Today’s guest post is by Rhiannon Frater & Kody Boye.
Positive LGBT Characterization
I’ve been friends with Kody Boye for over six years and during that time I’ve watched him evolve from a very frightened young man just coming out of the closet to a confident writer of several novels. When we decided to write a young adult novel together, one of the choices we made was to write about really good friends who stand by each other through all the difficulties in life. We’d noted that a lot of YA concentrate on romantic relationships, but in our novel we wanted to write about friendship.
When we decided that Adam would be gay and Christy a witch, we agreed to not fall into the pitfalls of the stereotypical depictions of gay males and their best female friend. Adam is just a regular guy who happens to be gay and Christy is his best friend from childhood. Christy doesn’t have a secret crush on Adam. Adam is not a stereotypical flamboyant sidekick. They’re just two teenagers facing the difficulties of growing up.
We also decided that Adam would be supported not just by his best friend, but his family at home. Fiction rarely depicts gay kids growing up in positive family environments. We didn’t want to fall into the old stereotypical tropes. We were also inspired by recent positive coming out stories of teens in the news. Giving Adam a loving and supportive family allowed us to concentrate on Adam as a person, and not just a gay teen.
On the other hand, I initially struggled to write Adam. Having grown up in an environment completely contrary to that which Adam experienced, pouring personal experience into the character was only serving to hurt the story. Why are you writing him like you? Rhiannon questioned after reading the first three chapters (which would later be rewritten from the ground up.) It was incredibly difficult for me to disconnect my own experience with Adam’s—because, as Rhiannon previously mentioned, the go-to for gay characters is tragedy. Nowadays, that isn’t always the case, especially with ‘culture norms’ shifting and allowing for broader thought to become more acceptable.
The one thing I did want to make clear with Adam’s story is something I don’t often see addressed within fiction. When a young gay man or woman loses their paramour, their reaction is often seen as being overly dramatic. Cataclysmic would likely be the best word. People wonder why the reaction is so strong, yet they sometimes don’t understand that the dating pool is substantially smaller for LGBTQIA people (estimates are 10% of the population.) You think, I’m alone. No one’s ever going to want me. So when you find that person and you click, then the relationship crumbles however long later, the prospect of a second love coming along is that much more difficult to imagine.
In the end, we wanted The Midnight Spell to be true to life and love. I think we succeeded.
The Midnight Spell by Kody Boye & Rhiannon Frater
Published by: Permuted Press
Publication date: February 28th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Best friends since kindergarten, Adam and Christy have always been the perpetual outsiders in their small town in Texas. The other kids call Adam gay and Christy a witch.
On both counts the bullies are right.
Their junior year in high school seems destined to be the same old same old until Christy decides to cast a love spell for Adam at the midnight hour. The next day an alluring and mysterious boy enrolls at school and sets hearts aflutter, including Adam’s. Meanwhile, Christy’s mad crush on the handsome football player Ian seems to be going nowhere fast and her witch puberty is making her life miserable.
When a great evil arrives in town that threatens everything they hold dear, the best friends realize that finding a boyfriend is the least of their worries. Soon Adam and Christy will have to battle a force of darkness that has killed in their town before, and will again.
Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor), as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog), and other horror novels. In 2014, her newest horror novel, The Mesmerized, will be released by Permuted Press. Dead Spots will be published in 2015 by Tor. She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.
Born and raised in Southeastern Idaho, Kody Boye began his writing career with the publication of his story [A] Prom Queen’s Revenge at the age of fourteen. Published nearly three-dozen times before going independent at eighteen, Boye has authored numerous works—including the short story collection Amorous Things, the novella The Diary of Dakota Hammell, the zombie novel Sunrise and the epic fantasy series The Brotherhood Saga. He is represented by Hannah Brown Gordon of the Foundry Literary + Media Agency.
You can visit him online at kodyboye.com