An MFRW Author Post – and check out the other blogs on the hop!
At the risk of coming across as a cliche, I’m a Jersey Girl. You can take the girl out of Jersey (and drop her off in Nashville, for example) and she’ll still talk big, fast, and loud. I swear creatively and constantly, and I struggle nearly two years into living here, with southern niceties likely as much as they struggle with my speed of speech. I don’t walk away from indelicate subjects.
And my books reflect them. To begin, I already write in the erotic romance genre. My stories have exhibitionism, voyeurism, BDSM, and menage themes. My research history at this moment is rife with articles on historical sex toys. My characters curse and that’s far from their great sin.
But even when I wrote a book where I wasn’t allowed to curse, where I wasn’t allowed so much as one dry kiss (I snuck in damn and hell and a very chaste kiss), there were still certain themes that showed up time and again.
They say you’re not supposed to talk about religion or politics. To read my books, from the most graphic and erotic to the most staid and sweet, you’d know my feelings on both without my ever spelling them out.
My stories focus on agency, on choice, on progress, and on independence in all things. I write young girls who love science and reading and dresses. I write queer characters whose entire character identity does not revolve around their queerness. My heroes and heroines discuss such things as consent and emotional labor and the domestic sphere. And I have, even in my most decorous of books, brought up the subject of religious freedom and its role in American society.
So whether I say the names of the people who stalk the news every night or I do not, it’s clear from the get-go what kind of book you’re holding in your hands. It’s the kind of book that speaks to the nation’s future, that rallies around issues of women’s rights and intersectionality and climate change. It’s the kind of book that says, in no uncertain terms, this is the world we live in and I’m making a stand.
Because those are the kind of books I want to read and those are the kind of books I want to write. My creativity does not exist in a separate world than my political views. I come from a part of the country where progressive values and intersectionality evolve every day. I am currently living in an environment in a time in a country where to not speak out is to stand with the other side. And I simply can’t do it.
Do my stories ever speak to politicians or political action by name? Not usually. But I’ll discuss the sexism and racism within the FBI. I’ll acknowledge the fight for LBGTQIA rights in stories with queer heroes, and I’ll have overt conversations about a woman’s right to choose, female pleasure, and the other issues facing women today. Because whether in love stories or in new articles, those are issues I find important.
Romance is and has always been a political genre. It is a genre that puts women at the forefront of their own stories, that celebrates our choices, inspires us to fight against barriers, encourages female friendships, and demands our partners do better. To be a political romance writer is nothing more or less than to be a romance writer. And that’s something I’ll say with pride.