Welcome to Monday Musings, a series where I review books that I read pre-end of 2017, when I started writing wrap-ups, talk about characters or topics that aren’t as relevant, or sometimes a surprise non-bookish thing.
I’ll be the first person to admit that I love a lot of tropes. Enemies to friends to lovers? Yes, please. Only one bed and have to snuggle for warmth? Absolutely. Fake marriage? YESSSS.
But there are two things out there in the literature world that I can promise you, from now until always, that I will never ever do: bury my gays OR massive age gaps in between different species.
Let’s break this down a little.
This is the most important one, really. I promise that if someday I have 10 books published, 9 of them will have queer main characters. And that one that doesn’t will have queer secondary characters. (Look, I’ve got, like, one hetero romance in my head that I’ve got to write someday.) Now, I say queer because not all of my characters are gay. I mean it. I swear to you, I am never ever going to not have queer characters in my novels.
Saintsverse, which is probably my primary series that I’m working on and hopefully will be the first one published, has the following:
Landon & Ezra: gay & gay
Miles & Wesley: asexual & bisexual
Madison & Riley: lesbian & bisexual
Henry & Cole: gay & bisexual
Julian & Sam: pansexual & ummmmm get back to me I haven’t figured out Sam yet
Those are just the main characters. There are secondary characters that are not all straight, I promise!
In the Pen boys, which someday I’ll write, I promise, we have:
James & Oliver: super gay & gay
Harrison & Margaret: bisexual & straight
Jasper: I’m pretty sure he’s pansexual, but also get back to me on that later
Alex the Destroyer has only the one pairing, and Alex is bi while Billy is gay. Sister witches? Henley & Luciana are lesbian. Theodore & Finn are gay! (We’re going to talk about their relationship in the second point, too.) Thieves: Will is gay, Emilien is bisexual, Carter is bisexual. Hiking novel even! Luca & Grey are gay, Olivia is lesbian. It transcends genres. Yes, Saintsverse is high fantasy, but it’s in a city, so it’s not like Ronan’s story, which has dragons and swords and stuff, and Ronan, our main character, is gay.
Are there straight characters sprinkled throughout? Sure. In the Saintsverse, there aren’t as many, but Vivian, Logan, Bellows, Avery, Runa, Qadir, Victor, Corra, Hadley–all straight!
The point I’m making is that the world is big, and straight people are not all there is in that big world. 9 out of 10 books you’re going to pick up in the bookstore will have a straight, white main character. (I can also promise that I will do my utmost to make these characters diverse, as well. Of the ones named above, these are POC: Miles, Wesley, Cole, Julian, Harrison, Margaret, Jasper, Henley, Luciana, Carter, Vivian, Corra, Qadir, Runa.) This is slowly changing, but it’s still the norm. And it’s dumb. We’ve had literal centuries of straight, white characters. I’m over it. It’s time that the stories we read reflect the real world. And it’s time to stop giving our teenagers, during their formative years, novels with only straight characters so that when they think they might be something else, they feel like they’re in the wrong.
You’re not. If you’re not straight, that’s okay. Whatever you are, it’s as normal as everything else.
Thus, my characters will always be queer. And when they are bi, I will not bury them. If they’re bi and in a hetero relationship, great. They’re still bi, and I will make that obvious. I will honor their orientations and not force them into things that don’t work for them. Yes, Miles is ace and in a relationship. Does that mean that Wesley pressures him into having sex? Nope. He doesn’t pressure him into anything that Miles doesn’t want. Their relationship respects both of them.
I promise you, forever, as a writer, I will never bury my gays. In fact, I may flaunt them.
So, you’ve got a demon in love with a human, yeah?
I’m not interested, sorry bye.
Why do people write stories where an immortal being falls in love with a human? It’s weird. Twilight has seriously ruined me for all different species relationships. Unless there’s no weird age gap. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater has a werewolf and a girl. I’m fine with it. Because they’re the same age! Daughter of Smoke and Bones by Laini Taylor features an angel and a human. I was so very not sure I was going to be okay, but turns out Karou is not your ordinary human. No, special humans don’t count in this, either. Okay, whatever, SPOILERS, Karou is a demon, she died, was resurrected, her and Akiva are vaguely in the same age range.
Special humans don’t count. I don’t want none of your well my human is a witch so they’re both from the same STOP. IT’S WEIRD.
I’ve got this witch story. Three witches accidentally summon a demon, who they end up best friends with. It’s super campy, that’s the point. But our demon is supposed to fall in love with someone. He has a policy that he calls the Edward Cullen policy, which is basically just me shouting through my characters IT’S ILLEGAL I DON’T CARE IF YOU’RE IMMORTAL. He does start dating a human, and he feels very squicky about it, and he’s about to call it all off, but surprise the human is a demon. Theodore goes through a lot ofoh god I’m robbing the cradle we’re different species this is WEIRD everything is bad back away back away before he gets super pissed off in finding out that Finn is a demon and he never had to be upset in the first place.
I’m working on this other novel about Charon, ferryman of the dead, and I wanted to give him a love interest, but a) age gap because he’s immortal and b) special humans don’t count, so he ends up in an enemies to friends to lovers trope with Icarus. This is not a spoiler because I wrote a short story about it. Also, why does every Greek myth ever paint the gods as straight? They were so gay. All of them.
Look. If you want to write a large age gap between your nonhuman and your human, go for it. Do whatever you want. I’m not going to read it, but I’m not going to get on my soapbox and yell at you about it, either. This is just something that I feel strongly about enough that I’ll never write about it. If ever you’re reading one of my books, and you see that there’s a nonhuman starting to fall in love with a human, one of two things is going to happen: a) surprise not a human (and you’ll find this out pretty quickly, I am not going to stretch out the weird, I promise) or b) one of them dies? No, I’m kidding, they just won’t happen. Or one of them dies.
(Now. I know what you’re thinking. But Mary, you put Magnus and Alec from The Mortal Instruments series in your Valentine’s Day post. I KNOW. Sometimes, these things happen. I think part of the reason that I like them is that the age gap is such an issue with them. Alec is often very weird about it and feels like it’s a problem. (it is it so is) Even Magnus comments on it a lot. Still. Is it okay? Nah. Do I still like it? Yes. There are always going to be exceptions to this rule. THIS rule, not the bury your gays. There’s never an exception to that. But sometimes, an age gap between a warlock and a human is going to come around, and they’re going to actively discuss that age gap, and it’s going to make me feel a little more okay with it. Back to Twilight–Edward kind of holds it over Bella? Dude, you’re a creep.)
Now, nonhuman and human that are the same age? Yup, I’m down with it. In my Madhouse Chronicles, Mason is a faery. He’s technically been reincarnated since, like, the beginning of time, but the only part of him that’s reincarnated is the literal fire that comes with his element, so his actual self is born in, I don’t know, the 90s? Anyway, as a faery, he dates a human. They’re both in their 20s. I really don’t care after that, honestly. I’m trying to think of a real life example of this and failing.
don’t @ me I’m not talking about Cardan and Jude on this blog their relationship is abusive and awful
I can’t think of one besides Maggie’s Shiver because I don’t read them often enough because Edward Cullen policy.
(A note: large age gaps between humans is not acceptable for very different reasons, and will also never happen in my novels.)
I think I’m done?
Sure, /end rant.
Things I can promise will be in my books!
- sad boys
- sad boys in love with rude boys who are secretly soft boys
- magic always magic
- a lot of aesthetically pleasing outfits
- ALWAYS kissing no matter what kind of a novel it is KISSING
- at least one person who wears all black and everyone else gives them crap for it
- at least one Dad™ or Mom™
- (usually they wear obnoxious, sometimes patterned, clothes, too)
- either tea, yoga, crystals, books, tarot or sometimes all five as a major love of one or all of the characters
- some more boys of all walks of life
- someone is probably going to talk about a dragon at some point even if dragons don’t exist I can’t help myself
Sounds like fun? Well, keep my name in your back pocket so that in a couple years, when one of my books is on a shelf somewhere, you’ll know to pick it up. And stay tuned every Thursday when you’ll have some of my writing to read!