Hey, everyone. I am super-excited to bring my latest 5 Questions interview to you all this week. I first came across Robyn Rhedd’s work when The Parts Store was suggested to me by Amazon’s BuyBot. I enjoyed the story, and feel that Rise of the Nymph, the latest book by this author, shows amazing growth and evolution. I am excited to see how Rhedd’s work continues to evolve, and super thankful Robyn took the time to answer some questions for me!
- What are your top three TG experiences in terms of books, films, videos, songs?
Top 3… Okay… here we go… 1) Videos: Among my favorite videos is Ranma 1/2. I own most of the first season and watch those episodes frequently. I love how the tg elements of the story and interwoven into it. It’s not always the focus, but its always an element. Plus they always make me laugh.
2) Books: Jack Chalker… He’s my hero as far as how he was able to interweave tg elements into all of his stories. Among my favorites of his is Identity Matrix which focuses exclusively on a tg transformation. I also like his Changewinds saga for the same reason. Chalker was always able to interweave his tg into his stories making the transformation an essential part of the narrative.
3) Stories: I’m going to cheat here, but I have always been sustained by the tg fiction and comic community online! You didn’t ask about that…but there you go. When I can’t find a good Chalker book to read or find a Ranma video to watch, I can always find a good story or browse a tg comic online.
- Unlike a lot of TG fiction, which explores forced fem themes, I feel like your work deals with people who are TG but are in denial or don’t realize it until something forces their change, as in Rise of the Nymph. Why do you feel this theme interests you?
I would hope that when people read my books that they can see themselves in the characters. People reading may be struggling with their own gender identity. They may wonder if they identify as a man or a woman and what does that mean? Should I be ashamed of who I am or not? When they see a character undergo a change in gender, discover the feminine part of themselves, and accept that part of themselves, it may help them accept themselves too. At least, that’s what I hope it does.
3. In Rise of the Nymph, the conflict comes not so much from the male character experiencing a sex-change as his being put into a traditional feminine role– a pretty object to be seen and not heard. Can you talk about why the gender roles people are forced to inhabit interests you and what you would like to accomplish by exploring it in your writing? .
In a perfect world I think we would be able to dress as we like, work as we like, and do as we like, free of the expectations society places upon our gender. Sadly we do not live in a perfect world. We are tied to what society places upon us and upon our gender identity. This applies not only to the transgender, struggling to determine what gender they identify as, but it also applies to people struggling with their own gender. What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? That’s what Alee, the main character in Rise of the Nymph faces. By becoming a woman, she escapes the gender roles imposed on men only to have them unconsciously imposed on her when she’s a woman. Liberation comes when she acknowledges those gender roles, escapes them, and lives her own life on her own terms.
- Can you talk about your journey as a writer? What was the process like for you in terms of reaching the point where you felt ready to put your work out there for the world to see?
I have dabbled in writing tg fiction privately but have never really found a story that I wanted to publish…until I found The Parts Store. Or rather it found me. That story spoke to my heart and really touched upon what has become a theme for me: gender identity and how we see ourselves. Shame and acceptance featured prominently in that book too. The story had a good reaction on tgstorytime so I considered what it might look like published. Confident in my story, I submitted The Parts Store to TG World Books who loved it. The rest, as they say, is history.
- What has been the most positive aspect of publishing your work?
Probably getting to do interviews like this. This is really something else! But, seriously, I have enjoyed connecting with the larger tg fiction community. They are amazing. When my work was on tgstorytime, I read the comments religiously. It was amazing how people anticipated and tried to predict the next chapter.
- What’s coming up next? Let’s hear about your next projects!
The biggest project I’m currently working on is my TG Olympic War Saga. The war has just begun and there are many more mythological characters that enter the war and receive a TG Olympic War treatment. I’m already finished the second tale, Attack of the Harpies, and am working on stories with sirens, mermaids, furies, fates, and many more mythological minor characters. The great part of Greek Mythology: Most of the minor characters are female which makes giving them a tg treatment that much easier! Besides that I have a few other stories up my sleeve. A mystery tale or two and one that might make it out before the rest centered around marriage therapy. We’ll see…
Thanks so much, Robin. Readers, check out Robin’s author page on Amazon.com