Friday, August 24, 2012

Follow the Rainbow Hop: GLBTQ Writing Katey-style


Today marks the start of Rainbow Book Review's inaugural blog hop, yay! Thanks very much to Lena Grey and Serena Yates of RBR for inviting authors and publishers to help celebrate their shiny new site. It's beautiful.

The topic for the hop is 'What Writing GLBTQ Literature Means to Me'. It's a topic that's at once so complicated and so obvious that I rarely say much about it, but I should, so I'm happy for the occasion. Please be warned, this will be a really personal post and way TMI, but that's the kind of question they asked, innit?

I was a bit of a late bloomer, as they say. I never had the interest in boys that my friends did--oh, I had pictures of rock stars on my walls, but that was as near as I ever really wanted to get--and when I dated someone, it was because, well, they asked, and they seem okay, so... I guess I should? (Someone get teenage me one of those 'I need feminism because...' signs, please.) I thought people were beautiful but had no interest in touching them, or, when I got a little older, I enjoyed and wanted sex for and of itself, but was never all that happy with a partner--or random fucking around. I was impatient with love stories because, I mean, seriously, what a load of crap. Blow some shit up, entertain me, none of these lies about true love, thanks.

Then in my last year of undergrad, something clicked into place, and I realized my lack of enthusiasm was because I hadn't been thinking about love and sex and even myself in a way that was at all natural to me--I'd been thinking about it how I thought I was supposed to think about it. No wonder I couldn't muster any real interest--it was being shoved into some weird little box for no good reason.

Not to sound melodramatic, because it really wasn't, but the realization that my brain is queer changed everything. Understanding and acknowledging how I worked, and that my way is just as valid as anyone else's, freed me to make myself, and future partners, so much happier.

In retrospect, I can see how perfectly obvious it is, and so can the people who were close to me growing up.  I also had plenty of friends who identified all over the spectrum once I went off to college, but-- Okay, I'm a super-proud lit nerd, and fiction is what gets to me the hardest and fastest. I can see the pattern of characters that captured my heart, of love stories that spoke to me, even the things my friends and I made up to amuse ourselves as kids. I often think that if I'd had more stories with queerbrain protags of all shapes, sizes, manners, genders (or lack thereof), and orientations, I might've come to that freeing realization a lot earlier. That's part of why visibility is such an important thing to me personally now. It's amazing how things have changed in just a few decades, and what we have access to now is so much more inclusive than what we had when I was in high school in the 90s--and bless the hardworking pioneers who've sacrificed so much to get us to this point.

Thing is, it can never be enough. Not until all viewpoints are visible, represented, part and recognized parcel of society's intellectual fabric--and not in a way that others and exoticizes. Yeah, I have QUILTBAG-identifying protags. And yeah, they love and fight and hate and fuck--or not--by the same basic human rules as het-norm protags. Because that's for real. So basically, I'm writing the stories I was making up for myself back then, the stories I wish I'd had, the stories that will always ring true to me. Stories where brains work either like mine, or in a way I recognize, that feels natural to me, that feels honest.

And yeah, my honesty isn't even close to heteronormative. Clearly. But I still think, hope, and know that it's accessible to every human, regardless of their own identity. That's the point.

As a side note: I have since discovered that there is such a thing as love and happily ever after. And that, my friends, is why I came back to romance with a vengeance, once I knew myself. Because it's honest, after all.





After that absurd little confession, I think it's appropriate to give away an e-copy of By the River--which takes place in my hometown (if renamed). Might explain a few things you never wanted to know, right? You can check out the details on the book here, if you're interested. All you have to do is leave a comment  on this post (please include your email if it's not listed in your profile), and I'll let random.org pick a winner on the 27th, after the hop is over.

Don't for get to hit up the other blog hop posts, including the main one, for more opinions, thoughts, and giveaways. Oh, and also, the last day of the hop (the 26th) is the last day of the Equilibrium Birthday Giveaway, so check that out too and maybe score a print Equilibrium/Riot Boy copy while you're here.

37 comments:

diannakay said...

Thanks for your interesting article. By The River looks good and I would love to read it. I've read all your others and really enjoyed them.

Alexa said...

Katey, thanks for sharing! And yes yes yes to everything you said.

Zoe Ride said...

Agreed to all you say, and I would love to 'discover' your books thank you.
Probodie@blueyonder.co.uk

Andrea said...

Please count me in.

laurie said...

katey--thanks for sharing. i have picked up by the river and ADORED the book!

parisfan_ca@yahoo.com

KimberlyFDR said...

I always love these blogs hops, getting to know new-to-me authors and a deeper understanding of my favorites. Thank you.

kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I think m/m is a great way to show the range of male (and human!) experience.

vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

Madison Parker said...

Hi, Katey. Thanks for joining the hop! I'd love to enter your drawing.
madisonparklove@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

thank for participating in this blog hop! please count me in for the draw.

lohahmooi(@)hotmail(.)com

Kezia said...

Thanks for sharing your stories, I'm always super enthused to discover new-to-me authors. I look forward to reading your work ;)

kezia.rawr@gmail.com

Erica Pike said...

Thanks for sharing, Katey ^.^

I'd love for a chance to win.

Erica
eripike at gmail dot com

bookgeek said...

By the river looks like a good read.

Ruth

Ruth_junk(at)yahoo(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Hi Katey. Thanks for your post. I've read good reviews about The River so thanks for the chance to win!

Suze
Littlesuze at hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your post - I just purchased Equilibrium and can't wait to read it. Thanks for writing what I love to read!
Cinders1964@hotmail.com

booklover0226 said...

Hi, Katey.

That was a really great post; it was an interesting read.

Thanks,
Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Katey, I have to say I lovelovelove your writing.
The books are a joy from the covers to the last page :)
I just bought 'The Dangers of Fairy Compacts' and I'd love a chance to win 'By the River', which I've seen reviewed very favourably and which sounds great.

Sue
corieltauviqueen at yahoo dot co dot uk

Katey said...

Thank you so much for stopping by on the hop, y'all. Wasn't at all sure that post would make sense, but thanks for at least humoring me--you're the best.

@Laurie, wow, thanks a million. <3 (If it picks your name you can have one of the other books. :D)

@Sue, so I'm totally blushing now. Gah. Thank you so much.

A.M. Burns said...

Katey,
great post, thanks for taking part in the blog hop.
andy@amburns.com

Cornelia said...

Thanks for the post and hop.
cvsimpkins@msn.com

gigi said...

Loved your post. Thanks for participating in the Hop. 'By the River' sounds very interesting.

gisu29(at)yahoo(dot)com

Yvette said...

Thank you for the wonderful post. I have read By the River and thought it was a great book. I loved the depth of character.
Yvette
yratpatrol@aol.com

rwoods said...

QUILTBAG - I can't with that! And it's because that term is playing havoc with my imagination. I might be getting punchy, reading so many blogs.But It's a good time!

Kaylyn D. said...

I bet you appreciated that epiphany. Thank you for sharing your story.
kaylyndavis1986@yahoo.com

Diane A said...

I have all your books on my to read pile - I'm thinking By the River will be first, although the Superpowers series will be a close second!
Thanks for sharing your story, and the reason I got hooked on reading LGBTQ books was due to the variety of character types and stories that completely drew me in emotionally, which was not happening with the other fiction I had been reading!

This has been a very interesting hop reading everyone's stories, thanks for participating!

diall(at)shaw(dot)com

Juliana said...

Thanks so much for participating in this hop! As a late bloomer myself (lots of girls looking for Prince Charming can be late bloomers, right?) and an Art History major I can understand many thing you talk about in your post and elsewhere on the site!
OceanAkers @ aol.com

sarah-madison said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us--I think visibility is so very important and you've clearly illustrated here.

For a large chunk of my life I didn't have a label for what I was--other than 'abnormal'. Now I can look back on that time and know what I was--and why I was that way--all because of reading the shared life experiences of others.

I think there would have been a lot less anxiety in my part if I'd had some 'visibility' back then.

ShirleyAnn said...

Hi
I enjoyed reading your post. I've read many of your books they are rather unique and wonderful.

Please enter me for the Contest

ShirleyAnn@speakman40.freeserv.co.uk

Lilly Jones said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences!

Lillywriting@gmail.com

SusieQ_too said...

Please count me in and thank you for your honest & insightful post!
seritzko AT verizon DOT net

Diane A said...

So, I posted yesterday, and somewhere along the way, realized I had typed my email wrong so I'm now going through all the blogs again to correct that!

diall(at)shaw(dot)ca is the correct email....good thing it's still the weekend and I can only half function, hey?!?!

Sarah said...

I love that cover its so pretty :-D

Great post Katey

Sarah S

Sarahs7836(at)gmail(dot)com

K-lee Klein said...

Thanks for sharing a great post, Katey. Happy hopping.
Hugs
K-lee Klein

kleemoon66 at gmail dot com

http://chaosinthemoonlight.blogspot.ca/2012/08/rainbow-book-reviews-blog-hop-august-24.html

bn100 said...

Very nice post.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

H.B. Pattskyn said...

Great post, thanks for taking part. I would be more witty, but it's past my bedtime ;-) (Don't worry, I'm an adult...which is *why* it's past my bedtime, somehow I don't have the energy to stay up all night any more!)

~Helen

Emily said...

I’m curious. You said you write QUILTBAG protags. Have you written any asexual characters who find love? Cause as an asexual person, I'd love to read a story where the character was actually asexual the entire book. Most people don't understand what asexuality really is and I'd love to see an asexual character that could show people what it really is. It would be awesome! :)

tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

wulf said...

Very nice post. I'm enjoying all the different answers everyone is giving to the same question. Thanks for participating :)

penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

Katey said...

Wow, thanks so much, everyone, for dropping in!

@Yvette--gah, so sweet. Thank you, and I'm glad it worked for you.

@rwoods--it's a totally giggle-inducing acronym, right? S'okay, inclusion can be fun ;)

@Diane--yes, that, totally. We don't need books to be about us to find them interesting and touching, and sometimes it can be even more touching to get that perspective. So awesome.

@Juliana--omg, we're totally braintwins! Yay!

@sarah-madison--man, right? How much anxiety, how much drama could be avoided just by a little visibility? I feel you. *fist bump*

@ShirleyAnn--wow, thanks! So kind of you to stop by and say so, too. Means a lot <3

@K-Lee--Huuuuuuuuuuuuugs.

@Helen--I feel you. It's been a long weekend. Good, but oh man. LONG.

@Emily--Not in anything published yet, but I am working on an asexual biromantic character EVEN NOW, so hopefully in the very, very near future. I've wanted to do it for ages, and the more I unravel the character, the more I just get SO involved. Fingers crossed for me, please!

<3 for everyone, and yay, almost time to pick the winner.