Today is a big day for me: It is the release day of my first novel with a crossdressing and frequently feminine-presenting character who falls under the trans* umbrella.
As I struggle to deal with our new White House administration, I have grown increasingly concerned about the emotional and physical safety of transgender individuals in our society. As an author, one of my goals is to provide readers with characters like themselves in literature–everyone deserves a chance to read about a character with whom they can identify. But in writing about transgender characters, which is what I have endeavored to do in Scarred and three of my upcoming releases, I also hope to allow cisgendered individuals to “get to know” trans* people through my characters and stories. Scarred features a passionate romance between Vedie Wilson, a gay man whose gender expression shifts from feminine-presenting to masculine-presenting, and Matt North, a pansexual, cisgender man.
I conducted a great deal of research to create the character of Vedie Wilson. What I found particularly challenging to convey was that, where he consistently identifies as male, he often expresses his gender in ways that many would consider feminine. In fact, his feminine gender expression–and his family and friends’ lack of acceptance of it–is the main reason he decides to leave home and make a new life on a remote island off the coast of Florida. Vedie was unsafe in his life up North, having been bullied and beaten in his family’s frequent attempts to change his gender identity and sexual orientation. He hopes that Placida Island will offer him a chance to start his life over and live in anonymous safety.
At times, Vedie expresses what he calls his “soft side” by wearing skirts and dresses, makeup, and perfume. He finds himself drawn to express his soft side when he is relaxing, feeling romantic, or creative. However, when he is working or feeling in some way threatened, which happens a lot in his life, Vedie generally presents as male. His transgender characteristics lie mainly in his gender expression, not in his actual gender identity.
In Matt North, Vedie finds a similarly divided soul. Where Vedie possesses characteristics of male and female that he doesn’t always understand, Matt is both a man and a boy. He is mature and calm at one moment, and then distant and panicked the next. And they relate to one another as complicated human beings, rather than in terms of gender.
I have written several other stories with transgender characters. My Crunchy Life, a YA story of a transgender girl during her transition, has been signed by Harmony Ink Press. My Middle Grade The Princess of Baker Street, the devastating story of a young boy and his neighbor, Joey–neither of whom understand how it can be true that Joey IS a girl–is being considered by several mainstream publishers. And a story which I am still working on, All Boy, is of a young trans man who hides his birth gender and is ultimately discovered and brutally exposed.
I hope you check out Scarred, as it is a deeply moving and at times painful examination of what it is to feel different and isolated, but to want more out of life than solitary confinement.
One more time, here’s the blurb:
Matthew North waited ten years to heal from the devastating wounds inflicted by the man who abducted and abused him as a child. Living reclusively on a tropical island—with no company but his four cats—he merely avoids the lingering pain.
Wearing twisted ropes of mutilated skin on his back, Matt struggles with a profound hindrance—the scars that deaden his soul. However, on the night he meets lively Vedie Wilson, a local restaurant busboy who expresses his gender by wearing lipgloss and eyeliner along with his three-day beard, things change.
Gradually, Vedie and Matt unite in friendship. Through a series of awkward encounters, the pair learns each other’s secrets. Vedie learns that an angelic face can front for a scarred soul. Matthew learns that the line between one’s masculine and feminine sides is blurred. Can they embrace the painful stories behind each other’s scars so they can find everlasting love? Or will surrendered love come to be yet another blemish on their souls?
Make a comment below regarding transgender people in your country or make a comment about Scarred, my new release–it’s cover, blurb, story–and I will enter you into a hand drawn raffle for a $10.00 Amazon gift card that will be conducted sometime today or maybe early tomorrow and provide me with an email.
LOOKING FOR LOTS OF THOUGHTS… Please let me know what you are thinking.