Ashley Bartlett

Megan Tillman


“I was an introverted kid who spent a lot of time reading Nancy Drew,” says writer and editor Ashley Bartlett. “Writing was a natural progression.” Bartlett hit enviable milestones early: her first short story was published when she was 19; she signed with her publisher at 24; and she began editing professionally at 27. Now the author of several sapphic novels, including The Dirty Trilogy and the Cash Braddock series, Bartlett has new goals. “Paying rent [with writing and editing] would be cool,” she says. “Ultimately, though, I just want people to read my work…I’m not naive enough to think I can change anything on a global scale. But I absolutely can change how individual people look at or think about or process the world around them and I think that’s pretty damn cool.” As a gender nonconforming person who describes herself as “masc of center,” Bartlett writes the characters she wants to read, which leads to interesting and profound challenges. “My most recent series was masc on masc, which is uncommon,” she says. “Logistically, writing two masc of center main characters means building wardrobes and styles that are distinct. It also means examining social structures that result in masculine performativity and how that might present in two very different women.” When asked how her own identity affects her writing, Bartlett is frank. “It’s impossible to separate my queerness and my gender from my work,” she says. “Everything I do or think or feel is steeped in queerness.”

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