I’m delighted to be with you today! After all what could be better than talking books and hot guys—plural? Goodness, knows, it’s more fun than reading a newspaper these days. We’re all dealing with arguably the most bizarre presidential campaign in our history. Then there’s the tragedy of the Pulse nightclub shooting to wrap our hearts and minds around. We’re bombarded with daily reports of mothers shooting their daughters, fathers shooting their wives and kids, police shooting everyone apparently, and terrorists bombing indiscriminately.
And then other horrifying statistics assault us—one in eight transgender women of color will be murdered, and all lawmakers can do is argue over where they should pee. Forty percent of teens who identify as LGBTQ+ will attempt suicide. Over a million-and-a-half homeless teens are LGBTQ+, and our nation has only a few thousand beds in shelters for them. A scant year ago, the gay community was celebrating its newfound right to marry, and now the community’s focusing on just staying alive.
It’s enough to make a person stand up and say, “What the F—?”
Enter my silly little books. I’m the first to admit that Ace in the Hole is a fluff piece. It’s light and snarky and is based on an inherently silly premise. But, darlings, that’s exactly the point. Into a world with so much horror and misery, I felt that some smiles and lightness were in order. Yes, people are suffering and dying in the LGBTQ+ community on a daily basis, and my heart bleeds at each loss. I yearn for the day when this madness stops and every human being can simply love who and how they will, without fear and without judgment.
It is from this place of pain that I reach for a story that will be a pure escape from reality. It is through tears that I reach for laughter. It’s in defiance of bigotry and hateful words that I tell a story of love and hope. It’s not about writing the next great American novel chock full of gravitas. Goodness knows, there are plenty of marvelous writers giving us those stories.
My goal is to give readers the frosting on the cupcake with this story. Because let’s face it—what’s a cupcake without frosting but a tiny, angry cake wrapped in paper?
Sure, I’m capable of writing deep, intense, nail-biting stories. I’ve written a bunch of those, in fact, and I will undoubtedly write more of them. But to be honest, I get enough of those stories right now simply by reading my social media feed or the newspaper.
If the commercial publishing industry is going to tell the entire spectrum of LGBTQ+ stories, not only do we need stories of adversity, tragedy, tenderness and triumph, but we also need the fluff. The fairy tales. The archetypal boy meets boy or girl-meets-girl or some other combination altogether, they fall in love, overcome obstacles, and get the one they love in the end. (No pun intended.) We need the ridiculous, effervescent, smile-inducing stories. The quick beach reads that are pure escape from reality and serve up a smarmy happily-ever-after. The stories that make us imagine lovers and love stories better than anything we could envisage on our own. Stories that inspire us to dream bigger, happier, and more improbably.
So I say proudly, here’s to the fluff!
I have a great plan for you and me today: let’s slather up with some sunblock, stretch out beside our nearest actual or virtual body of water, serve ourselves a cold adult beverage, and just breathe for a while. Once we’re nice and relaxed and ready to extend our escape from reality for a few fun-filled hours, let’s find ourselves a good love story to indulge in, preferably one with hot guys. Plural.
Happy summer and happy reading!
Ava Drake Bio:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Ava Drake, grew up in the heart of the rural Midwest, but beat a hasty retreat to the big city and bright lights as fast as humanly possible. Armed with a pilot’s license, fluency in several languages, and a large dose of daring, she took off to travel the world.
She flew everything from single-seat private airplanes to supersonic jets and the western world’s largest airplane, the mighty C-5 Galaxy. In her adventures, she visited forty-two countries on five continents, was detained by the KGB and East German secret police, got shot at, flew in the first Gulf War, met her dashingly handsome husband, and amassed a lifetime’s worth of war stories. Along the way, she engaged in a little light espionage and met more than her share of dark, dangerous, and good-looking men.
Travel weary at last, she came home and settled down to the business of writing stories of romance and adventure, which may or may not be autobiographical. Winner of a Golden Heart and Holt Medallion for Romantic Suspense, Ava is a five-time finalist and two-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award for Romance Fiction. She’s also a two-time winner of RT Book Review’s Best Harlequin Romantic Suspense Novel of the Year, and is a Romantic Times Lifetime Career Achievement nominee.
Ava Drake Social Media Links:
Blurb from Ace in the Hole: