When I originally planned this post, it was going to come out only a few days before my book did. It was one in a lineup of posts that have now been delayed so that they can ramp up to my new release date on October 3rd. But there’s no better time to talk about my queer characters and my own queerness than the beginning of Pride, so I decided not to postpone this post. I hope you enjoy, and I hope you know no matter how you identify, you are loved. Not just during Pride, not just when you're out and loud, but every day, all the time, just for being you.
Here’s the original post:
The Queer identity can mean lots of different things, and during this month of Pride I’m happy to go into some of the identities you’ll find in my debut novel, The Legionnaire.
I want to make one thing straight (ironic wording as you’ll see), all the main characters in The Legionnaire are queer. Some of them know they are queer and have names for it, some of them know and don’t have names for it, and some of them are still figuring it out. Wherever they are on their paths, they are all members of the LGBT+ community.
This was something that was both super important to me and something that I subconsciously did. Now that seems like quite the juxtaposition, so let me explain. I wanted anyone reading this and going through their own exploration to see a variety of paths, and see the different ways those identities do or do not play in to their stories.
I wanted a character like me, who didn’t figure things out until later. Because I didn’t come to terms with my queerness until I was like 20. When you have a crush on one guy for like half of your life, sometimes figuring out things like this gets a little murky. I didn’t realize that I was demisexual until after we had broken up, and I realized how much the idea of dating someone meant I had to learn and redefine what my boundaries were, and what I was comfortable with when interacting with others.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a demisexual person is someone who doesn’t experience immediate sexual attraction. For me, it means I need a mental and emotional connection to a partner before I start to feel that kind of attraction for them. It’s not a matter of it being date #3 (or whatever number of dates people think gets them a ticket inside your pants) but of knowing and being comfortable with my partner.
Just so we’re clear, whenever you decide to be intimate with a partner is up to you, and all the power to any consenting adults living their own truths.
For my characters, and for Saiden especially who doesn’t understand her own demisexuality yet, I wanted them to have the space to be with and to love whomever they choose, so that my readers could see that they can do the same.
There isn’t a lot of romance in The Legionnaire, that comes later for most of my characters, but there’s still evidence of their queerness woven into the story. I wanted a world where most of them didn’t have any worries about being their authentic self, whether that be queer or non-binary like one of my minor characters. Loralei is the only one who deals with stigma, but it has more to do with her station than who she loves.
I think if we’re creating a fantasy, we get the power to create a world that can be better than ours, so I didn’t want their queerness to be a conflict at any point in the story. I have always said I wanted to write stories to make a difference, even a small one in other people’s lives. I don’t know if this story will do that, but if even one person can see this and feel comfort, then I did something right.
If you want to read this queer (but not about queer struggle) novel, you can preorder it now anywhere books are sold. BUT, you’ll get the best deal if you preorder through my local indie Riverbend Bookshop. And if you do decide to read it, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving my chaotic babies a chance.