Author interview: Sabrina Pandora

| Mar 12, 2018

This month’s column is an interview!  Sabrina Pandora is the author of many stories, but I know her through her work on the incredible comic Giant Girl.  She graciously agreed to sit down with me.  (My bits will be in italics for the rest of the piece.)

Sabrina

Hola, hello, hi, howdy!

Let’s start with the usual. Short bio — what do you dare reveal about yourself? Aside from your boobs.

Dare? The question is more what do I not. I am a 50-year-old non-passable trans woman who lives in Texas with my trans wife. Look, we’re transbiens! I live my life very openly, because it is important that we have visibility. We demystify the nature of trans by being open, and we become ‘the one you know’ that puts a human face on the community, and I think in today’s society that is vitally important.

I’m a writer, a comic book creator, an auction manager, a wife and a counselor.

How long ago did you transition? And where do you get the great costumes?

I transitioned legally back in 2006 — I count my transition from when I legally changed my name and my gender marker on my driver’s license. I considered that my turning point-that was where I could no longer legally try to pass myself off as a man, so that is where I consider my transition to officially taken place.

I get the great costumes all over, but they are usually the work of talented individuals such as The Geeky Seamstress.

Okay. So, I know about the brilliant Giant Girl. Before we get into that, have you published anything else?

I have a crossdresser fantasy slash trans book that I published as well. I have a friend out in Seattle who inspired me to craft a sort of fantasy adventure for her and it took on a life of its own, and that resulted in All Dolled Up: An Odd Modern Romance.
Beyond that I have written dozens of superhero short stories and a lot of Star Trek fiction. . .

Where might an interested party find that?

I actually published about 40 short stories on my DeviantART account, though the ‘fleet’ I wrote all the TOS fiction on has since vanished from the internet, which is a shame. They were some good stories.

Didn’t you have backups?

For some I likely do, as I wrote them all on Google docs but that is a lot to go through for what is essentially exotic fanfic. I can let them go — in some cases the stories may be something I resurrect someday but mostly they are just for my own entertainment. I dare say I am prouder of my Supergirl stories I have stored on DA, which I recently started looking at editing with an eye toward making a pitch to DC. Not that they tend to be receptive to such things, but I do love the character and her story. Can’t hurt to try!

Which segues nicely into your superhero Giant Girl. For the uninitiated, could you tell us about GG? Where she came from in your imagination, etc?

Giant Girl initially grew out of a table top gaming character concept. I had the idea for a super heroine who was the third generation legacy who was vastly more powerful than her predecessors but rejected traditional super heroics to be more of an adventurer, treasure hunter and globetrotting trouble magnet. I hinted at her actual powers and their origins but I never got to the point where the truth was coming out. Which won’t happen now because my artist got sick of doing the strip and I couldn’t find anyone else to do it reliably for what I could pay.

But the world then she inhabited and the characters that populated it were very much a reflection of my view of the aesthetics of what modern super heroics really are and ostensibly what they could be.

Giant Girl

Giant Girl

And here I thought you were getting political. Let me guess the game: Champions?

Mutants and Masterminds, actually. I was very fond of their system back around 2010.
Hah! Giant Girl was never political, more a commentary on slacker culture and responsibility avoidance.

Have you collected all the GG pages?

They are all electronic. I really need to get them formatted for sale, but in the beginning we really were not working with an eye to publishing.

The last book I did was a crossover with Sean Harrington’s ‘Spying With Lana’, which sells quite well, and we have another one in the works starting soon. Available on Amazon!

Kewl! Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write. It does you no good to have stories that are untold, so just sit down and good, bad or indifferent, just get it onto the page so that it can be shared with others. If you want to be a writer, then write. Self-publish if you have to and get it out there so that it can be seen. Nobody expects you to be Shakespeare but you, so don’t be hypercritical and keep it squirreled away. Write, put it out there, then write some more.

To me, it seems that GG is a lot of You, as in, you are GG. Am I right? And how much of yourself do you put into your stories, if at all?

As for how much of my creations is me, while I can say that she speaks with my voice, Veronica Kane is most definitely not me. She thinks and acts with a perspective very different than my own, although I will admit as a kid growing up I very much was expecting super powers to kick in, and I definitely drew on that for Ronni’s frustration and disappointment that her own powers never kicked in.

I think as writers there is always a kernel of ourselves in there, because writing characters with none of ourselves in them creates un-genuine characters. But the lady in red who draws danger like a lightning rod to better protect others. . . that’s definitely not me.

Though I really did hate giving up that hat — but it had to go, and I got a good storytelling use out of it.

You do/did standup comedy. I’ve seen the videos. Would you like to talk about that, or no?

Sabrina as Super Girl.

Sure, if you’d like. People would tell me I am funny and that I should do standup, so when I moved to Atlanta I gave it a try for a few years. Turns out I am more situationally funny than monologue funny. Like a wacky neighbor in a sitcom. I benefit well from editing.

But I got to perform onstage at the Star Bar back when Reverend Jim Stacey owned it and I got to hang out with a lot of genuinely talented and funny people, and that was a cool experience. I also learned not to get too high before I went onstage or I was just a hot mess.

You transitioned during a hostile era (W). Do you have any advice for trans women who are coming out these days? Or for trans women who don’t “pass” (like me)?

I give a lot of advice on this front, because I counsel a lot of trans women who are referred to me. I give them all the same advice, because it is always true.

Be prepared to lose everything. Your family, your friends, your job, your reputation, your savings, your home — everything. Because in the quest to gain ownership of your own body and make it somewhere that your soul can live in relative peace, you are risking all of that and more. I don’t say that you will lose it all, though statistically it is probable. But you have to be prepared to lose it all.

Once you accept that you can do just about anything, because what you gain far exceeds what you risk losing.

Anything else you’d like people to know?

That’s my advice to modern trans women. That, find your own style, keep what worked of your old life — you can be a girl who loves sports or comic books or swimsuit models and still be your own kind of woman. Because shucking one set of societal expectations for another is just insane. Go be the woman you can be, the one you want to be. Grow to become a woman who the “you” of 20 years ago would look up to and admire. Because we form our own expectations and limitations in this life, and once you are free to define them embrace that freedom and go be amazing.

Can readers contact you?

Sounds good to me! [email protected]

Thanks! 🙂

See more of Sabrina and some of her Giant Girl comics here.


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Category: Fun & Entertainment

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Read Sophie's blog here. View her contribution to The New York Times transgender stories article. She has also been featured in an article on Philly.com.

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