One of the greatest things about being an author is that I can, through my stories, encourage readers to think about things differently. Maybe even radically differently.
At the most basic, there is this: I write M/M romance. I write YA M/M romance. My goal is to have YA LGBTQ romance mainstreamed into all YA romance, which is certainly a challenge, but quite achievable. You see, I want young adults to think about romance differently. I want them (gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, transgender teens) to see love as love.
Not gay love or lesbian love or het love, but simply love. I dream of the day that a romance is just a romance, without qualifications. That is thinking about romance differently, is it not?
I have written YA and adult novels that encourage readers to think about family in a less traditional way. In fact, most of my novels deal with the concept of a “family by choice.” Brett and Corey, in Beggars and Choosers, come together as family, as they truly have no one else in their corners. In A Package Deal, Tristan and Savannah come to Robby as a “package”; not in the traditional sense of a threesome, as their bond is not sexual. They are bound as a family of choice by shared experiences, total commitment to each other, the building of mutual traditions, and time spent together. One of Out of Hiding’s primary conflicts is the need and willingness to accept others as your family, even at the risk of your heart.
In my YA novels, the flexible concept of family is also evident. In Intervention, Kai belongs to a strong family unit, and Jamie to a dysfunctional one. Kai’s family extends their love to encapsulate Jamie, and that sense of secure belonging allows Jamie to flourish. Not Broken, Just Bent also deals with the concept of family, as each character must recognize that, although their family units are far from traditional, they work, and are valid. Clearly, my goal is for readers to open their hearts and minds to the concept that simple love and commitment are the basis of familial bonds.
Another issue I hope readers will look at with new eyes is the essence of communication. Sometimes speaking directly just doesn’t work to express your love, hurt, anger, frustration or fear. Through music, dance, and art Kai, Dario, and Jamie are able to express emotions that words just can’t touch. Look at self-expression in a new way!
And finally, I hope to encourage readers to open their hearts to non-traditional ways in which love can function, and function with purity and innocence and beauty. This relates closely to the concept introduced in A Package Deal, the emotionally intimate love shared by three people, and a theme that I will continue to explore in future works. At its basis, is the question, “Who makes the rules for love?” Who is the powerful one who gets to say- ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN equals a LOVE RELATIONSHIP?
I say, there is no all-powerful being who cares to use his/her energy to dictate the exact equation of what comprises love. Why can’t three or four people (or whatever number of people) come together with a sense of fidelity, commitment, romance, and innocence, if it works for them? Why is that considered somehow kinky or perverse? If the love is pure and the participants are satisfied, who is to say that it is wrong? I encourage my readers to see these types of non-tradtional love relationships as potentially perfect.
This is a release week for me. The Red Sheet, that comes out on Thursday, February 20th, asks you to see the concept of a miracle as a possibility. A complete overnight personality change? Can it happen? Are you able to open your heart to see things with new eyes?