Hello, All! Welcome to my writer’s cave! Sometimes I wish I had an actual cave to retreat to, far away from the realities of life in the United States since the November election. And sometimes I wish I could still write contemporary LGBTQ romances that carry no mention of the steady assaults on the freedoms and dignities of anyone in our country not happening to be a wealthy white male who is also cisgender and heterosexual.
The times in my country are decidedly not “normal.” I don’t even want to get started about the person that currently inhabits the White House. He cares nothing about human dignity and he and his cronies are busy pushing policies that are racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and xenophobic. All of us who are not “like him” have to find a way to live in this environment. And to resist and push back against this administration. Here is the word RESIST in ASL:
[I don’t know the original source for this gif. I found it on Twitter and love it.]
So how do I write contemporary LGBTQ romances now? This is a dilemma. We read (and write) romance to escape life’s harshness, to get the happy endings that make us feel better. Why mix “politics” into romance? For me, writing queer romance has always felt like a political act—an act of taking a stand about the legitimacy of love being love, in whatever form it takes. And because I write contemporaries, my stories necessarily reflect the climate of the times.
I’ve found that since November 2016, I can’t NOT make some mention of what’s happening in our country. My upcoming novel, In Over Our Heads, references the election and the impact on transgender youth. And a holiday story I’ve submitted for the Dreamspinner Anthology goes even further, with one of the MCs and his housemates attending resistance rallies, and the other MC going to work for the ACLU. I made a great happy ending epilogue in which the Democrats win back both the U.S. House and the Senate in 2018!
I’d love to hear your thoughts. As a reader (and/or writer) of romance, what do you think about romance that includes social issues, particularly in the turbulent times of 2017? Would you rather have romances that are pure escapism (like maybe the characters live on a desert island)? I will give a copy of my latest ebook, All the Way to Shore, to one commenter.
Speaking of All the Way to Shore, here is a wonderful review it recently received.
Thanks, all, and I’ll see you next month with more tales from the writing cave.
After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.
CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.