Monday, September 19, 2016

Warning: Spoilers and other dangers in The WAG and The Scoundrel #BiWeek #amwriting

This coming Thursday (22nd September, 2016) is release day for my novel, The WAG and The Scoundrel. It's a nerve-racking time. Will readers like it? Will they love it? Or will they hate it? Worse still, will they give it a big fat indifferent 'meh'?

I've been writing novels for nearly twenty years, and that old chestnut 'you can't please everyone' is one I (mostly) accept. My books aren't for everyone, but it doesn't make negative reviews sting any less.

But anyway, that's not what this post is about. Or it is, a little bit.

What I'm going to attempt to do here is provide content warnings (for potential triggers), spoiler warnings and a general note about inclusivity in LGBTQ fiction so that readers do not go into The WAG and The Scoundrel entirely unknowing of what lies ahead. However, this will be sketchy information at best, because if I spell it out, it'll spoil the story!

Content Warnings
These are some of the key themes that may cause trouble for some readers:
  • Bereavement - including death of a partner (prior to this story, so not on page), death of a parent (on page) and death of a pet (within the story but not on page).
  • Reference to what could be construed as cheating (prior to this story).
  • Reference to blood sports (fox hunting - not on page) and animal rights activism.
  • Reference to violence (none on page).
  • Reference to past drug use/addiction.
  • Some moderately explicit sexual intimacy between consenting male adults.
Spoiler Warnings
Now, even though this novel is the first in the Gray Fisher series, the series is a spin-off of Hiding Behind The Couch (HBTC), which, as of September 2016, consists of nine novels, seven novellas and a short story, with another short story and another novel in progress. What this means is...there is at least one HUGE MASSIVE ALMIGHTY spoiler of HBTC in The WAG and The Scoundrel.

I'm not telling you to put you off reading it, as I envisage quite a few readers will have already read some or all of HBTC. In fact, the reason I'm writing this warning is because one reader had read early HBTC books and got a bit of a shock at the news (I'm sorry again, if you're reading this).

Reading The WAG and The Scoundrel does not require any prior reading of HBTC, but if you are new to this fictional world and decide to read the rest of the books, there will be some stuff you already know is going to happen. It doesn't spoil everything, but it is quite significant, and at this point in the series, spoilers of earlier episodes are inevitable.

A Note About Inclusivity
Did you know it's Bisexual Visibility Week (19-26 September)?
If you didn't, that probably is enough to tell you why it's necessary.

I try my hardest to treat everyone with respect, and I believe in equality. This is reflected in my stories, which are character-driven realist fiction. My characters are diverse, and I dislike the pigeon-holing of writing within a genre. It restricts my creativity, and a good book is a good book, regardless of the specific make-up of the individuals and relationships within.

You'll see The WAG and The Scoundrel listed under 'Gay Romance' on retailers' sites, because it needs to be categorised somehow and most retailers provide only three options for romance: gay, lesbian, or just...romance, by which they mean heterosexual. No 'bisexual' or 'non-binary' or 'trans' or 'queer'. This is, I assume, because the book cataloguing systems don't have those categories, either, not even as 'of interest to...'. Readers get up in arms about being mis-sold a book when, in fact, it is because of the exclusion of non-binary identities and histories from book cataloguing systems. We authors of LGBTQ fiction are marginalised, rendered invisible, and then we're punished for it by readers (and sometimes by our so-called peers who can, at times, be just as close-minded).

I'll say this much: The WAG and The Scoundrel does include a same-sex relationship between two men as well as a cosy-ish mystery. It also includes different kinds of relationships between different kinds of people - parents and children, colleagues, friends, ex-spouses. People are people, love is love. It happens, that moment when two people click...it's a beautiful thing, whatever hue of the rainbow it falls under.

When I'm writing, if a relationship develops between two characters, I'm not going to steer the story in another direction to protect the sensibilities of the 'I only read...' readers. Thus, whilst The WAG and The Scoundrel is a 'gay romance', book two of the Gray Fisher series might not be.

This is true of all my stories, so if you're the sort of person who feels the need to ask 'does it have het [sic] sex in it?' and you would feel somehow cheated or sullied to find it did, then you're probably safer reading another author.

If this reads as me blotting my own copy book, then so be it.

And if I haven't put you off yet (can you tell I'm feeling feisty? ;) ), you can preorder The WAG and The Scoundrel from most outlets, but here's a set of links to make the whole process a little easier.

Preorder 'The WAG and The Scoundrel (Gray Fisher #1)':
Thank you for reading. I really do appreciate it.
Deb x

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