagram, but I warn you that my Instagram is so you can mostly find out about my cats and my lizard, which, to be fair, it’s what Instagram is for—cats and lizards. And dogs. I don’t have a dog, which is a shame, but I will someday. I’m thinking about getting a therapy dog for anxiety because I know you can train them to respond to your anxiety attacks.

Dianna Gunn: Yeah.

Diana Pinguicha: So, I’ve been considering that.

Dianna Gunn: It’s a good idea

Diana Pinguicha: Because I also have terrible panic attacks in planes, and then I could take the dog with me on the plane and make it better.

Dianna Gunn: That sounds lovely. All right, we should wrap up, it’s been lovely having you. Thank you so much for joining us and congratulations on the release of A Curse of Roses.

Dianna Gunn: Thanks for listening to this 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.com and of course, if you enjoyed this podcast, make sure to leave us a five-star review on your favorite podcast streaming platform.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai. Edited for clarity by Cait Gordon.

*A Jeremy Bearimy is a measurement of time in The Good Place

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