Editor Interview: Common Bonds Anthology

Hello, friends! Today I’m proud to welcome two of my friends and favorite authors, Claudie Arseneault and RoAnna Sylver, to talk about their next project – the Common Bonds Anthology!

Common Bonds is an upcoming anthology of speculative short stories and poetry featuring aromantic characters. At the heart of this collection are the bonds that impact our lives from beginning to end: platonic relationships. Whether with family, mentors, friends, colleagues, or found family, these links pepper our lives and their importance is often overlooked. We seek to highlight the various ways platonic relationships can enrich us. Furthermore, we want to explore the way aromantic people often redefine the relative importance of these platonic bonds, centering them in their lives over romantic ones. The details of our call to submissions can be found here.
Common Bonds will be published February 2020. 


Hello and welcome to the blog, friends! Why don’t each of you tell us a little bit about yourselves!

Claudie: Bonjour! I’m Claudie Arseneault an arospec asexual writer from Quebec City, a big fan of puns and squids and bread. I do a lot of work around analyzing and recording aromantic and asexual representation in books, notably through the Aromantic and Asexual Characters Database. I also write awesome fantasy books, like City of Strife and Baker Thief, which put forward my identities and platonic relationships.

RoAnna: Hello, I’m RoAnna Sylver, and really excited to be here/working on this awesome anthology! I write really queer, weird, aggressively optimistic SFF (CHAMELEON MOON, STAKE SAUCE) usually about found families surviving against realistically horrible odds, and I’m writing my first interactive fiction romance, DAWNFALL, for Choice of Games! It should be fun.

What made you choose the name “Common Bonds” for this anthology?

C: Ah, title woes. Despite being four creatives with brilliant ideas, titling the anthology turned out incredibly difficult. We wanted something that evoked the importance of platonic relationships without othering them, and a lot of our initial ideas were either too vague, or had this weird connotation to them. We knew about using ‘bond’–it’s a beautiful word to evoke a sturdy link, and personally, it totally appealed to my chemistry side and covalent bonds.In the end, we went for Common because we felt it reflected platonic relationships best: they’re everywhere, and it was high time we centered them.

R: Yes, what Claudie said. Titles are death, but this one is meaningful and important.

What do you think your strengths are as an editing team?

C: A mix of passion for the project and the skill sets to see it through. We’re all really excited about this and considering the amount of work that goes in an anthology, that’s a pretty big requirement. We all have experience editing short fiction, either through lit magazines or other anthologies, and we’ve had great synergy pooling ideas and organizing so far. I’m really excited to have such talented, hard-working folks on my team.

R: We do work together really well and are almost always on the same wavelength/generally Get each other’s vision and intentions. Also, we’re all a-spec (obvs) and genuinely care very deeply about this!

Why did you choose to work together on editing this anthology?

C: Honestly, why would I not want to work with these fine people? It’s such a dream team! There’s no big story behind it, really: I already collaborate with two of them (B. and RoAnna) as part of the Kraken Collective, and Cit and I had had a few DMs about different projects, so when this one started to take form, I reached out to em to know if e wanted in. I think we trust each other’s skills, vision, and energy, and that’s enough to work together.

R: Yep, this pretty much goes with the last question too. We work really well together, are familiar with each others’ work and style, and wanted to make something cool!

I understand you’ve solicited a few authors to produce pieces for this anthology, but that you’ll also be open to submission after the Kickstarter is finished. What made you choose to do that?

C: Most of the reasons here are fairly pragmatic. Having a few pieces ahead of time gave us something concrete to market during the Kickstarter and it spread out the editing work to some extent. It allowed us to contact aromantic writers we wanted to read from ahead of time, giving them a chance to be accepted right away or extra months to write and polish their story for the anthology. While we don’t aim to build a story exclusively with aromantic authors, we do want them to have written a significant portion of the submitted stories.

R: Yeah, having something defined up front is important; it gives people an idea of what this will actually be, and shows that we do intend to actually do it! And once we have a strong core of great stories to start, hopefully a lot more awesome authors will submit their lovely words.

What do you hope to accomplish with this anthology?

C: I want an anthology that is nothing but glorious, poignant platonic relationships, that values these stories with the same care and fervor we give romance all the time. And I want all those stories to have aromantic characters at their hearts and to properly reflect the depths of our bonds. This will give aros a chance to have several stories about them at the same place, too, rather than scattered across different queer anthologies, and ultimately I hope they find pieces of themselves within the anthology.

R: Absolutely this—we see so much happy yelling (and weeping) over romances, and I want non-romantic bonds to be recognized as just as important/intense/good/thrilling. And that there are so many different ways to have these amazing relationships, with different dynamics and feelings, all of which I find fascinating and just super cool. I feel like there’s a whole world here people who don’t know/think about us are missing.

What have been some of your favorite books this year?

C: I haven’t been reading that much since 2019 started, actually. There’s this anthology project that’s been eating all my time! I loved Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno, which is the first book I read this year. If we go back further, though, Werecockroach by Polenth Blake and The House of Binding Thorns by Aliette de Bodard are two of my 2018 musts.

R: …I have to be very honest here and say that I haven’t read hardly at all since 2019 started, since I’ve been extremely focused on DAWNFALL and its deadlines! I am, however, reading WITCHMARK and really loving it when I can force myself to rest long enough.

You can make sure this project comes to fruition by backing it on Kickstarter today RIGHT HERE!

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