Dude, why so serious? (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat)

Jeffrey Ricker is the author of Detours (2011), the YA fantasy The Unwanted (2014), The Final Decree (2020), and co-author (with ’Nathan Burgoine and J. Marshall Freeman) of Three Left Turns to Nowhere. His stories have appeared in Foglifter, Phoebe, Little Fiction, The Citron Review, The Saturday Evening Post, and others. A 2014 Lambda Literary Fellow and recipient of a 2015 Vermont Studio Center residency, he has an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and teaches creative writing at Webster University.

Why do I write what I write?

I’m glad you asked. Here’s why.

I write books and stories that center queer characters because I’m queer and I grew up not being able to find a lot of books with people like me in them.

Note that I’m not saying those books weren’t out there. I just wasn’t able to find them. They weren’t made easily available to me. I think the first book I read with a gay main character was The Swimming Pool Library in 1988. I was a sophomore in college by then, and that book kind of blew my mind. I wanted everything I could get my hands on after that.

I was also (and still am) a science fiction reader, from the first time my mother put an Isaac Asimov story collection in my hands. I have always loved stories that offer up possible futures, especially since I never saw the present as all that welcoming.

I suppose it was only natural that I’d combine those two things and gravitate toward writing about possible futures where queer people are front and center.

I think that’s pretty optimistic, isn’t it?