Die Booth lives in Chester, UK and enjoys painting pictures and exploring dark places. Die’s prize-winning work has featured in publications including The Fiction Desk, Firewords and The Cheshire Prize for Literature anthologies, and his latest single-author collection of short stories My Glass is Runn, is out now. 365 Lies a collection of one flash fiction for every day of the year, with all proceeds going to the MNDA, and Die’s debut novel Spirit Houses are also available online. He is currently working on a collection of own-voices short stories featuring transgender protagonists. http://diebooth.wordpress.com/ @diebooth
He wrote "She Don't Fade" in issue 2 of Vulture Bones. Below is an interview about his haunting, hopeful story.
Something I really loved about your story is how at peace Johnny is with himself and his identity and his past. It takes many of us a long time to get there—and it’s probably taken him a long time to get there. This is not a trans narrative we see very often, this idea that we are allowed to be ok with who we were pre-transition. Can you talk a little about the genesis of your piece?
This is possibly the most personal piece I’ve ever written and its basis is entirely autobiographical. My experience of being trans is that we’re often expected, even pressurised, to entirely reject the ‘before’, to deny our ‘former’ selves and focus on being our ‘new’ selves. In my experience, there is no ‘before’ and ‘after’—I’m still the same person I always was, I’m just older, with the evolution and growth that come with spending more time being alive. I’m not that ‘little girl’ any more, but ‘she’ will always be a part of me and that’s OK and doesn’t diminish the man I grew up to be in any way. It’s taken me a while to get here, and society still makes it difficult at times, but I’m relieved to finally have reached a place where I refuse to hate or be ashamed of any part of myself any longer.
I also really liked the subversion of the idea of being haunted in your piece. Johnny is being haunted, but in this comfortable, companionate way. Where did this come from in your writing?
The element of ‘companionable haunting’ is a running theme across my work. I write a lot of ghosts, but often the ghosts aren’t malevolent—even if they’re unsettling at first. From a very young age, I was always fascinated with ghosts and ‘creepy’ things, but always sympathised with them a great deal. I was the kid who wanted to make friends with the monsters: I just identify with them more than I identify with the heroes. I like exploring what scares people and why, and telling tales where the paranormal becomes normal and understanding what frightens us leads to it not being frightening any longer. Also, I’d really like to be able to give the ghost of baby me a hug and tell her it all ends up OK, so this story is my way of doing that.
Where can people find more of your work? What’s coming next?
I’ve had quite a few stories published in various magazines and anthologies, and a full list can be found on my website: https://diebooth.wordpress.com/writing/ I also self-publish my work, and my novel and two single author collections can be found online here: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/diebooth
I’m currently working on two new single author collections of short stories, one of which will be a collection of short stories featuring all trans protagonists, and I’m slowly getting my act together to work on the sequel to my first novel Spirit Houses.
I’m also honoured to have just taken over the reins as chairman of Chester Writers, a long-running, fun and supportive writing group in my local city of Chester, UK. https://www.storyhouse.com/event/chester-writers so I’m looking forward to what that will bring in the future.