For the second Pride Spotlight of the month, we interviewed George Squares (he/him). Though George has had several short story credits to his name, he has recently been writing in a very different medium to most within the Furry Writers Guild.
This is what furry and queer writing means to him.
FWG: Tell the guild and our readers a bit about yourself.
George: Sure. I go by George Squares. I’m a gay man, I tend to focus heavily on writing horror, romance and erotica, and I’ve been in the furry writer’s guild for a long time. I’ve had stories published in anthologies such as Arcana and Dissident Signals for various presses.
Though I started out selling my writing for short story anthologies (one of the first things I published in the furry scene was a story called Interchangeable Parts in Will of the Alpha 2), these days I make a living off of script writing for various games studios. One of the biggest projects I’ve ever undertaken is managing and writing a visual novel for Echo Project called The Smoke Room, which updates approximately every month and a half.
FWG: What is your favourite work that you have written?
George: Hard for me to say. I really enjoyed writing a highly risque transformation story that I put up on fur affinity called Something to Trade (it’s probably not a read for everybody), but I think my short story in Arcana, which was for The Sun’s Major Arcana, really stuck with me. But I think my strongest work is going into The Smoke Room at the moment.
FWG: What do you think makes a good story?
George: A lot of things can make for a good story, but at the end of the day, I think that the most important thing is emotional resonance. We remember how something made us feel the strongest, so if a story can make its audience feel, it will leave an impact.
FWG: How long have you been in the guild, and what changes have you seen with regards to how writing is handled since joining?
George: I think I’ve technically been in it for around six to seven years. My involvement with the Guild had generally been around the periphery as my interest in publishing print media diminished. But what’s exciting for me to see more of recently is visual novels and interactive games getting embraced as “writing” in writing communities. People are opening up to supporting accessible multimedia projects that have as much depth as many books do.
FWG: Can you give us a little insight into your identity, and how you fit onto the lgbtq+ spectrum?
George: I call myself a gay man out of convenience (and I still consider that to be fairly accurate in terms of my identity), but if I went into the nitty gritty, I’m a masculine nonbinary person with some agender-leaning identity.
FWG: What does Pride mean to you?
George: It means many things to me, but it mostly means a celebration of the perserverence of Queer (Or LGBTQIA+) identity over institutional hegemony and police brutality. I know we can trace most of the original celebration’s significance back to Marsha P. Johnson’s thrown brick at Stonewall.
I’ve never had the chance to attend a pride event or celebration in person, but I know how important it is to people who are like me.
FWG: Was there a bit of a journey or story to you uncovering your identity? If so, would you be comfortable sharing with us?
George: A lot of it was pretty uncomfortable, as, no doubt, many folks in the same boat will tell you. My parents were devout baptists, so a lot of my adolescent and teen years had to be spent in secrecy and suppression. But a part of that was self-imposed due to religious indoctrination.
It wasn’t until college, where I got to be on my own and explore who I was, until I felt ready to embrace something I already sort of knew from as early an age as 13. My parents were more accepting than I thought they would be at first. I still talk to them about this to this day, but our relationship is still rocky.
FWG: How do you think being lgbtq+ has inspired or affected your stories? Have you written lgbtq+ characters into your works?
George: Well, the graphic sex between men is impossible to miss, for starters. But when I’m writing without explicit sexual depictions, yeah, my sexual and gender identity always comes into factor. I think about what’s depicted as attractive or desirable to the PoV character. I think about what a touch is like between characters with chemistry vs. characters without it. And I think about what I would want to see in a work as a reader when I’m writing something, because even though we can’t always write only for ourselves, we can manage to write for people who are like us who are hungry for relatable stories.
FWG: Do you have favourite queer authors and has their literature affected your writing in the fandom?
George: Well I definitely have to mention Howly, who created Echo, which eventually led to the entirety of Echo Project. He’s very kind, he works hard, and he undervalues himself considerably, but I wouldn’t have been able to make games without him.
I also want to mention Redd the Shibe, who is my co-writer for The Smoke Room. We have banged our heads together on plenty of walls figuring out how to code and how to make a game but I really think we managed to get past our major hurdles, and I’m proud of us.
I also need to mention some Devs in the MLM furry VN scene who I think are doing interesting work:
-Eddio (Killigan’s Treasure)
-Basket (Tennis Ace)
-Xarishro (Fuelled by Insanity)-Raus (Shelter)
My earlier influences in terms of MLM representation in furry stories were K.M. Hirosaki/Rikoshi, Kyell Gold, and Ryan Campbell, and I’m looking forward to reading God of Fire in the near future.
Robert Baird, and Ian Madison Keller are also really lovely writers who are enthused about their craft.
I have never asked my good friend and fellow writer Jess E. Owen’s private thoughts on her identity, but I would not be as good of a writer today without her, and I needed to mention her.
I also need to mention my husband Cafealopex, whose early work in the Redwall Online Community over a decade ago inspired me to write in the first place.
FWG: If you could convince everyone to read a single book, what would it be?
George: Tough question, considering I want everybody to read widely, and I think everybody reading the same single book could lead to pop cultural problems (what’s that saying I keep hearing again and again about…. ‘read another book’),
But… I think “Into the Wild” is a pretty solid nonfiction book that almost feels like it’s written like fiction, and I think anybody could get into it. It’s entertaining, it’s shocking, it paints a really good picture with scenes, and I think it has an important lesson.
IT is another book that I think would benefit a lot of people probably but it is very dark and very upsetting.
If I had to choose a narrative game for everybody to play, it would be “Night in the Woods.”
If I had to pick a book for pride month for everybody to read? How about Wolfsong by T.J. Klune. Can’t go wrong with gay werewolf men.
FWG: Any last words for our readers and guild members?
George: Remember that lots of things can be considered writing and that there’s lots of ways that you can make a living as a writer inside and out of this fandom. Don’t let anybody who tells you otherwise keep you in their shadow.
Celebrate pride month in your own way.
George is one of the writers with visual novel company The Echo Project. Updates for all the visual novels can be found at The Echo Project’s Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/EchoGame
You can follow George on Twitter @georgesquares
We have one more Pride Spotlight to come before the end of the month. In the meantime, please do check out George’s work. You will not be disappointed.