Friday, 6 April 2012

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Can you write gay fiction if you are straight?

Maybe the answer to that is no. Actually, I'm not quite sure what Gay Fiction is - perhaps someone could enlighten me. All I read is fiction - whoever it's about and whoever it's written by, I just like a good story.

So, to be clear from the start, I happen to be straight but I have lots of friends, relatives and colleagues who are gay, so I feel as comfortable about putting homosexual characters in my books as I would characters with red, blond or black hair (or no hair at all), characters with physical disabilities, male characters, characters who live in the future or the past or are a different age, nationality or social background from myself. Of course I do. My fiction would be very sad and limited if I only ever wrote about me!

And part of the fun of writing is becoming someone else - tasting the world from a different point of view.

So is there are a problem? Maybe not, but when Charity's Child  first came out in paperback I did get a couple of remarks from people who tentatively and very politely suggested that perhaps I didn't know what I was talking about and shouldn't be trying to write from the point of view of a gay character.

That's the problem, I suppose, if there is one. Joanne, the narrator of Charity's Child, is a young lesbian, as is her friend Charity, though there is also some suggestion that Charity may be bisexual, as you'll discover if you read the book. So the question was, I suppose, 'How can you, a straight person, get inside the mind of a lesbian character sufficiently well to write convincingly with her voice?'

How successfully I achieved that aim can only be judged by my readers. It doesn't seem to me to be much different from my trying to write from the point of view of a man. Which is something that female authors do all the time, and vice versa - sometimes with great success and sometimes not.

As far as I can tell, there's a lack of fiction, especially YA fiction, with gay protagonists, so the more the  better, perhaps... whoever writes it?

Anyway, please tell me what you think, whether or not you've read the book. If you've read it, I'll be especially interested to hear your views.

Best wishes

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

All sorted - Charity's Child is well and truly born (but who is the father?)

Whew! All sorted. My novel Charity's Child - Dark Deed or Virgin Birth? is now born (again!) and is live, kicking and raring to be read.

 Click here to see Charity's Child new Kindle version on Amazon

Speaking of being 'born again'... I didn't mean that to be an awful pun when I wrote it, but it does capture one of the themes of Charity's Child, which is set in a tiny evangelical Christian fellowship in the imaginary seaside town of Castlehaven on the Yorkshire coast. I wanted to explore what could happen in such a close-knit community of believers when an outsider arrives and unsettles everyone. Charity, aged fifteen, turns up at a prayer meeting one evening and for Joanne, a lonely young girl of the same age, it's love at first sight.

For Tom, the pastor, Charity brings trouble - an insistence on something called the 'Special Blessing', without which, she says, no one can be truly close to God. Charity's personal charisma and her enthusiasm for the 'spiritual gifts' associated with the special blessing soon become confused in the minds of many of the members of the Crabapple Christian Fellowship (or Crabbies, as they call themselves). Alan, the assistant pastor, develops a fixation on Charity which upsets Joanne, Alan's wife Louise and poor Tom, who is desperately trying to prevent his little flock from exploding into chaos.

Charity and Joanne are 'together', or so Joanne believes. Then Charity announces that she is pregnant. She refuses to name the father - in fact she assures Joanne she has not had sex with any man or boy. The father of her baby is, she claims, God Himself. God has given her His ultimate gift - His own child. Not a boy like Jesus but a girl, this time...

Joanne is sceptical, but she longs for assurance that Charity has not been unfaithful to her. The rest of the fellowship are not at all convinced. There is much speculation about who the father of Charity's child could be. Suspicion falls on Alan, and Tom wrestles with indecision and guilt - he has problems of his own.

Then Charity disappears...

As I said above, I wanted to explore what happens in a small, settled religious community when a charismatic and disruptive newcomer arrives. I made the community a Christian evangelical one, because long ago I was a member of several groups like this. I no longer share all the beliefs of evangelical Christians, but I have no axes to grind and my story should not be taken as criticism of religious faith of any kind. People are people... whatever they believe, whatever their background. If we are not careful, we distort our faith to suit our own predilections and concerns - and to soothe our fears. I believe that's part of what is going on in Charity's Child.

It was one of those books that you write without, for quite a long time, knowing how it is going to end. The revelation of who was the father came as a shock to me - one that still has me reeling.

I hope that the new e-edition will draw in some new readers. I would love to know what you think of Charity's story, either in a comment on my blog here, by email or in reviews on Amazon and similar sites. If you are a religious person (or indeed a convinced atheist), I'd be especially interested to know what you think.

  Recommended age 14+


Monday, 2 April 2012

I cannot believe I have been so careless!

Oh dear - this is from a rather red-faced Rosalie.

Today was meant to be the day I posted here about my novel  Charity's Child going live on Amazon Kindle - which it has! And until half an hour ago I was very excited and bursting to tell everyone. But then a very kind friend and colleague emailed me to point out that part of a review I have quoted in the Product Description could be taken the wrong way and cause offence. I must say I had not read it that way, and I don't expect the reviewer meant it that way either, but now I look at it again, I do see the problem.

I have edited out the offending phrase and resubmitted to Amazon KDP, but I guess the changes will take a couple of days to show up. So if anyone downloads my book in the meantime, please bear this in mind.

As soon as the new edition goes up, I will post the link, etc. And then I'll finally be able to celebrate properly!

Best wishes
Red-faced  Ros

Here's the cover of my book anyway, to be going on with!

OK, well Amazon have been very prompt in updating my Product Description, which is now fine, so here are the links:

Click to view on

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