First, the update: I have officially settled in to write book 3 in the Inthya series, titled The Queen of Rhodia. As I mentioned before, I’ve gone back on my word about not writing another Adale&Esofi-centric story. Book 3 will go back to alternating chapters from their point of view, and explore their married life together, their differing perspectives on parenthood, and trying to forge an alliance with the dragons that are living off their northeastern coast all while Esofi’s mother does her best to make their lives miserable. I am hoping it will be released in the spring of 2019.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I want to talk about some thoughts I have on my own writing.
Some people like to read stories where LGBTQIA+ characters struggle and overcome a bigoted society, drawing strength from one another and building families of choice. And I think it’s great that we’re finally seeing more stories like that, instead of ones that end with one or both halves of the couple dying and/or miserable.
But I’ve seen less that’s straight-up fairy tale wish fulfillment, where LGBTQIA+ characters aren’t just awkwardly tolerated, they’re seen as part of the natural order. I know stories like that do exist, you don’t need to reply with BUT WHAT ABOUT (INSERT TITLE HERE)??? They exist, they’re just not as common. They’re also the sort of stories that would have helped me when I was younger. And most importantly, they’re what makes me happy right now.
When I wrote my first draft of The Queen of Ieflaria, I didn’t write it for an audience. I wrote it for 16-year-old me, miserable and confused and not understanding why I was so discontented when the pretty girl married the handsome boy at the end of every story.
I do not reject the books I read growing up. I love those books. They made me who I am. But if one—just ONE—of those handsome boys had been a pretty girl, my world would have been forever changed and it might not have taken me until college to admit I was gay.
I realize that there are always going to be people who tell me that a fairy-tale romance where a princess marries another princess and they rule a kingdom together isn’t just unrealistic, it’s impossible from an anthropological standpoint. Even when I am the one controlling the anthropology, and backing it up with boatloads of magic to iron out any issues that would arise in our own world. My argument is that there’s really no way to prove or disprove it one way or another. So why not have a little bit of fun? If a reader can’t suspend their disbelief, that’s okay with me—there’s plenty of other stuff to read. Not every book is going to appeal to every person! But for the people it does appeal to, it just might make all the difference. And it seems a bit petty to take that away from people who might need it.