But when it came down to my own personal story that I liked most I had to pick Socks which is strange because that story is only five thousand words long but Socks was such an absolute delight to write that I instantly loved them.
If you haven't read Socks, and the tie in story Alex, they can both be found in the Project Fierce Chicago Charity Anthology through Less Than Three Press. When I started Alex and then wrote Socks I knew I wanted to branch out beyond two men or two women falling in love. I'd dabbled a bit in gender but Socks stuck with me and I knew they had to have a story. They are getting their own novel next year though right now I have no idea what it will be about other than Socks demanding more page time.
And that's how it often begins with me. I don't think I'm the only crazy author type that sits there and has conversations with their characters. I don't know that a character is going to be gender fluid, agender, or asexual when I first write them. Not usually anyway. Sometimes it just happens where I'm writing and I get to a point in the story where the character just says "No, I'm not doing that." Of course, as the author, I can make a character do something but then it often feels flat because really characters are invented as parts of ourselves and each one is a unique expression of something inside of us and I, and I'm sure others, can tell when something simply isn't working.
When I first announced that I was writing an agender character I received a lot of positivity. The same thing happened when I started talking about my asexual novel which is contracted through Dreamspinner Press and is called Of Monsters and Men. It's the sequel to Rescuing Jack and deals with a new couple.
But the thing is it shouldn't be hard to find an agender character or an asexual one. I love that books are becoming more diverse and that more authors are interesting in trying their hands at writing queer characters. That needs to happen. But the new frontier doesn't stop at two cute white boys falling in love.
There is so much more going on in the world and so many more people that need to find themselves written as main characters in books that I hope more authors figure out that these characters are amazing to write and they can be great main characters. They need honest, researched expression in books so that when someone that is gender fluid opens up that book they can see themselves in it instead of just a fake mirror like interpretation of what it means to be them.
I'm not saying that every book needs to push boundaries but I am saying that there's more to the world of GLBT fiction than simply two men falling in love. I read something yesterday on Tumblr that I absolutely loved and it was talking about lesbian relationships and how you can have a lesbian relationship where everyone involved has a penis because a trans woman that identifies as a lesbian is still a lesbian. Anatomy doesn't define that and we shouldn't be labeling our characters and asking them to fit into boxes for us.
If you enjoy writing gay romance and you find that all your characters are in their thirties and they're white and that works for you then that's fantastic. You're writing and we need more queer characters out there. I love you for that.
But if you feel like maybe trying to spread your wings just a little and aren't afraid of a little research to get something right, then please consider writing a person of color. Or someone that doesn't fit into the gender box. People are wonderful and fascinating and I love writing about them.
And if you're a reader and you want more diverse books please ask for them. Let us authors know what you'd like to see. I bet someone out there has a plot bunny that they're sitting on that might just be what you want to read but they aren't writing it because they don't think anyone will want to read it. We write for ourselves but we also write for you, the readers, and you have the ultimate voice because you buy our books and you make sure that we get on those bookstore shelves and that people find out about us. You have so much power to change the face of publishing right now. Please use it to get what you want. We're here, we're listening. I promise.
Thank you for reading this long and generally rambling piece. I hope it made some sense. Happy reading. Big hugs for you all.