So recently, one reviewer made the comment that they didn't like how, in MORIBUND, the two heroines, Syl and Rouen, just helped each other all the time, they supported each other and they succeeded. Together. And this reviewer really had a strong opinion about that being a Bad Thing.
As an aside, I want to say strongly that I'm not upset by this review or mad at the reviewer. I appreciate this person's time and effort in reading my book and posting a review.
That said, it's a great opportunity to talk about why I write what I write.
Okay. First, I get it. Some folks really like gritty stories filled with heartbreak, betrayal, and dystopian downers. I like those stories, too. And I agree, not every story needs to end on a happy note.
But mine, largely, do.
Here's the thing: you've heard of Bury Your Gays, right? Basically, BYG is a trope wherein the LGBTQ characters are denied a happy ending of any kind. Most often, these characters are killed off to enhance the story of a straight protagonist. Not only is it problematic, it's downright depressing to see every character that's somewhat like you killed off.
It's like someone out there is saying being gay, queer, lesbian, etc is wrong. And that is, quite simply put, utter bullshit.
Growing up, all I had was Bury Your Gays, the similarly sucky All Gays Are Promiscuous, or, even worse, Gay Girl Turns Straight Because Straight Guy is Maaaaaaaagic aka Hide Your Lesbians. That's it. That's all I had to read about. Heartbreak. Betrayal. Dystopian downers.
Caricatures of lesbianism.
Looking back, too, I realize that I always felt betrayed by those stories--the ones where it seemed like everything was so good, there would be a happy ending, FINALLY, I would get to see some positive representation of a lesbian relationship. I always, always felt betrayed when those stories went south.
And I refuse to do that to my readers.
That's not to say that bad things don't happen to Syl and Rouen. Oh, they do. Rouen and Syl have been beat up, thrown off buildings, nearly chopped into pieces by an evil Moribund tree, and everything in between. They seriously have to WORK at it to win. And yeah, it is heartbreaking and soul-shattering and they have their dystopian downer moments.
But in the end, they're going to be there for each other. They're going to be smart and in love. They're going to have a plan. And they're going to win and change their damn world.
Because that's what I, as a kid, so desperately needed to read. And it's my pleasure and my privilege to be able to give that to my readers.