Before my review goes up tomorrow, I let's welcome Charlotte Reagan, who is a lovely and insanely talented writer who has been kind enough to do a guest post for my blog. Without any further ado, here is the author herself!
So Nina said that she’d like to hear about what being an Indie LGBT+ author is like, and I thought about that for a long time but the only answer I could come up with seemed to be: I don’t know.
Because sometimes I still feel like none of this is real.
When I was young, I had a one girl mission to Hate Reading and everything about it until the day the first Harry Potter book landed in my lap and I caved. After that, it was book after book; I couldn’t get enough. Then when I was in fifth grade my teacher opened the year with the fact that writing was going to be a part of our everyday curriculum.
I took to it like a fish to water. Suddenly, writing was everything. But the older I got the more important other things became. School, college, a career for the rest of my life. As much as I loved writing, I brushed it off, let it become nothing but a hobby and something to do in my free time.
When I started posting Just Juliet online, people seemed to really like it, and I honestly considered self publishing for awhile. But the deeper I got, the more overwhelmed I became, and once again it got sat aside.
Then I stumbled across Inkitt’s Swoon contest. It definitely wasn’t something I expected to win, but I decided it might be cool so I entered anyway. I knew that I was doing well, but I never imagined nearly well enough to place, so when I got the email requesting a phone call, I thought, “They probably want to tell me that my story was interesting.”
Turns out I was wrong.
I spent the next week expecting to wake up. There was no way this was real. There was no way this was actually happening. Not to me. Not my book. Even as the months passed, and contracts were signed, and edits were made...there was still just no way!
One thing is for sure though...if I am dreaming, I never want to wake up.
But besides just being an author...what is it like to be an LGBT+ author specifically? Again, I don’t really know, because at this point I still feel like someone threw me up into the air and the ground isn’t a place that exists yet...but here’s what I can say.
As someone who identifies as LGBT+ myself (and has been a part of the community for even longer than I’ve had a label), there aren’t enough books out there for us. We’re thirsty, thirsty little things, reaching out for whatever, whenever. Waiting for someone to feature us, talk about us. Where are the stories about lesbian princesses? Gay band members? Bisexual thieves? Transgender wizards? Queer questioning college nerds? Intersex dragon trainers? Asexual mermaids?
They’re out there, of course, but there aren’t enough. So, when I sat down to write, I asked myself specifically what do I want to write...and I knew the answer. I wanted to write about what I’d always wanted to read.
So I started with romance. The typical Boy-Meets-Girl in high school storyline but with one very important twist. And then I did my best to make it my own. To make it authentic, relatable, and yet still enjoyable enough to escape the real world and dive into. I wanted the kind of LGBT novel that isn’t just about the hardships and drama of being something different than the social norm, but about being true to yourself and finding your version of happy.
Hopefully I managed to do that.
Nina also asked if I have any Indie LGBT+ book recommendations, so before I leave I’m going to sign off with that~
Her Name in the Sky by Kelly Quindlen is about a teenage girl who finds herself in love with her best friend. But the pressures of a conservative town and her desire to just be normal might keep her from getting what she really wants.
Pretty much any book by A.M. Snead I recommend for all your adult M/M needs. Lost in Love happens to be my favorite, but she has tons of books to pick from. Expect a real emotional journey from anything she writes.
E.M. Holloway has my favorite werewolf series of all time that includes characters of different sexualities, but the real selling point for me is that the main character is involved in a m/m relationship where his partner is asexual and it’s handled beautifully. It’s called The Sum of it’s Parts and is up to book three, which you can find on Lulu.
Nora Sakavic has a series called All for the Game which is about college sports but is a fantastic read and includes a few gay characters as well as one who is (inferred) demisexual - which is a lesser known label on the asexual spectrum. I’m currently suffering from a major book hangover with this one.
Anyway, that’s all folks! Thanks for your time, and I hope you’re having a great day!-Charlotte Reagan