Watty Winner Spotlight: @star-powered

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Name: Maggie Derrick

Where are you from? Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

What inspired you to write your winning story?

The Star and the Ocean is a story I've been building in my mind for close to 20 years. I didn't find the courage to begin writing it until after I came out as bisexual. I was inspired to tell a story about queer characters that didn't hinge on their sexuality.

Where were you and what were you doing when you found out you won?

I was actually home with the flu! I was in bed and had just woken up from a nap when I got the news. Winning made a pretty crummy day significantly better, ha ha!

What does winning a Watty Award mean to you? 

As I mentioned before, The Star and the Ocean is a story I've been holding onto for close to 20 years. The characters have grown and evolved with me over the years, and their story is very close to my heart. Finally choosing to write it down and share it with the world was one of the scariest things I've ever done! I had no idea if it would resonate with anyone; would the story be interesting to anyone other than me? Was it something readers – especially queer readers seeking more representation in the fantasy space – could get invested in? Or was it just a self-indulgent pet project better left to my notebooks? Winning a Watty affirmed to me that I made the right decision in choosing to share May, Em, and their story with the world.

Give us your Wattys acceptance speech.

I'll keep it short and sweet: this win is for every single person who has reached out to let me know how much it has meant to see themselves reflected and represented through May and Em. I see you and I'm proud of you; your stories deserve to be told.

The 2017 Watty AwardsRead this story for FREE!