Some Thoughts with … D.N. Bryn
D.N. Bryn is a queer, disabled author of speculative fiction and fantasy romance.
When not writing, they conduct infectious disease surveillance in their hometown of San Diego, where they enjoy basking in the Santa Ana winds, hiking the brush-heavy slopes, and eating too many tacos.
Welcome to my favourite section of the blog, interviews with the authors. Today we are accompanied by D.N. Bryn, author of These Treacherous Tides and that recently published Bite Your Neighbour.
Let’s dive in!
1.- What inspired you into writing Our Bloody Pearl?
I have always loved mermaid tales, and the kind of hurt/comfort stories where one character nurses the other back to health and helps them find their footing in a new life, and I wanted to write something that combined those. (Perle’s ghostly pearl color is specifically because of a gorgeous illustration I came across with a fisherman boat lifting a masculine white mermaid out of the water, and I’m so sad I didn’t save it because I haven’t been able to find it again since then.)
2.- Mermaids are a little bit different in this story than in the collective imaginarium. From where did you draw the idea?
I love vicious mermaids and other monstrous versions of the humanoid creatures from fairy tales, but I also didn’t want them to be evil, at least not any more so than the humans who hunt them. I’m also a big fan of reimagining mythological species as more scientific creatures than magical ones, so I combined those ideas to make the sirens of Perle’s world.
3.- One of the interesting concepts that are in the story, is that mermaids use the they/them for themselves instead of singular pronouns. Could you explain a little bit about this decision?
As someone who uses they/them pronouns, I desperately wanted to see more characters who also used them, and after learning about the ways that certain fish change sex throughout their lives, I thought that combining that would be a really fun way to explore how a society where sex and gender aren’t specific or important might work. (I also write lots of characters who live in societies like ours who use they/them pronouns!)
4.- How did you deal with your writing disability in this novel?
When I wrote Our Bloody Pearl, I was coming to terms with my own chronic and sometimes disabling conditions, and I poured a lot of my emotions into Perle through that period. I had (and still do whenever I write disabled characters) a strong desire to show that disability is not a negative thing, and that while it can often be difficult, trying to “fix” or fight against the disability, such as by Perle trying to use a fully prosthetic tail to function like their old tail, is often not nearly as rewarding as finding aids that allow you to fully exist with the disability.
5.- You recently published Bite Your Neighbor, could you tell us a little about it?
Bite Your Neighbor is the first book in an m/m fantasy romance series that takes place in a modern southern Californian city where vampires are known—and often despised—by society because they, like many disabled people, need things that the average person doesn’t in order to live full lives (or just stay alive at all!). In this book, the human protagonist needs to capture a vampire to trade for information about his mother’s death, but when the vamp he finds turns out to be sweet and shy and in need of help, it throws his plans for a loop.
6.- Correct me if I’m wrong, but the three books that form part of These Treacherous Tides can be read as standalones? Could you tell us a little about the other two books?
They can! Once Stolen takes place forty years after Our Bloody Pearl and follows a character with a snake tail as he guides a poisoned human through the monster-filled swamps to find her a cure, running into Murielle and Simone along the way. One of the side characters from that book ends up far from home at the end, and in Odder Still, we see him struggle to remove a sentient parasite that’s taking over his brain while he fends off the revolutionaries and aristocrats who want to kill him for it. They’re both really fun books with slightly different vibes from Our Bloody Pearl, Once Stolen being more of a fast-paced YA adventure while Odder Still is a slightly darker adult fantasy that will grow into a four-book series over the next few years.
7.- Why did you decide for self-publishing?
I write exclusively disabled and neurodiverse queer characters (many of whom are also trans), and as much as traditional publishing would like to claim otherwise, they are hesitant to accept books about characters who fit more than one marginalized identity. I knew that with self-publishing there was a better chance of my books reaching the people who want them, and was happy to do the work to make that happen.
8.- What can we expect from Danny Bryn in the future?
For the next two-three years, you can expect to see a Guides for Dating Vampires book each spring and fall, and in the late spring/early summer to get one These Treacherous Tides book following the plotline established in Odder Still.
I just want to thank D.N. Bryn for accepting these questions and for taking the time to answer all of them. I highly recommend following them in their different socials: