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Interview with Mina Waheed | 30 Days of Pride

30 Days of Pride, Hosted by Ben Ace and Taylor Tracy. Interview with Mina Waheed, author of Soft On Soft and Graham's Delicacies.
Welcome back to 30 Days of Pride! Today, we welcome Mina Waheed, author of Soft on Soft and Graham’s Delicacies. They discuss celebrating Pride Month despite living in the closet and connecting with the community online.

Ben Ace: Hi Mina! Welcome to 30 Days of Pride, and thank you so much for participating. Why don’t you start us off by talking a bit about some of your favorite media like TV shows, movies, books, and music with queer representation?

Mina Waheed: Thank you so much for having me. June Happens to be my favorite month! Currently, I am watching Schitt’s Creek. It’s a sitcom about a family who loses all of their money and have to move to a small town. There is an mlm relationship in the show that kicks up in Season 3! I love it to pieces because not only is it entirely unfetishized, it’s also not the only relationship David, the pansexual lead, has been in.

A movie I love is The Handmaiden, which I’ve read up a lot on and how the director had made sure the leading women were utterly comfortable filming any intimate scenes. Not only is it beautifully shot, it’s got a compelling story about a con-artist who falls for her mark. It’s based on The Fingersmith but is Korean!

Books… There are simply so many that I can’t just choose one! How about some recent reads that I’ve adored? That Kind Of Guy by Talia Hibbert (demisexual representation) and Nine of Swords, Reversed by Xan West (queer representation).

I haven’t read or watched any of those myself, but they all sound amazing! Part of the reason I started this series is because I know June feels like a month-long holiday for many queer people. How do you celebrate Pride Month?

I celebrate with books. Before I began writing, and before blogging, I didn’t know the significance of June. Living in the closet means I don’t really have any sort of way to celebrate my identity. However, thanks to being part of the book blogging and writing communities on Twitter, I began dedicating my June to queer books.

Speaking of living in the closet, that’s tough on anyone. How would you describe your own journey to becoming more prideful in your identity (queer and otherwise)? Does that personal journey bleed into your character’s lives?

I definitely had a whirlwind of suppressing feelings, then wanting to celebrate it, not knowing who might hurt me in the process. I try to do little things to celebrate who I am. Such as my existence online. Or using gender neutral language in my daily life, even when I am always misgendered. I try to give my queer characters some depth in regards to their own identities, but at the end of the day, I want them to be happy, proud, and celebratory of who they are.

One of the compliments I’ve seen tons of people give your books is that your characters are super relatable, so let’s talk about them a bit! How do the protagonists of Soft on Soft and Graham’s Delicacies celebrate Pride Month?

This is so sweet! You know, in the process of writing these people into existence, I’ve given them pieces of myself. Alright, so little secret, but I’m drafting the companion to Soft on Soft, and Shelby and the gang might just go to a pride event. It’s also the scene that kicks off the book.

I love that! And when you begin planning a new story, do you ever specifically decide to write queer characters onto the page or do they just work their way in? I know this is a bit different with you just having mentioned a companion book, which obviously has established characters, but generally, how does that play out?

Both yes and no. I think all of my characters will turn out to be queer, whether I plan it or not. It’s just something inherent in me.

Lastly, do you have any advice or positive words to the people out there who aren’t able to be so openly proud of their queer identities?

My advice if for them to find their people. Find people like you who would understand and sympathize. Without my friend who respected my pronouns and welcomed me when I came out as ace, I wouldn’t be the person I am now. She was there when I needed her the most. Everyone could benefit from a friend (or two!) who understands them. I know being open isn’t an option to everyone. I live it every day, but I steal moments in my writing, online, with my friends, to be who I am. Being proud  isn’t a matter of outer appearance or vocal celebration. It’s the feeling you have inside. Be proud of yourself first and foremost.

Mina Waheed grew up on TV and K-pop like many in their generation.
Living in a secluded little island in the Middle East meant very little to do and a lot of time of nothing. At thirteen, they picked up their first book with the blessing of an older sister and has been in love with prose ever since.
Today, they spend the hours they’re not educating young minds proper English dreaming up and writing those fluffy hugs in the form of books.
They learned a lot about how to be a hermit and not interact with people, but they love to hear from readers! Reach Mina Waheed through social media or email if you’re shy like them.
Find out more about Mina’s newest Graham’s Delicacies in Corey’s Book Corner interview on writing soft works, nonbinary characters, and what’s next on the horizon!

Check out Mina Waheed’s work



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