As part of The Pixel Project’s Read For Pixels campaign, we interview authors from genres as diverse as Science Fiction and Fantasy to Romance to Thrillers about why they support the movement to end violence against women and girls.
In this interview, we talk to Charles de Lint who is the author of more than seventy adult, young adult, and children’s books. Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre, he is the recipient of the World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others. Modern Library’s Top 100 Books of the 20th Century poll, conducted by Random House and voted on by readers, put eight of de Lint’s books among the top 100. Charles’ latest book, THE WIND IN HIS HEART, will be released on September 19th, 2017.
Charles will be taking part in the 4th annual Fall Edition of the Read For Pixels campaign by donating a one-of-a-kind perk to help raise funds for The Pixel Project – a perpetual place on his private mailing list through which he sends out a haiku a day to about 25 friends. This is available for one (1) generous donor only! More details will be available once the Read For Pixels campaign (including the fundraising page with this goodie on it) kicks off on 1st September 2017, so check out The Pixel Project’s Facebook page and Charles’ Facebook page in September 2017 for the link to the fundraising page to donate to the campaign. If you’d like to have a chance to participate in live Q&As online with 12 other award-winning bestselling authors who will be having live Read For Pixels Google Hangouts, check out the schedule here.
And now, over to Charles…
Picture courtesy of Charles de Lint.
1. Why is ending violence against women important to you and why did you decide to take action about it by supporting The Pixel Project?
I don’t just believe in gender/religious/racial equality. I genuinely can’t understand why anyone would think it’s okay to bully or harm another human being. To do our part in eradicating violence, it’s incumbent upon each and every one of us to do everything in our power to stop this ugly behaviour by nurturing mutual respect and kindness using whatever platforms we have.
Mine is simply by portraying all the characters in my fiction as equals, with the strengths and weaknesses that any of us might possess. I don’t get preachy about it, but I’ve written plenty of fiction dealing (in part) with violence against women, kids, and marginalized people, and I’ve heard from many readers that they gained strength or felt empowered because they felt less alone and found role models to look up to.
I’ve also had the honour of hearing from counsellors and ministers who’ve used my fiction in their work, and everyday people—even prisoners—who’ve affirmed that my writing helped them look at issues in a different light. I can’t imagine a more gratifying response to one’s creative output, and it sustains me even when my writing hits all the inevitable potholes and such.
2. You have very generously offered a perpetual spot on your private Haiku mailing list to one generous donor in the upcoming Read For Pixels fundraiser. Aside from helping raise funds to keep anti-violence against women work going, what do you think authors can do to help stop violence against women?
The interesting thing about stories is that they aren’t a passive art form. Well-written stories allow the reader to invest their imagination in the reading process and part of that investment is to immerse oneself in the lives of the characters you meet in the pages. Aside from great entertainment value, which is important to me, a major side benefit is that the reader can come away with a tangible understanding of how the “other” is not so different from oneself. Every “other,” from refugee to the opposite gender, can be understood and, more importantly, empathized with, if you can experience the world through their eyes.
Authors don’t need to lecture. They only need to depict truthful stories that, as they unwind, show readers that treating others as we’d like to be treated ourselves shouldn’t be considered freakish behaviour, but rather the norm.
3. As a prominent male author, what do you think men can do to help stop violence against women?
It’s pretty basic. Just as we shouldn’t let racist comments from our friends and acquaintances slide, neither should misogynist comments or jokes go by without questioning them. You don’t have to get heavy about it. Even just saying, “I don’t understand,” as often as necessary to someone trying to justify it to you, sends a clear message that this attitude no longer flies. Speak up when you become aware of something that’s not right, be it trolls on the Internet or some jerk on the street. And always be a rock for those who might need our support. Treat your partners and women friends with the genuine respect and honesty they deserve.
One more thing: read women writers and recommend their books to your male friends. What better way to get inside the workings of the female mind than to look at the world through their lens and voice? I believe it’s entirely possible to create a new normal and I can only do my best to set a positive example in my daily life and my creative work.