My first novel for publication still sits unfinished on my old hard drive, a lesbian fantasy novel that on last count was two hundred and three pages long with no sign of reaching a climax. Pages and pages of drama in a kingdom where matriarchal rule is the norm and female assassins are encouraged to roam the streets picking off villains and thieves on the Queen’s order. I loved writing it, but it needs a complete rewrite. So it sits and I wait for the day when I can push it around with a stick until all the puzzle pieces I laid out make sense. And about half the unnecessary character’s can get chopped out.
It was my first love and my first gravitational pull toward LGBT fiction—and it felt so, so right.
But regardless of the work needed to patch that manuscript up, it’s still one of my favorite experiments because it explores so many avenues of female empowerment and sexuality, including a lesbian triad which is the central arch of contention throughout the book between the main characters. Coming from a Women’s Studies background in college, I was incredibly comfortable delving into and breaking apart cultural gender norms. Which meant writing my first lesbian sex scene with three women, pseudo-BDSM overtones, and an uncertain power play—while the Queen participated and her kingdom watched in awe.
In that world not only were lesbian’s accepted and revered, bisexuality wasn’t an issue either. If anything women were praised for their lack of connections with men because they could better do their duty by their Queen, being independent and strong without an anchor of love to keep them from their duties. Fluid sexuality, multiple partners, and lavish orgies were all part of a scenery where woman could gallivant like men and not be called names for their passions.
I loved exploring how living a different lifestyle without a man could make women stronger and in no way limit anything about their lives. If anything, women can share a deeper, more far reaching connection together. A sensuality that really sparks my imagination, when nothing else is working. And the dynamic is as shift able and ever-changing as the relationship itself because two women can give and take in the alpha and beta roles rather than having one fight for dominance.
Working at a rundown library in her small hometown, Molly Fable becomes entrenched in a game of sexual cat and mouse. One of the patrons, Holly Ryder, has been purposefully ignoring her slew of overdue erotic books – and she’s less than subtle about her lack of payment
Which is why I chose to write my first major book with a lesbian relationship and it continues to be my comfort zone. My lesbian work comes from a fun, deeper place. Things get a little more complicated than in my more hetero work, more messy. Because almost all of my woman character’s use sex as a source of power, as a way of finding themselves and as a form of communication when their throats are too constricted with emotion to speak out loud. And if that means cutting an argument short on a stairwell to do a little groping with tight, lilting whispers, so be it. If it takes dissecting a problem to within an inch of its life, my characters can do that too. Communication doesn’t always have to be vocal.
And it can still involve plenty of tongue.
What is your comfort zone in LGBT fiction? Do you have one? Comment to win an Xcite anthology Lipstick Lovers, and two of my lesbian novella’s, Resort to Naughtiness and Overdue.
Elise Hepner lives with her two spastic cats, two hyperactive ferrets and a very supportive, slightly crazy husband. There is never a dull moment in the house, unless the caffeine runs out, which it never does. She’s a multi-published erotica author with Ellora’s Cave, Cleis Press, and Excessica.
She’s driven by her tea addiction and a tiny stuffed turtle her husband picked up from Disney World that sits on her desk and “supervises” her work.
When not writing (which is rare), she’s watching countless hours of reality television, playing the Sims or shopping online. Plus there’s that odd obsession with the color purple. Everything is purple.
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