I recently had the pleasure of meeting Andrew at the Dreamspinner authors' conference. He is not only a talented author, but an absolutely delightful person. Talking with it is apparent almost immediately he is a very family oriented type of guy. Andrew is the man with the adorable little girl on his shoulders is Andrew.
Wednesday June 26, 2013, marked a big day in the march for equality – no I promise not to turn this into a huge political post. The decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States were big – but no means the final – steps toward marriage equality. For my family and me, however, it was a big day. [Could have been bigger, but I'll get to that.]
We live in a state that allows gay marriage. We moved to Maryland hoping in time the state would join the crowd and allow us to get married one day and the good folks of Maryland didn't disappoint. Last November they voted by a fairly wide margin to permit all couples to marry.
But there was still a hurdle – DOMA. Even though Maryland recognized us as married, the federal government did not. So we had to file separate taxes, they wouldn't recognize our status for estate planning purposes and they denied us about 1098 more rights other couple who are married enjoy.
A big one for us was health care. While we both have health insurance through work, it was a lot cheaper for us to have one family plan instead of a family plan AND an individual one. There were/are other considerations, but that's an idea.
So for us, Wednesday marked a big day and I had equally big plans to commemorate the day. Knowing a decision was coming, I picked out a ring – nothing fancy, just a place holder until we get the ones we want – and kept it at my office to keep it a secret.
My co-workers all knew and wished me well. I had it all planned out – I'd find a way to distract him, then give 'lil q the ring and tell her to give it to daddy. It was perfect.
Until I forgot to bring the ring home Wednesday night.
Unfortunately, by the time I realized what I'd done, it was too late. 'lil q would be asleep before I could go to the office and back, Mike would be suspicious of what I was up to and that just wasn't how I planned it.
So we did it a day later. My only regret is only having two hands. I wished I could have filmed 'lil q walking over in her sundress and sandals as only a toddler can do, and handing him the ring. After he asked, "what's this?" And I said, "marry me." He said yes and then 'lil q grabbed for the ring and said, "'lil q's." [She actually used her real name, but I don't use that on line.]
So what's all this got to do with anything? Not a whole lot really, but I figured I'd share it.
In the week or so since, I've wondered what the future will be like for my daughter's generation and beyond. They will no doubt have their own issues and their own struggles, but the ones that shape M/M fiction today – coming out struggles, discrimination, bigotry toward LGBT – wont be as prominent as they were for my generation. Yes they'll exist, but they won't dominate her generation's LGBT members. Things that seemed inconceivable even four or five years ago – the end of DOMA, gay athletes playing openly in professional sports, a majority of Americans supporting gay marriage – are now a reality.
A well known, best selling author who writes M/M fiction said in an interview I did with her that she wanted to write a story about someone who wasn't gay bashed, whose parents accepted him, who was well adjusted, well accepted and comfortable with who he was. Then she could write the story of an average kid with 'normal' problems. It was a great book and it sold quite well.
So far, all of my books have followed a similar path. In (Un)Masked, the main characters are gay, but the fact they are had nothing to do with the conflict – well other than their relationship issues. The Last Grand Master - which might not count as it's fantasy – is another example where the sexuality of the main characters has next to no impact on the conflict or tension of the book.
In my newest release – Purpose – Ryan is rejected by his family for his sexuality, but it too is just a minor part of the overall plot. I'm not saying coming out angst, family tensions, rejection, bigotry and the like won't exist and won't be written about in the future, but I suspect we'll see more 'main stream' relationship issues going forward.
I'll end by saying it seems fitting that 'lil q reached out for the ring I gave her daddy. In so many ways, it – and the rest of the future – is hers. The possibilities are endless; all she has to do is reach for them.
Forty years ago the Spirit of Vengeance—a Purpose—took William Morgan as its host, demanding he avenge the innocent by killing the guilty. Since then, Will has retreated behind Gar, a façade he uses to avoid dealing with what he’s become. Cold, impassive, and devoid of emotion, Gar goes about his life alone—until his tidy, orderly world is upended when he meets Ryan, a broken young man cast out by his family. Spurred to action for reasons he can't understand, Gar saves Ryan from death and finds himself confronted by his humanity.
Spending time with Ryan helps Will claw out from under Gar’s shadow. He recognizes Ryan is the key to his reclaiming his humanity and facing his past. As Will struggles to control the Purpose, Ryan challenges him to rethink everything he knew about himself and the spirit that possesses him. In the process, he pushes Will to do something he hasn't done in decades: care.
Buy link: Purpose from Dreamspinner Press
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7/5/2013 03:52:36 am
Great post, Andrew, and it said so many things that have been roaming through my mind of late. I just finished Purpose a few days ago and I have to say one of the things I liked about it was that it was a really good novel in which the characters just happened to be gay. As you said, there were background issues for them because of their sexuality, but that’s not what drove the story.
7/5/2013 07:07:07 am
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