I've been contemplating this blog post for a while, Gentle Reader. Generally, I try to avoid matters personal or political online, but a review of Changeless finally convinced me I should say something on the subject. You are hereby warned that if you are of a conservative inclination you may find the following uncomfortable. It is also, I am sad to say, serious. I promise a return to my normal fripperies next entry.
Here's the passage:
I was also incredibly pleased with how delightfully gay the subplots of this book were. Madame Lefoux is a fantastic addition to the main cast, and Alexia's naiveté as Lefoux flirts with her is fantastic. It's not just Lefoux, though: Angelique, Countess Nadasdy, and both Alexia and Lefoux's fathers are outed as well (they were dallying with each other, which makes Lefoux flirtation that much more fantastic). Add in Akeldama and Biffy, and a couple of hints about Woolsey's Beta, and it's possibly the gayest mainstream book I've read in a while.
~ The Librarian's Bookshelf
I grew up in-and-around San Francisco in the 1980s immersed in the dieing threads of the Beat Generation. This should tell you many things, but relevant to this post are the following two points. First: All the stable relationships I observed in my youth were gay men. These relationships were, to my innocent eyes, incredibly romantic, artistic, loving, and enriching both to the couple in question and the world they inhabited. Aside from myself, all my little friends were the property of neurotic single mothers. (Yes, I intend the use of the word "property.") You can imagine this gave me a rather interesting outlook on romance. The second thing, of course, is that these wonderful relationships all buckled under the weight of three little letters.
So far as my books are concerned, there is another balance to this equation, which is the Victorian world itself. The England of 1870 was a morally conservative, anti-hedonistic, ultra-religious place full of individuals who valued duty above all else, and regarded anything that smacked of fun as suspicious. This comes off to most Americans as, frankly, gloomy.
Because I have the luxury of writing alt-history, I injected the comedy back into Victorian England through the vehicle of immortality combined with my childhood memories. This seems logical to me. After all, if you live for hundreds of years, no matter how straight your inclinations initially, you are likely to get, well, bored and experimental as the decades roll by. And I warn you all now, this probably goes both directions. Don't settle Lord Akeldama too firmly on the Kinsey scale, for there may well have been a young lady or two in his past.
The vampires and werewolves in my books can get away with this, of course, because they are supernatural creatures. Church and moral law has no baring on them for Victorians perceive them as outside the natural order. Ironically, this allows them the power to be even more extravagant and trend setting. It is no accident that excess soul is linked to creativity in my universe, and that my immortals are forced by procreative necessity to become, basically, patrons of the arts. My Victorian world emphasizes the split between those of a theatrical inclination and the rest of society, but also the strange power that the vampires in particular have over the aesthetic mindset of the ton. This is not so very far-fetched. Throughout history is it the disenfranchised who not only bring about social change, but underwrite society's most dearly beloved frivolities: music, sculpture, fashion, architecture, dance, or comedic literature.
Sorry to get a tad academic, but I guess what I am trying to say is the following. There are queer characters in my books because there are queer people in my life, always have been, so it would not be my universe without them. They are as fallible, flawed, and as changeable as any other characters. There are also queer characters in my books because they correlate to the most dynamic part of any society, the part that brings about wonder.
Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Your Tisane of Smart:
The Tomb of Two "Brothers" Because the Egyptian goons will come in and deny your permit or shut down your site few Egyptologists will talk about this tomb publicly. But I worked for years inside the museum and archaeological world and I can tell you there is very little contention outside of Islamic countries that this is, in fact, the tomb of a gay couple.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
All about writing gay characters.
Michelle has some very thoughtful things to say including, "Even though it may be satirical, Soulless is not without its serious messages. Tolerance and the dangers of science come to the fore as the story proceeds along its path. Good and evil are not easily discerned as "monsters" protect the Crown, fops come to the rescue, and (heaven forbid!) women hold positions of power."
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless.
In which I am called a "Naughty Little Minx": "What’s not to love about this book? There’s a murder mystery. Were-less Scottish werewolves. An attempted poisoning. A tumble off the side of a dirigible. More mysterious vampire politics. A shockingly brazen new friend for Alexia – a female milliner who scandalously goes about in trousers!"
Out September 1, 2010! Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first.
Super Secret Project H: Time to start writing the beast.
Super Secret Project F: Sent to agent.
CAKE in Space: Trunked.
See table of contents here.
Short story turned in. Book available for preorder.
Quote of the Day:
"Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law."
~ Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, A.D. 524