I didn’t actually plan to release my first novel during Pride month. It just all kind of lined up that way.
I remember, when I was a kid, I would spend hours scouring the shelves of the book store (conveniently located near the grocery store in which my mom shopped) for the same thing: any kind of book that featured two women as the main characters. Being closeted at the time, I obviously was telling myself internally that this was just me taking an interest in feminist role models and strong female bonds but I think we all know that, deep down, I was hoping the strong feminist bonds would lead to strong feminist kissing.
I rarely found those little nuggets of gold and, when I did, the moments were fleeting and subtextual or written in simply to add intrigue to a story that was never about gay girls in the first place.
Then I moved to a bigger city with more diversity and a little gay book store that had at least a full section of books that held what I was looking for: me reflected in the characters.
Representation isn’t a word that crops up much in the minds of those who are represented all the time. Any person within a minority can tell you that. I love the straight characters that have settled into my heart. Baby and Johnny, Christian and Satine, Sam and Molly… Apparently Patrick Swayze and anyone. Being gay never stopped me from loving straight people. It just would have been nice to see that it was possible for someone like me to dance with their far cooler partner, sing love songs to their lady and make out with pottery all over the place.
So, when my dad asked me what my first book was about, I said ‘two girls falling in love'. Then he asked what the next book was going to be about and I said ‘two girls falling in love in a different setting’. To which he chuckled and questioned whether or not I was only going to write about lesbians.
The answer was yes.
It’s always going to be yes.
I’m writing the books I didn’t get to read as a kid and, sometimes, as an adult. I’m Proud to write stories that reflect who I am and who so many other girls are. My measure of success isn’t going to be money, I have no delusions that I’m going to make much of it. I will feel successful if ever I receive word from some girl, in a small town, who says she felt like her story was being told. Like she wanted to live in my words.
Hopefully the stories I tell will be accessible to everyone. I certainly try to write them that way.
But, make no mistake, they’re pretty much always going to be about those women I was searching for in the bookstore on grocery day.
The Crossing of Bridges is coming out on June 6th, ladies and gents. It would mean the world to me if you gave it a chance no matter who you are.
Happy Pride, everyone!