Thank you to the organizing team for allowing us authors to be showcased on their blog. Here are my answers to three of the questions we were asked to choose from:
• What did you enjoy most out of UK Meet 2016?
As with all my conventions, it’s meeting with friends, readers and authors alike. It’s this weird amalgamation of people from all walks of life who meet for a few days and you have this odd sense of familiarity, of a family really.
The UK Meet stands out among other events for a couple of reasons: a) the organizers are so incredibly personable and friendly, and they have created a space that literally feels like a trip to the local pub (a metaphor I know only my English friends may truly be able to understand.) b) the size of the event and the location: smallish, cozy venues and a crowd size which allows you to gauge the entire event within hours. For me, those are the two hallmarks of the UK Meet, and I for one never doubted going back. I can’t wait to see Bristol again.
• What are you most looking forward to at UK Meet 2018?
I think the answer to that lies in the above but also seeing some of the people again that I haven’t seen for a good two years. With the two-year break, and with the economy not allowing everybody to attend all the available events, it’s been a while since I’ve seen some of the amazing people the UK Meet attracts. To see them again is going to be a highlight for me.
But I’d be remiss, as an author if I didn’t mention that I’m also looking forward to meeting new readers and helping them discover some of my works. Come September I’ll have at least four new titles with me that I did not in 2016.
• How did you first discover your genre?
I’m writing gay fiction, and since the code word here is “gay” since pretty much all authors of fiction write “fiction”. Not that is is a good word really, as it’s as broad as calling a stream “water”. While technically not incorrect, so is an ocean, or a lake, even one of Peppa Pig’s muddy puddles (my son loves that sow, sorry for the analogy.)
But yeah, I guess I’m stuck with “gay fiction” because I do write about lakes, and oceans, and puddles, having dipped my toes (nice one, eh?) into both short stories, Sci-Fi and Erotica, but my focus is primarily contemporary fiction. I’d have to say that I discovered the genre pretty much the moment I came out. It’s sorta connected to us gays. Because you grow up reading so much straight fiction, from Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter to Twilight, Don Quixote, Romeo & Juliet or Catcher in the Rye, that you wonder if there are any books at all, any, that describes you. And the answer when I grew up was pretty much “no”. It took me a very long time to find any books, and when I did find them, they were all doom and gloom and just horrible, as the “gay” always gets to die in the end, a horrible, (deserved?) and painful death.
Therefore, when I began to write, I figured it was a given that I’d write gay fiction because I wanted to provide young LGBT people growing up with stories I didn’t get to read when I was young. I do get that question every now and then: but why gay? It’s pretty simple because no one else will. Case in point: Professor Dumbledore. While I think it’s great that he’s suddenly gay in his grave, and I don’t doubt the author’s good intentions, but it’s also kind of typical, because only if you’ve actually heard about that specific interview with her would you know that she considered him gay. Mind you, 95% of readers most likely haven’t, so to them, Dumbledore is still as straight as a fiddle, and thus no good to any gay (pre-)teen anywhere. Role models must be out and proud if they’re to do any good, whether they’re gay, lesbian, trans or any other color of the rainbow.
So, until the het majority of authors out there decide to include out and proud rainbow characters in their regular work, I’ll keep writing gay fiction.