I’ve mentioned previously that before I finished my first novel, JB, I had tried and failed with a number of other stories. I started out excited about every single one of them, but inevitably (it seemed) there would always come a point where I didn’t like the story anymore, I didn’t like what I was doing with it, I didn’t like what I had written, or I just lost the passion for it.
All of these unfinished projects were about girls. All except one, which seemed to capture my heart above all else. It was a vampire story (oh yes), and the protagonist was male. I loved diving into his head, for it was such a darker place, a more morbid place, a more sexy place, a more confused place than I had ever written about before. I wrote quite a bit of this ‘book’, and always intended to finish it, but I didn’t, for whatever reason.
And then I wrote a fanfic. About Merlin and Arthur, and again I felt that feeling of rightness, I suppose, when I wrote from Merlin’s perspective.
Cue hundreds of fics for several fandoms, the majority of them all written from a male perspective, the majority of them also including m/m relationships.
There was something about these fics that I was writing that just gelled with me. I felt more free in my writing, and more open, and all those good kinds of words. And then I decided to write JB. And, for the first time, I actually finished a book. I had an actual book, fifty thousand or so words, a hundred or so pages. And it was mine. These were my words on the page, and my hours of writing that had created them, and my characters, and my beginning and middle and end.
It was incredible. I had started to believe that perhaps, even though I wanted to write books, I wasn’t going to be able to.
And then I wrote my second novel, FA the following year. Two books now. Both about boys in love with boys.
It seems that writing boys is what I was supposed to do, and writing queer boys is what I am supposed to do. I don’t know if I will always write about these queer boy characters (I do have some queer girl stories in mind), but I know that when I write their stories I feel some sense of rightness. I worry sometimes about whether I can write a boy accurately, as I am not one myself, but I try my darnedest. I try my hardest to give these queer boys inside my head the love and attention and respect and words that they deserve.
Because their stories need to be told. For them. For me. For the real queer boys who need to see themselves. For the real queer boys who can find a book boyfriend. For readers looking for diverse books. For readers looking outside themselves. For you.
Their stories are important, and I am only one voice among many, and a voice that has yet to be heard. But my boys are here, and they’re queer, and they are the labour of my love. And they are the ones that have made writing an actual dream
almost come true. I will love them endlessly.