Fact and fiction

So I’ll just start, shall I?

As a straight woman who writes gay male romance stories, part of my daily routine involves checking out any stories on the gay rights front (also, as a human being on this planet, I like to celebrate when my fellow humans are slowly accorded equal rights). Lately, there’s been a lot to follow – state after state and country after country have been stepping up to legalize gay marriage. A professional basketball player comes out and most of the world says, “Hey, good for you! So, what’s this about a team called the Wizards? When did that happen now?”

Every one of these developments thrills and warms my heart because I much prefer not to live in a world where the loudest and most powerful voices are also the most hateful, which has been the case for far too long. At this stage, I think it’s fair to say that those in power are more afflicted with a case of intractable ignorance instead of pure hate, so, you know, progress! But these events also directly affect all the stories I have in development. When I started writing Good Bones, gay marriage was legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa (somewhat incongruously for my Midwest). Now, as I’m near to wrapping up that novel, it’s legal in something like 12 states with more on the way. This meant certain lines in my manuscript could or should be altered, simply to avoid being hopelessly outdated. Though I’m a little worried that some of my overall themes will become outdated before the first reader can get to page one – and we’re talking about ebooks here, not the kind that takes paper and ink and time to print.

Honestly, I think legal gay marriage will be a long time coming for my little corner of the Midwest, which is frustrating and wrong, but also somewhat useful for my fiction. You see, even as I’m getting ready to say goodbye to Good Bones, I’m already thinking about a sequel – mostly about the main character’s best friend, but I want to dip into the happy coupledom of Ace and Zane. Maybe one of them becomes a gay rights activist, which isn’t the easiest job in a heavily conservative state. What happens after happily ever after if one of them is more into activism than the other?

For the sake of story anyway, it’s good to have something to fight against.

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