Why do I write queer fiction? Well, there’s a simple answer to that question: I AM queer. In part, it’s a matter of documenting my own experience. In 2006, when I first started writing professionally, a lot of editors and publishers told me not to bother writing about lesbians and queer women. Nobody buys that stuff.
Umm… hello? Lesbians and queer women (among others) might buy it.
Eight years later, my all-time bestselling book is Nanny State. Sure I’ve written straight content. I must have a couple hundred ebooks on the market by now—they pretty much cover all the bases—but Nanny State is the big winner.
And you know what? It’s a book about lesbians. Three of them! Lesbian ménage! It’s hardcore lesbian kink with a surprisingly happy ending. And it sells better than all the straight fiction I’ve written combined.
There’s also a subset of lesbian fiction I write that, while it doesn’t sell fantabulously well, has won the most awards and inspired the most moving fan mail. That’s my transgender lesbian fiction.
I started writing trans fiction primarily because my girlfriend is a trans woman. When we first fell in love and began our relationship… well, things were complicated. She acknowledged that she was blocked, sexually. She was afraid I might fetishize her trans body, or view her as a “guy in a dress,” or view her in any other way that didn’t speak the truth of who she was within herself. In fact, when we began this relationship more than six years ago, she pretty much guaranteed we would never have sex.
Yikes! And me an erotica writer!
Actually, erotica figured in to this conversation (and conversion and transformation) around sex and representation and being trans. My Sweet really hates erotica that portrays trans women as brainless cardboard cut-outs who are good for nothing but sex. As far as she was concerned, ALL trans erotica was like that.
It was for her that I began crafting stories involving trans characters who weren’t other, weren’t alien, who were both sexual and valuable, socially and personally… who were human.
When Sweet started reading my trans fiction, I was actually surprised that she loved my work and could relate to my characters. (I don’t know why that surprised me. I guess I was just nervous.) The comment she made that stuck with me was, “You don’t write about sex, you write about people.” For her, that made all the difference.
One of the highlights of my career was having a story included in Tristan Taormino’s trans and genderqueer erotic anthology Take Me There, which went on to win a Lambda Literary Award. I know the public library system here in Toronto has copies available. If you don’t happen to be inside a library in Toronto at the moment, the anthology is available from Cleis Press and Amazon.
In 2012, my book The Red Satin Collection won Best Transgender Romance in the Rainbow Awards. That was huge, too. My collection of trans erotica “My Mistress’ Thighs” had received an honourable mention in that category the year before, but actually winning? That was huge.
I write a lot of fiction, but the best of what I write is queer. Because I’m queer.
Find Giselle Renarde at:
Her blog: http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com
About the Author
Eroticist, environmentalist, and pastry enthusiast Giselle Renarde is a proud Canadian, supporter of the arts, and activist for women’s and LGBT rights. For Giselle, a perfect day involves watching a snowstorm rage outside with a cup of tea in one hand and a chocolate truffle in the other. Ms Renarde lives across from a park with two bilingual cats who sleep on her head.
For the Grand Prize Giveaway, I (Nix) will be giving away ten of my top LGBT books. These books will be gifted via All Romance as the books are available to readers on all the types of eReaders (you just need to sign up for a free account to access the books and you can send them directly). If you have any of the books and you win the prize, speak to me and I’ll see what else I can do.
The books are (and there are substitutions available for people who have copies)…
- With a Kiss by Kim Dare (MM)
- Hot Head by Damien Suede (MM)
- By the Book by Scarlett Parrish (MM)
- The Dom With a Safeword by Cari Silverwood (FFM)
- Starfish and Coffee by Kele Moon (MM)
- How Sweet it is – Melissa Brayden (FF)
- Fatal Shadows – Josh Lanyon (MM)
- Faith and Fidelity – Tere Michaels (MM)
- How to Love – Kelly Jamieson (FMM)
- Cut and Run – Abigail Roux (MM)
- Paperback Tread Marks & Trademarks by SA McAuley