Now that I’m waiting on the last stage of When We Were Crowned (yes, a release announcement is coming SOON!) I’m taking a mini-vacation. Mostly reading, a little plotting, and a lot of playing. So, in this time off, I’ve come to a realization. I will probably write something that will offend you. Yes, YOU, my favorestest of all readers. Although, I promise I’m not doing it to piss you off.
You see, I write to examine the human condition. That means for every topic I show in a negative light, in another book, it will likely be given positive vibes. Take the religious tones in Kiss of Death, as an example. In my lineup of unreleased works, I also have a main character who is a Priest – and a damned good one. Things like sexuality, personal identity, politics, religion, and more will likely come up.
The truth is that I don’t do this to shove my own ideas down people’s throats, but rather to examine how someone else could think that way. Usually, a fictional someone who ends up as the main character, but still. I’ve written about drug addicts, a highly driven woman guilty of her own sexism, a cancer survivor, and monsters. I will write about guy on guy sex, girl on girl, polyamory, monogamy, and asexuality. Faithful or atheistic, I don’t think it makes a person good or bad. It’s just one of so many traits anyone can have. How that blends into the whole is what’s really important.
But somewhere, I will hit YOUR personal pet peeve. Doesn’t matter if that’s because the MC is 40 or 17 (I don’t write younger than that, sorry). If it’s because the plot ends with happiness or sorrow. Something will eventually be one of your personal “nopes”… but I hope you’ll at least give it a chance.
Granted, not everyone will like my work. I get that, and I’m fine with it. Still, for those who do, don’t let what someone else wrote convince you that I’m going to write it the same. If I put a hot topic into a book, it’s because I want to see if there’s a way to bend something bad into something good, or possibly to examine how something good could end up being so bad. I want to give my readers the chance to step out of the boundaries we’ve grown up in, and look at the other side. To open a dialogue, if you will.
No, not because of any moral altruism. Sorry, I’m not that benevolent. I just think that the act of analyzing things in a new way is fun. Yes, I like to THINK about the what ifs, and how the nuances of anything can change our perception. I mean, the iliri are the personification of that. I wrote them to be as far from humanity as possible, and yet still relatable – because I wanted to know if it was even possible to make that happen.
Mostly, though, it’s because we’re not SUPPOSED to talk about these things. The taboo has an appeal that is undeniable, and I’m not the kind of person to refuse it. Between the covers of a book, these examinations are safe and secure, kept somewhere we can walk away if it’s too much. They also let us feel someone else’s struggles for a bit, and forget our own. And isn’t that escapism the whole reason we all love to read?
See, every book I produce starts out with one question: what if? Not something subtle, either. Things like “What if Earth had a mind of its own? How would that affect the life on its surface?” Or “What if legendary creatures are simply evolutionary failures? Or maybe successes?” And then I dial it down. If a vampire was just an evolved human, then what would one girl’s story look like? If the planet has a mind, would s/he have children? And I keep going down until I find the bit that makes me FEEL something.
You see, thinking and feeling go hand in hand. One is not better than the other. It’s like love and sex. Sure, you can have one without the other, but when they’re paired up just right, it’s magic. I want my books to be YOUR magic.
So, forgive me when I finally manage to offend you. It’s not intentional. This is just me trying to think outside the box. Who knows, one day, maybe I’ll even find a story that has never been told before. After all, everyone needs a dream.