I was also incredibly pleased with how delightfully gay the subplots of this book were. Madame Lefoux is a fantastic addition to the main cast, and Alexia’s naiveté as Lefoux flirts with her is fantastic. It’s not just Lefoux, though: Angelique, Countess Nadasdy, and both Alexia and Lefoux’s fathers are outed as well (they were dallying with each other, which makes Lefoux flirtation that much more fantastic). Add in Akeldama and Biffy, and a couple of hints about Woolsey’s Beta, and it’s possibly the gayest mainstream book I’ve read in a while.
The Librarian is not the first to notice. I also, recently, keep getting asked… why?
(Leaving aside what readers should be asking is “why” of every other het-only narrative out there…)
I grew up in-and-around San Francisco in the 1980s immersed in the dying threads of the Beat Generation. This should tell you many things, but relevant to this post are the following two points.
All the stable relationships I observed in my youth were gay men. These relationships were, to my innocent eyes, incredibly romantic, artistic, loving, and enriching both to the couple in question and the world they inhabited. Aside from myself, all my little friends were the property of neurotic single mothers. (Yes, I intend the use of the word property.) You can imagine this gave me a rather interesting outlook on romance.
The second thing?
All these wonderful relationships buckled under the weight of three little letters.
The Victorians… Totally Gay
So far as my books are concerned, there is another balance to this equation, which is the Victorian world itself. The England of 1870 was a morally conservative, anti-hedonistic, ultra-religious place full of individuals who valued duty above all else, and regarded anything that smacked of fun as suspicious. This comes off to most Americans as, frankly, gloomy.
Because I have the luxury of writing alt-history, I injected the comedy back into Victorian England through the vehicle of immortality combined with my childhood memories.
Also, let’s be clear that prior to the Wilde case Victorian England was likely a lot gayer than history lessons and movies might lead you to believe.
The Immortals… Totally Queer
This seems logical to me. After all, if you live for hundreds of years, no matter how straight your inclinations initially, you are likely to get, well, bored and experimental as the decades roll by. And I warn you all now, this probably goes both directions. Don’t settle Lord Akeldama too firmly on the Kinsey scale, for there may well have been a young lady or two in his past. Not that I think sexuality is a choice, just more fluid than the binary system has imposed upon humanity for thousands of years.
The vampires and werewolves in my books can get away with this, of course, because they are supernatural creatures. Church and moral law has no bearing on them for Victorians perceive them as outside the natural order. Ironically, this allows them the power to be even more extravagant and trend setting.
It is no accident that excess soul is linked to creativity in my universe, and that my immortals are forced by procreative necessity to become, basically, patrons of the arts. My Victorian world emphasizes the split between those of a theatrical inclination and the rest of society, but also the strange power that the vampires in particular have over the aesthetic mindset of the ton.
This is not so very far-fetched. Throughout history is it the disenfranchised who not only bring about social change, but underwrite society’s most dearly beloved (and consequently disregarded) frivolities: music, art, fashion, architecture, dance, or comedic literature.
Sorry to get a tad academic, but I guess what I am trying to say is the following:
There are queer characters in my books because there are queer people in my life and soul, always have been, so it would not be my universe without them. They are as fallible, flawed, and as changeable as any other characters.
There are also queer characters in my books because (for me) they correlate to the most dynamic part of any society, the part that brings about wonder.
Romancing the Werewolf (Gail’s first gay main character romance)
Romancing the Inventor (Gail’s first lesbian main character romance)
These books are part of Gail’s Supernatural Society Novella series which features only queer main characters.
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Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Tisane of Smart:
Because the Egyptian goons will come in and deny your permit or shut down your site few Egyptologists will talk about this tomb publicly. But I worked for years inside the museum and archaeological world and I can tell you there is very little contention outside of Islamic countries that this is, in fact, the tomb of a gay couple.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
“Even though it may be satirical, Soulless is not without its serious messages. Tolerance and the dangers of science come to the fore as the story proceeds along its path. Good and evil are not easily discerned as “monsters” protect the Crown, fops come to the rescue, and (heaven forbid!) women hold positions of power.”
Quote of the Day:
“Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law.”
~ Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, A.D. 524