Pushing the YA LGBTQI Envelope
I've managed 8k words today. Over 6500 of them on the new WIP. Writing YA m/m romance is a whole new bag o' tricks. I've had a few moments, as the parent of a teenage boy, where I've stopped and read what I wrote and wondered if I pushed that YA envelope too far. I am hoping that I've pushed it just enough to give YA's what they want and to show honest portrayals of teenagers trying to figure it all out.
Rage Boy, the resident teenager, tells me not to censor it. He likes it just the way it is. My beta reader keeps squeeing over each chapter. So, it looks like the story will continue in the direction it needs to. I am not one to censor on principle, but I am not irresponsible either.
Having raised my own interesting rainbow of kids I understand all too well how little there is for them to read. And what little there is, is often relegated to secondary characters who never get center stage. Or the characters have to deal with so many obstacles it's difficult for YA's to just enjoy a good romantic story.
It wasn't that long ago that I was a YA myself, and really my age group is the new 20, so they say. And I do have the advantage having of grown up in and around the LA area with lots of LGBTQI friends. I lived in WeHo before it was even called that. I've been part of the LGBTQI community as long as I can remember. And on occasion, I realize that my experience is the exception and not the rule for many people. I often have to adjust my lens and see things through other people's experience. And when I do I am shocked at all of the little things that others have experienced.
In many ways, I've lived a idyllic life. Free of anti-gay anything. I fostered that for my kids as well. They don't really understand what the big deal is with sexual identity or gender preference. For them it's all part of who we are as individuals. So, when I write LGBTQI stories I often write from a place that accepts people as human beings. I find it challenging to write angsty, issue ridden stories, because I have never been in the closet.
What saddens me most are the people who are punished by their parents and families for being themselves, designed by their DNA, which they inherited from their parents in the first place. If I could, I would take them all in and provide a loving, open, be yourself home. And I have on more than one occasion, made it clear, to other parents that some forms of parenting cross the line of abuse just through brainwashing and pray away the gay dogma. Abuse is abuse whether its physical, mental, emotional, or lack of love and understanding.
No one can predict what kind of child they will have. Part of the parenting experience is learning along with your child who they are and what they are all about. It's an amazing journey. And it should be shared not dictated.
So, back to my YA LGBTQI boys. I have pushed the envelope. And it's a good thing. If one YA out there is able to sit down, read this book, and escape for a few hours of enjoyable entertainment then that is all that matters. Sharing stories is one of the greatest gifts I can share with others. I will do it the best way I know how. Without being censored. The only relationship which matters is the one I have with my readers.
So, if you are curious about what kind of YA m/m stories I write. Check out Lucas & Riley at The Ravens Crossing. The WIP I am working on now is a spin off from that story. And yes, Lucas & Riley will eventually get their own series of books once they leave Wildwood. Don't you worry. I have plans for them.