In the ’Cosm Podcast S1, Ep5: Diversity representation in fiction (and why Jackie Collins is awesome) with Christina Robins

CW: Mentions of sex trafficking, relationship abuse, and child abuse

Emerging Canadian author Christina Robins shares her point of view about sex work and writing a protagonist who is a sex worker in her newly released novella, Entanglements. She also explains why autistic characters are not “too much,” and how she loves reading and writing stories about women who push boundaries. Also, she shares about the influence of Jackie Collins in her [Christina’s] life!

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(Please scroll down to read the transcript for this episode.)

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ID: Zoom snapshot of Canadian author Christina Robins (on the left, laughing. Christina has tawny-rosy skin and long wavy auburn hair, tied back. She’s wearing a brown-black top and is holding a sky-blue Wonder Woman mug. She is sitting in a pale grey room and there's a black cat on the couch behind her. Cait Gordon is on the right, against a spacey backdrop with the In the ’Cosm logo.
(There was so much laughing!)

CW: Today’s episode of In the ’Cosm features a discussion about the representation of sex workers in fiction, and mentions of relationship abuse and child. Please listen or read with care.

Intro: Hi, and welcome to In the ’Cosm. I’m your host Canadian speculative fiction author Cait Gordon. I’ve started this podcast, so I can chat with authors and other creatives I simply fan girl over. I hope you enjoy diving into my microcosm and feel inspired to seek out the works of these amazing humans.

Cait Gordon: Hi, I’m Cait Gordon, and today is really super thrilling for me because I finally get to speak with someone I’ve been friends with for years on Twitter, Canadian romance author, Christina Robins. Christina lives in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in the sub-Arctic with her chef husband and five rescue cats. Her writing is about women who don’t always follow the rules society has set out. Christina wants her works to encourage conversations about love, life, and how women survive in a world that bases their self-worth on whether they have a partner or kids, or if they fit into the narrow definition of what it means to be a woman. She is a champion of LGBTQA2S rights and the Black Lives Matter movement, and believes in reconciliation for the Indigenous population and the Land Back movement. She is the newest contributing blogger of the Spoonie Authors Network and her novella, Entanglements has just been released and is now available on Amazon. Welcome, Christina!

Christina Robins: Thank you for inviting me on your fun podcast [laughs].

Cait Gordon: I’m so glad you’re here. Thank you for being a part of my microcosm today.

Christina Robins: It’s so much fun to finally meet you [laughs].

Cait Gordon: I know, right? You’re more than just a face that just kind of tilts to the side it looks gorgeous, but… [laughter]

Christina Robins: Okay, I know my angles [laughter].

Cait Gordon: No judgment; you’re gorgeous [Christina laughs]. Okay, so a really exciting thing happened to you! You published your first novella, Entanglements, and I hope it’s the first of many and yes, for people who are listening to this, Christina just held up the cover, it’s just awesome. And actually I do—before I go further into this question, can you describe that cover and why you chose it to be the way it is?

Christina Robins: Well, one of the people who got me into the idea of self-publishing is a woman named Maria Ann Green, and Maria Ann Green… she did the cover for me. I asked for a Toronto skyline, I wanted her to be the character, and the colours, and everything just worked so perfectly together. I just I love it; it’s shiny, it’s pretty, it’s beautiful, it’s like everything I imagined for my first book [laughs].

Cait Gordon: I mean, the woman on the cover is so elegant as well. She’s wearing kind of a strapless dress. Is she adjusting an earring? I’m thinking she’s adjusting an earring with her long, beautiful hair and—

Christina Robins: Yeah, and the hair was everything because there’s a, there’s a line in the thing where he looks at her, and he’s like, “Goddess-like waves,” and he’s like, “Goddess like waves? I don’t think like that!” [Cait laughs] And I wanted her to have goddess-like waves [laughs].

Cait Gordon: She absolutely does. I really enjoyed Entanglements. Would you please tell our audience what it’s about and also the author you pay homage to in this work?

Christina Robins: Entanglements, is a book about a woman named Serena, who’s been through a lot of bad stuff in her life. She’s a sex worker. She makes a ridiculous amount of money, but she’s worked her way up to that. One day, when she’s in a bookstore, she runs into a guy who flirts with her, and she basically shuts him down, and this guy happens to be one of the biggest Canadian movie stars, as in, like, he’s gotten through Hollywood, and now he’s like Oscar-winning and everything, and she of course doesn’t recognize him nor care. Until, like, she’s like, “Yeah sure, you’re kind of cute. Let’s go for dinner.” And in the background of it all, there’s sex traffickers. Because to be honest with you, being an ex-sex worker, I can tell you there are places you work that are 100%, safe and wonderful, and there are places you work, where you’re working there because you have to and you know there are people that are there that shouldn’t be there. I chose to highlight the other one, because until sex workers have deregulate—like have their own regulations, have decriminalization, these people, like, these sex traffickers in my book, will continue to be able to prey on young girls.

Cait Gordon: Right.

Christina Robins: Serena started working when she was 17. I started working when I was 17. I’ve run across some of the best people in the world who work in this industry, and I’ve run across some of the scariest people in the world. I was lucky enough to have someone for 10 years, who was like a mother to me and treated me very well. Not a lot of women have that, that ability, and the reason they don’t have that ability is because they’re afraid to go to the police. They’re afraid to admit what they do for a living, because it’s so taboo and it’s so, so wrong according to society, when really it’s just women monetizing their time and who they are, for someone to pay for that time. They’re not giving anything away, they’re not breaking themselves, they’re not—there they’re making a conscious choice to monetize. It’s no different than me writing, and no one really worried about my bodily… I don’t know what word I’m looking for here, but no one cared about my body when I was working in a nursing home, which as we’ve seen, is a very dangerous job.

Cait Gordon: Wow.

Christina Robins: So, you know, yeah.

Cait Gordon: And the author that you paid homage to in Entanglements?

Christina Robins: That’s Jackie Collins. Jackie Collins is the sister of Joan Collins. Some of you may know her as an actress from, I think she was in Dynasty, but I’m not really sure.

Cait Gordon: Yeah, that’s right, yeah!

Christina Robins: Yeah, okay! [laughs] She’s also a writer, by the way, and she writes very similar books to her sister. I think she only wrote like two, but they’re fantastic. So Jackie Collins, I discovered her on my mom’s bedside table when I was about seven, I’d say. [laughs]

Cait Gordon: Oh my gosh!

Christina Robins: Yeah, I was way too young to be reading her books. But I actually think reading her books is the reason why I didn’t really get into boys till I was like 19. [Cait laughs] It wasn’t a mystery [laughter]. She writes, she writes sexy smutty fun books, but the great thing about her is her characters. Her characters make you want to know them. And that to me is the most important thing in a book. I don’t want to read three pages about the slime on a wall, but I do want to read three pages about the backstory of, you know, Gino Santangelo. The Santangelos is a family throughout her series. And Gino Santangelo is the mob boss who goes, you know, and like the very first book I read of hers was Chances.

Cait Gordon: Yes.

Christina Robins: And it takes place and it’s the story of Gino Santangelo and his daughter, Lucky Santangelo, and it takes place during the blackout in New York 1977 where all these characters come together. And he’s coming back from Israel, where he was, what’s the word I’m looking for—exiled to, so that he didn’t go to jail kind of thing. And so he’s coming back, and Lucky has taken over all of his businesses, and I mean it’s just a family that you’re fascinated by and then she adds so much, and she adds different people, and she has very diverse casts, like, it’s not all white people.

Cait Gordon: Right.

Christina Robins: She was a very forward-thinking writer at a time when people just looked at her and went, “Oh, she’s garbage. She’s just silly; she’s’s fluff.” And it’s like, “She’s fluff?” She writes just as good a book about the mob is Mario Puzo. But because it’s a woman writing it, who happens to be very glamorous and lives in Hollywood and have a rich husband, it’s trash. So, I pay homage to her because she’s the reason I became a writer.

Cait Gordon: Well, you know, it’s so funny because when um—I really wanted to read Entanglements, and I remember at the time, I was exhausted, I could barely get words through into my brain. But I really wanted to read it and then I saw your dedication to Jackie Collins. I said, “Oh! Well, that’s okay.” And then I started reading and went, “Wait a minute, this is reminding me of how much I used to love Jackie Collins’ books.” I mean, it’s not—you’re not being her, but you can tell the influence, and your characters are also characters that I just wanted to know. I just, I just gobbled up this book, I love the characters, and like, I need you to tell me every time you publish something. [Christina laughs] I think it’s just gonna be my delicious reads [Christina laughs], you know like what I need to just kind of tune out the world and get involved.

Christina Robins: Yeah.

Cait Gordon: I love that you did that, and I love that you—you did also write a little bit about that at the end of your book, about Jackie Collins, being kind of understated and underrated.

Christina Robins: Yup, yeah.

Cait Gordon:  And she was a good writer, and her stories were very absorbing so…

Christina Robins: Yeah, yeah.

Cait Gordon: But Entanglements has a Canadian feel. And I love how the protagonist is a, is a sex worker. And I love how you bring own-voices experience into that writing, and you don’t give into the “please rescue me from my life” trope, right? I mean, yeah, that’s so done.

Christina Robins: Her life is fine, she has no problems in her life; she does a job, she makes a lot of money at it, she enjoys herself. And the only reason she decides she wants to quit is the same reason we all do, we’re tired! Men are exhausting [laughter]. You know, it just gets to where you’re like, “Yeah I can’t do this anymore.” But it’s not because it’s taking something away, it’s because you get kind of burnt out on all the emotional labour that goes into it. There’s so much emotional labour that goes into being a good sex worker that people ignore completely. We’re therapists, we’re massage—you know, we’re massage therapists, we’re, we’re the people that they come to you to talk and to have someone listen to them, and I don’t think enough credit is given to sex workers for the amount of work you have to put in to maintain regulars, the amount of emotional labour, the amount of, you know, everything just understanding what they like, what they dislike. I used to be fascinated by the courtesans of like, France, and how the King’s mistresses used to become like almost like the queen. Courtesans were the same. You knew what he liked, you knew what turned them on, you knew what food he liked, what wine he liked, that kind of thing, and that was sort of the world I was involved in. It wasn’t just “wham-bam, thank you ma’am,” it was talking and getting to know each other and sometimes giving a little bit of yourself and them being able to be comfortable doing that. And I think that’s something that’s really left out of sex work that bothers me a lot, is the idea that we’re just, we’re doing easy money. It’s not frickin’ easy [laughs].

Cait Gordon: Well, no, I mean, you know, it sounds like it’s a lot about human connection as well, and human connection is, is beyond the physical. And I’m sure if someone is going to you again and again, it’s because they feel this connection. They feel safe with you, right?

Christina Robins:  Yeah. Mhm.

Cait Gordon: And I think that’s brilliant to actually write the part about the emotional labour that’s involved with sex work because that isn’t written about as much.

Christina Robins: Yeah. No, it’s always the salacious parts. It’s never the boring, you know, “We’re your therapist.” [laughs]

Cait Gordon: Yeah! No, I mean, I, I’m really glad you said that because I think that’s really important for people to know. And so just before we hit record [laughs], you started to say things. I said, “Wait wait, let’s leave this to the recording, because it’s very important.” So you’re now out in the world as a published author, and you’ve chosen the indie publishing route. That is the route that you have chosen. And you wrote an article for the Spoonie Authors Network, and I had just been speaking to students at Trent University, I don’t remember if it was last week or the week before about autism representation in fiction. And your article on the Spoonie Authors Network was talking about how there was all these different marginalizations that were acceptable, but then when the autism came up, it was like, “Oh wow, that’s too much,” and I, I’d like you to, if you don’t mind, to talk more about that, and to explain why for you, indie publishing is the way that you feel is the best path for you right now.

Christina Robins: Um, okay, well, first off, the character I wrote in this book, which I have not released, and I’m probably going to hold back for a while because I really want to get her perfect, is basically me: she’s bisexual, she’s biracial, she has autism. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my 40s, and once I was, it was like a light went on. I went, “Oh, ohhh!” And like, everything was clear and instead of apologizing for being the way I am, I am the way I am.

Cait Gordon: Right.

Christina Robins: So traditional publishing, I’ve been told both the title, which I called Slut because I like to push the boundaries, and I don’t think it’s a word—it’s a word that’s used to put women down. I want it to be a word that a woman uses because she’s proud of, like, not putting up with crap and not staying with a guy because society says that if you leave him after two weeks, you’re a slut.

Cait Gordon: Right. It’s like a reclaiming the word, right?

Christina Robins: Yeah, it’s like sort of reclaiming the word and also showing how the word is used against women, especially women who don’t fall in line. Like, if I’m dating somebody for two weeks, and I see red flags, I’m gonna break up with them. And then if I’m dating someone else and I see red flags, I’m gonna break up with them. Society prefers that I stay with those guys for like a couple of years, destroy my self-esteem, and actually be miserable. Than say, “Hey, you know, I’m not happy in this situation, I’m leaving and going somewhere else. I’m not happy in this situation…” It doesn’t matter how many guys you date, It matters whether or not you’re happy.

Cait Gordon: Yes.

Christina Robins: And that that’s something that I don’t think traditional publishing has caught up to yet, is that they want diverse voices, and they want interesting own voices and all this stuff, but when it comes to real humanity, they want it to be candy-coated.

Cait Gordon: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Christina Robins: They want the “autism person” to be rocking in a corner, nonverbal, because that’s the only way. They don’t understand that autism comes in all different flavours.

Cait Gordon: Yes.

Christina Robins: And shades and we’re all, we’re all different, we’re not a monolith, and that’s the problem, is it—autism is seen as this, like, monolith, and it’s often seen from the eyes of the parents, and not the actual person with autism. And so I want to remove those. She can function! She has a day job, but guess what her day job is? At home! Because that way she doesn’t have to deal with people. So, she’s managed to figure out how to make money without, you know, going outside of what she’s comfortable with. She doesn’t like crowded subways, these are all just little tiny things that were really important for the character, and including the fact that her new boyfriend makes fun of her and says, “If you don’t want to be weird, don’t be weird,” instead of, “You have autism.” “I don’t believe that; I just think I just think you use it as an excuse to be weird.” And I think it’s really important that you see characters who don’t accept the autism that are rude, that are, you know, that use it as a, as a paddle to beat them. [laughs]

Cait Gordon: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Christina Robins: Like, uses that autism to, like, victimize them more, and I, that’s just really important to me, so when I was told that the autism was a little too much, it was, it was like a little knife in the heart. And then I realized that I don’t care what they think.

Cait Gordon: Yeah…yeah!

Christina Robins: And that’s why I went indie because I don’t care what they think. I know that I’ve written decent stories. I know that I want my words out there, and if it wasn’t for self-publishing, you would never have heard of Virginia Woolf.

Cait Gordon: Right!

Christina Robins: Because her husband was the one who published the books in the garage.

Cait Gordon: Yes, yes!

Christina Robins: And that’s the earliest form of self-publishing. And Simone de Beauvoir, who’s another amazing writer who you’ve heard of, you would never have heard of, if she didn’t get published in the magazine that, you know her… I guess not husband but her lifetime boyfriend was publishing. He published her works as well too. So I mean, if you believe in yourself, other people will believe in you, but it’s a big gatekeeping publishing traditional world out there. And I don’t think I’m what they want, and that’s fine because I don’t really want to give my words to somebody and then have no control over them.

Cait Gordon: I absolutely agree, and you know, I mean I’m with Renaissance press. And I think one of the reasons that I’m with them is the entire leadership is autistic, disabled, and such. So I’m going to my home, basically, with them. If I was not with Renaissance press, I would be doing the indie route as well. And it really resonates with me when you say you want your words, you know, to be kind of safe, protected, and such. When, when, when it came to Nothing Without Us, one of the first things I said in the interview was, if I had to do that anthology with another publisher, I’d be constantly butting heads, and you know you don’t want to give up your identities, because these are your lived experiences, and, and I think that if you want to find pretty excellent own-voices stuff, you’ve got to look into the indie publishing world.

Christina Robins: Yeah.

Cait Gordon: That’s where those real great stories are, so I applaud you. And indie authors are typically my clients, as an editor, and their works—they are well written, there’s so much thought put into them. They don’t want to just write something and then put the first draft, you know these are people—

Christina Robins: Yeah I know!

Cait Gordon: Right? They care about content, they care about the cover design…

Christina Robins: Yeah. Yeah, and the cover design, as I said before, was done by my friend Maria. Maria started self-publishing after she had her first work, which I helped her as a, as a critique partner. That’s how we met. Again, another person I’ve never met in real life, but I’ve shared more with her than most [Cait laughs] of my real-life friends, she’s a friend. She started self-publishing because she wrote a serial killer book and people were like, “Gasp, no one’s gonna want to read a serial killer book by a woman.” [laughter] So she’s like, “Well, too bad because they’re gonna,” and she self-published, and she does amazing artwork and she does the formatting, and she does all that for me. I have another amazing editor that I work with out of San Diego, who again I’ve never met, we’ve only ever emailed, but she believes in my work, she understands it, and, and she would never have said that about the autism.

Cait Gordon: Right. Yes!

Christina Robins: She even said that to me. She’s so happy to work on it. She didn’t help with Entanglements, unfortunately. That was done by you! [Laughter]

Cait Gordon: Oh [laughs] well, that was just a friend saying, “Hey [laughs], since I’m reading this anyway…” You know what? I have to make a confession. I am a horrible beta reader. When people ask me to beta read or blurb their stuff, I can’t turn off the editor part.

Christina Robins: I know, I totally understand! [laughter]

Cait Gordon: I just can’t. It’s like okay, “Well, can I just do the punctuation?” [laughs]

Christina Robins: Yeah, you made me better with that! Now I’m like looking at it as I’m going through—I’m going through and finishing up my next book, which is going to be actually about a female serial killer. [laughter, and Cait says, “But you’re a woman, though,” even though it didn’t come out clear in audio.] I know! It’s actually‑her [Maria Ann Green’s] serial killer, the first one was a man, The second one was a woman. Anyway. But, and her series is called a Deeper into Darkness in the Darkness series, so if you want to check it out it’s on Amazon. It’s on Amazon Kindle, it’s fantastic. So my book’s going to be Angel of Death, and it’s about a woman who’s a serial killer, but she’s on a mission, and that mission is to save children from abusive parents.

Cait Gordon: Ooo!

Christina Robins: She takes the children—she actually works for Child Services, and she realizes that they’re not doing anything to help these kids, so she starts taking matters into her own hands. Unfortunately, there’s a cop that’s looking at—sorry, a detective that’s looking into it, and she happens to fall in love him, for the first time ever, so [laughs].

Cait Gordon: Oh my goodness!

Christina Robins: [Laughs] So, that’s the plot of my next book, but while I’m going through it, I’m like, “Oooh, that needs to hug that, [Cait laughs] because you said punctuation loves to hug [laughs].

Cait Gordon: Punctuation loves—that’s how I remember things, too. Punctuation—the quotation marks like to hug the punctuation.

Christina Robins: Yeah [laughs].

Cait Gordon: And stuff. But you know it’s uh—no, it’s very good, Entanglements is a very good first work. I look forward to the other things. You mentioned Slut, now you mentioned this series, are there any other things? I know a lot of authors tend to have a lot of WIPs in their list.

Christina Robins: I have so many ideas. I have a pandemic idea that I’ve been working on, well, actually not working so much as writing stuff on a whiteboard and walking away [laughter]. So yeah I have, I have a pandemic book that I want to do, but I want to wait till it’s over. I, it’s, it’s gonna be about a 25-year-old woman who has prepared her entire life to be a doctor’s wife. And then he dies.

Cait Gordon: Oh my!

Christina Robins: So, she’s gonna have to figure out who she is, without being a doctor’s wife because she’s grown up in this really rich sort of environment, and this is what she was expected, and he’s her high school boyfriend, so she’s never been with anyone else. This was her whole life. And I think a lot of people are going to be going through that.

Cait Gordon: Yeah.

Christina Robins: That loss.

Cait Gordon: Yes!

Christina Robins: And figuring out who they are as a person, but it’s not going to be a depressing book, it’s going to be an uplifting book about a woman who finds who she is without a man.

Cait Gordon: Yeah, I love that. I mean, you know I love these themes that you’re exploring. I mean, it fits in with what we read about in your bio; you know, you want to provoke conversation, and I think that’s what good writing does.

Christina Robins: Yes.

Cait Gordon: You know, it provokes a conversation, you know, whether you agree with what is written or not you go, “Yeah, but you know, it was still really interesting. What do you think about that? I’m not sure what to think about that,” but people are talking.

Christina Robins: Exactly.

Cait Gordon: That is what I feel as writers we should do, particularly fiction writers. I often talk about how fiction can influence real life, there’s a, there’s power in fiction, not just only nonfiction. I always say that I use a cell phone because somebody invented the communicator in Star Trek, right? [laughter]

Christina Robins: Right?

Cait Gordon: There’s a power. I think we need more stories about women that are diverse stories in themselves as well, right? Because women are also not monoliths, right?

Christina Robins: No, no.

Cait Gordon: And that, so I salute you that this is where you’re going with this. Um, there’s one thing I want to bring up though, when you talked about like in Slut, about how you date someone for two weeks and you leave, and you date someone two weeks and you leave. I personally wish, I mean I’m 51 years old, I wish I had come from a generation that said, “If you don’t like something, leave.”

Christina Robins: Exactly.

Cait Gordon:  Right?

Christina Robins: Like, somehow it’s a failure to leave somebody who’s abusing you. It’s not a failure, it’s the biggest strength you can have, and that’s the thing, women are constantly told to just deal with it, and I’m done with that.

Cait Gordon: Yeah.

Christina Robins: I don’t want it to just deal with it.

Cait Gordon: No.

Christina Robins: I want the world to be safe for all women, and all people who present as women, people who don’t fit into that perfect little cis straight box. I get so angry when I see people trying to stop people from just being themselves and living their authentic lives and being happy, because somewhere, somehow they think it diminishes them. And it’s really important for me. I have a non-binary character in Slut; they are actually her best friend.

Cait Gordon: Okay!

Christina Robins: Her best friend, right? And there’s a lot that’s said about that as well too. And I just think it’s really important for people to see authentic people instead of manufactured, this is what we—stereotypical people. I want the real, I want the ugly, I want the beautiful, I want the happy, I want the sad, I want everything—

Cait Gordon: Yes!

Christina Robins: —my characters to have.

Cait Gordon: No, I agree. Oh gosh, I don’t know if I was, this could be 30 years ago, which is weird because I’m only 35 [Christina laughs], but I, when I think was, I think I was roughly about 21-years-old, and I read some writers book about how to be a writer, and they said, “Never make your character one thing.” They’re not always all good and not always all bad, like, people are complex and write that kind of array, you know, with your character.

Christina Robins: I saw somebody put up writing advice: Don’t—and they were doing the hand-clapping, and it was a white man, and I cannot stand when white people misappropriate, you know, sort of Black culture and the hand clapping thing is a Black culture thing. So he said, “Don’t. Have. People. Drink. Coffee. At. Night,” and I was like, “There. Are. People. Who. Work. Night. Shifts.” [Cait laughs] “There. Are. People. Who. Can. Drink. Caffeine.” Like, it’s like, how dare you want everybody to be the same boring person? [laughs]

Cait Gordon: I, I—maybe they can’t cope. I can’t figure it out, personally.

Christina Robins: I just don’t understand why writing advice is always to, like, be boring.

Cait Gordon: I know!

Christina Robins: One of my mentors, Barbara Kyle, she writes historical fiction, Tudor fiction, and I’ve taken workshops with her. She’s in Guelph, Ontario, fantastic woman. Her number-one writing rule: thou shall not bore.

Cait Gordon: Oh yeah!

Christina Robins: So, that’s [laughs] how I approach it, thou shall not bore. You have to have complex, interesting characters, or there’s just no point.

Cait Gordon: So, I think we should say that officially on the In the ’Cosm podcast, we are all now going to adapt the “Thou shalt not bore.”

Christina Robins: The Barbara Kyle rule. [laughs]

Cait Gordon: Let’s make that a rule going forward forever. [Christina laughs] I think that’s brilliant.

Christina Robins: Yeah.

Cait Gordon: Gosh, you know, I’m always a little freaked out how fast these podcasts go. [Christina laughs] And I have to mention it every time so you know, deal with it, I’m mentioning it every time. But just quickly, you know, you mentioned a few authors, you talked about Virginia Woolf and such. Any other authors you’d like to recommend for reading their works?

Christina Robins: Um, well, I would 100% recommend my indie, my indie girl Maria Ann Green. I would recommend Cait Gordon. [said like Kate] [laughs]

Cait Gordon: Cait, but yeah! [said like cat]

Christina Robins: I love your sci-fi, I love it. I love your—it’s just it’s so much fun [Cait says, “Oh, thank you.”]. And let me see, who have—oh, Judith Arnopp, if you’re into a historical fiction. I’ve fallen into her Tudor stuff because I’m—the things I read, I’m such a big nerd. I mostly read like historical fiction, actual like biographies and stuff. And then when I’m actually reading for fun, it’s still historical fiction.

Cait Gordon: I love historical fiction!

Christina Robins: I mean I know, and I’d never write it, because I don’t have that knowledge, but I love I love falling into a book about Anne Boleyn. Another woman who again, was unfairly maligned. I guess even in historical fiction, I go for the women that are treated wrongly. Um, let me think, oh, I should have had like a list of people but yeah, those are those are the ones I’m reading right now: Judith Arnopp and Alison Weir. Also great to go to sleep to if you like Audible.

Cait Gordon: Yeah?

Christina Robins:  They have these wonderful—because they’re British books, they always have these women with these lovely British accents [laughter].

Cait Gordon: Oh, that’s very soothing, right? Why not?

Christina Robins: And Star Wars books. Read Star Wars books. They’re a lot of fun. The Legends books are a lot of fun.

Cait Gordon: Okay! I love asking authors this because then, like, I’m recording it and then I can listen to it and then write down [Christina laughs] If I ever don’t know what to read. I go listen to what my authors say.

Christina Robins: You’d like Claudia Gray. She writes, she wrote a Leia novel called Bloodlines, which actually leads into the how the First Order rises, so Claudia Gray is amazing.

Cait Gordon: Okay, interested, highly interested. [Christina laughs] Very cool. Okay you know what, I’m going to ask you the very last question. I can’t believe it. How did that—what? Okay! [Christina laughs] Anyway, um, so yeah, so this is the, well, it’s the last question of my list and I love asking this because I get to learn new things about people. What’s a fun fact about yourself?

Christina Robins: Um, I’ve been reading Tarot cards for 25 years. Um, probably more than 25 years now, which is weird since I’m only 25. [Cait laughs]

Cait Gordon: You just came out that womb with a deck in your hand.

Christina Robins: I don’t understand, I just came out with a little deck and you know it’s like, “AH, Death card!” Uh oh! [Cait laughs.] But no, I read Tarot cards, I read runes I’m very much—I call myself a witch. I’m very much into energy and using energy in positive ways. And yeah, I guess that’s something interesting about me that doesn’t put other people in trouble [laughter]. But yeah, I love reading Tarot cards, and I don’t charge for it, ever.

Cait Gordon: Oh wow.

Christina Robins: People are like, why don’t you charge for it and I’m like, because I don’t do it for money. I do it because someone needs help.

Cait Gordon: Oh, interesting.

Christina Robins: So I mean, yeah, so most people who come to me are usually like, I know they just need—again, and I think this ties into the whole sex worker thing—they just need someone to listen, and tell them, everything’s gonna be okay.

Cait Gordon: Yeah, for sure.

Christina Robins: That’s what most people need is that reassurance but yeah. So, that’s something I do for fun.

Cait Gordon: I mean especially these days, right? You know, my first guest was Jamieson Wolf. You need to connect with Jamieson Wolf. He loves Tarot cards, he’s got like a bajillionty decks.

Christina Robins: [Laughs] Yeah, I have like seven or eight.

Cait Gordon: I think you can have a good, fun friendship there. Thank you so much, I delighted in talking to you today. Awww, you’re just such a lovely human. I’m just so excited for everything in your life. Thank you so much for being on my little show.

Christina Robins: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Cait Gordon: Folks, you can find Christina’s Entanglements on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats, and you can connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @mouthygurl, that’s m-o-u-t-h-y-g-u-r-l and on Facebook at You can also find the article we discussed on Christina’s author website is, that’s r-o-b-i-n-s. Transcripts for In the ’Cosm are available at That’s c-a-i-t gordon dot com. Thanks for joining us. Take care and stay safe.

(Transcribed by Edited for clarity by Cait Gordon.)

ID: Greyscale headshot of Cait Gordon, closeup, wearing a black shirt

Cait Gordon is a disability advocate who wants everyone to be wise and think of others as we battle COVID-19!

Cait is also the author of humorous space opera novels Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers, and she is the co-editor of the Prix Aurora Award nominated anthology Nothing Without Us. When Cait’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. Her latest new adventure is hosting the In the ’Cosm podcast, which is really an excuse to gush over authors she admires.

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