Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Aidan Wayne for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.
Author: Aidan Wayne
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Gay, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, Romance
Release Date: 09/12/2016
John loves his job as head rigger for Cirque Brilliance. The heavy scarring over half his face makes it a little hard to meet new people, but John’s got a good crew and a nice found family, and he’s content with his lot in life.
When Cirque hires talent for a new show, John meets Bao, a bright, ever-cheerful acrobat. Bao seems drawn to John and becomes a constant presence at his side—talking to him during downtime, spending time with him at lunch, and generally seeking out his company.
John doesn’t know what to make of this. Sure, he likes Bao—maybe a little too much, honestly—but he’s had enough experience to know that Bao couldn’t possibly like him back. Or so he thinks, anyway. Fortunately, Bao seems determined to prove him wrong.
I am not the best at envisioning what my characters look like. Sometimes, when it’s important to the plot, I’m able to do this easily; Bao being Chinese, for instance, or John having scars. Those details I knew from the get-go. However, from there things get fuzzy. Past (usually) knowing their approximate heights, I often have very little visual idea of my characters.
I think mostly in words, not in pictures. I don’t build up stories like movies in my head. Instead I seem them come together as words on a screen, lines building themselves up and linking together to form a piece. Unfortunately, character description doesn’t lend itself very well to this method–at least not for me. I do know certain details; I know that Bao is most likely in the 5’5” to 5’6” range, a good height for male handbalancers. I know that John is well-built and well-muscled, from a job that involves a lot of moving and heavy lifting. I’ve also always imagined John as bald, that he prefers to keep his whole head shaved over dealing with patchy spots around his burn scars. But aside from that, I’ve got nothing.
This can be problematic if I’m trying to write a character who isn’t Caucasian. With Bao, that he is Chinese is obvious. After all, it’s mentioned in the story. But sometimes I have characters who aren’t Caucasian and I never find a good part in the story to make that clear. It is an issue, and something I am working to fix. It isn’t always enough to just say “let the audience decide.”
With representation, sometimes making no choice IS making a choice. It can be with something as simple as a name; if I don’t choose a name that represents a specific ethnicity, it’s as if I haven’t written it, especially when I am not doing a lot of visual character description. Of course a name is just a name, and a character named Kate should not be assumed white. But if there are no descriptions, she probably will be, over a character named Samyuktha.
It’s a tricky line to walk, in no small part because I’m considered, at least by American standards, to be Caucasian myself. I don’t want to overstep in a world where I am not speaking from my own experiences.
But I’m a writer, and I believe in what I’m writing. I believe in better representation of minority characters, and I will do my utmost best to write that and write it well. All I want with my work is to make people happy. I will always have things to learn and room to grow. However, in the meantime I am trying and I hope that counts for something too.
To celebrate the release of Counterbalance, one lucky winner will receive $20 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 17, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
About the Author
Aidan Wayne is a big believer in character-driven stories with happy endings. This is not to say that stories can’t contain a little (or a lot) of grief, just that at the end of it all expect there to be bandages and hugs. They particularly like to write about minority characters because damn it, they deserve happy endings too.
When not writing, Aidan enjoys practicing aerial, martial arts, and ASL, and watching reality cooking shows. They are probably in the middle of twelve projects as you read this.
One random commenter with thoughtful, relevant comments will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2016.
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