I’m a Gay Wizard by V.S. Santoni will be released for sale by Wattpad Books in October. queer voices was given an advance copy and the opportunity to hear from the author directly.

Santori expertly weaves bullying, coming out, love, self-loathing, and more into a believable (!) fantasy story—without coming across as though the characters were queer specifically to exploit that fact as a token.

I’m a Gay Wizard boasts a bevy of relatable characters and a storyline that surprises and keeps the reader guessing. An admirable feat, that lack of predictability makes I’m a Gay Wizard enjoyable.

I don’t want to inadvertently spoil the plot, so I’ll share the publisher’s teaser:

You do magic once, and it sticks to you like glitter glue…

When Johnny and his best friend, Alison, pass their summer holidays dabbling in magic, they never expect it to have consequences. Sure, it’d be great if they could banish bullies or change their lives for the better, and what harm could come from lighting a few candles and chanting a few spells? They get their answer in the form of an earthquake unleashed at their behest, which draws the attention of the Marduk Institute, an age-old organization dedicated to fostering the talents of young wizards.

Whisked away to the institute and told they can never return to their old lives, Johnny and Alison must quickly adapt to a new world shimmering with monsters, fraternities, and cute boys like Hunter and Blake. But when they’re pulled into a dark, supernatural fight that could cost them their lives, they’ll have to find strength they never knew they had as they battle for love, acceptance, and their own happy endings—all with the help of a little bit of magic.

Now, let’s hear from Santoni in his own words:

What inspired you to write I’m a Gay Wizard?

Growing up a lonely gay goth kid, I spent a lot of time ravenously consuming any media with queer content, whether it was the Weetzie Bat series by Francesca Lia Block or the excellent queer fantasy novels of Mercedes Lackey, anything to stave off the soul-crushing reality that being a queer kid kind of sucked. Although the media landscape has improved, I still feel there is a need for queer genre fiction, and, moreover, honest queer genre fiction with unabashed depictions of queer characters, not just tropes.

What sets your book, I’m A Gay Wizard, apart from this genre? What do you hope to bring to the world of young adult fiction?

I’m a Gay Wizard has a distinctly hopeful tone. It eschews cynicism for optimism, casts aside decorum for honesty, and revels in being bright, colorful, and romantic. It acknowledges hardship, but it also keeps its eyes on the silver lining.

When you started using Wattpad, did you ever anticipate someday becoming a published author?

Absolutely not.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when writing I’m a Gay Wizard? What is your advice for aspiring writers who face similar challenges?

I had to revise I’m a Gay Wizard numerous times; I think the sheer amount of work it took to get the book done was honestly the most challenging aspect. I would tell future writers to have great, great patience with their projects.

It’s great that the LGBTQ+ community is so positively represented in I’m a Gay Wizard. Do you have any advice for younger or less open LGBTQ+ people?

The process of uncovering our identities is long and painful. Where ever you are on that journey, know that you are valid, and if you’re ever feeling alone, know there’s some random queer author out there, sitting in the stands, cheering at the top of his lungs for you to make it, for you to win.