I don’t write Queer Romance because I sat down one day, thought about what I could write, and chose the genre. Rather, it chose me. I began reading stories about GLBTQ characters, wanted more, and I write what I want to read. The further I’ve become involved in the genre, the more I’ve realised that it’s not just because these are the stories I want to write, but because it’s important. We need to have books out there where queer characters can fall in love and be together, and it’s accepted without anyone having to justify it. That’s the point. People should be able to be with whom they want without having to explain themselves or get flack about it.
That’s one of the reasons I think it’s important that Queer fiction is intershelved in bookshops and libraries. Those of us who already write and read it don’t need to be educated, and how are we going to educate others unless they have access to, or come across, these stories? The same with YA fiction – I’d like to see a lot more YA Queer fiction out there, so teenagers who aren’t so sure about what they’re feeling can read a story and think ‘this is okay, I’m not alone, there’s nothing wrong with how I’m feeling.’
I’ve had people ask me why I don’t write other genres, usually followed with a tag line about how writing something more mainstream would sell better, and make money. It’s not about the money, it’s about being able to write what I want to write and to tell the stories that I want to tell.
It’s the same with love. Love is love, and people should be able to love who they love without having to justify it. Often you don’t choose who you fall in love with. It just happens. I have a theory that things happen the way they’re meant to, even if you don’t always see it at the time. There’s often the added issue that whatever choice you make there’s always someone there telling you that you should have done it another way.
Although I try to write stories within worlds which accept love as love, there are some genres in which I can’t, such as historicals. Part of one of Kristopher’s growth in my WW2 series, Echoes, is figuring out that he needs to be true to himself. He’s already lost one friend due to running away from his feelings, he won’t do it again. In being true to himself in one area of his life he is able to find the strength to do so in others.
I’m finishing with a quote from Kristopher in Winter Duet as it says it all, really.
“How can what we have be wrong? It’s not. It feels so right. I feel complete when I’m with you, like I was missing something before but never knew it.”
About Anne Barwell
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.
About Winter Duet
Sequel to Shadowboxing
Echoes: Book Two
With Kristopher finally fit enough to travel, he and Michel leave the security of their safe house and continue their journey across Germany toward Switzerland. Caught in a series of Allied bombings, they stop to help civilians and narrowly escape capture by German forces.
While investigating a downed aircraft in the Black Forest, the two men discover an injured RAF pilot. After they are separated, Kristopher and the pilot are discovered by a German officer who claims he is not who he appears to be. Determined to find Michel again, Kristopher has to trust the stranger and hope he is not connected to those searching for him and the information he carries. Meanwhile Michel is intercepted by one of the Allied soldiers he met in Berlin. His help is needed to save one of their own.
Time quickly runs out. Loyalties are tested and betrayed as the Gestapo closes in. Michel can only hope that they reach safety before information is revealed that could compromise not only his and Kristopher’s lives, but those of the remaining members of their team—if it is not already too late.