Join Prism Book Alliance® as Posy Roberts goes Outside the Margins today.
Once authors hit Publish, our books are out of our hands and in the hands of readers. As authors, we know (or quickly learn) we will never satisfy every reader no matter how hard we try. It’s impossible and evidenced by going to pretty much any authors’ book reviews. Some are scathing, some are fabulous, and all for the same book.
Each of us brings our own experiences to a book, so the lenses we read through might not look anything like the lenses the writers wrote their books through. And many reviews tell us more about the reviewer than the book.
I recently read a review accusing the author of not being a gay man because of the way in which his character hit on another man. There’s only one way? I think there are many, but I’ve read reviews stating gay men are this and bi men are that, clearly dictating what authors could and couldn’t do based on something arbitrary, often left undefined.
Coming at this as an author, I want to emphasize that each and every one of my characters is an individual. They’re not meant to represent all gay men, all bisexual men, all drag queens, all women, all POC, all blondes, all white people, or all of any group. No author I know would ever want to take on that burden. It’s impossible and an exercise in futility. People are far too varied for that to ever work unless we wrote cardboard characters where readers were required to fill in all the blanks. But what’s the fun in that? It’s not nearly as fun as Mad Libs.
Hudson, from Naked Organics, represents Hudson. He doesn’t represent every Cuban American. In fact, he’s a pretty crappy representation because he rejected almost everything from his father’s culture because of how his father rejected him once he came out.
The four men who live together on a commune in Naked Organics are not meant to represent all gay men but only themselves. Leo is a therapist specializing in sexual dysfunction by day, so men who might need a little extra help adjusting to living on the commune or healing from past abuses are taken under Leo’s wing. Did I write this with the intention of saying all gay men are damaged good? Not at all. I wrote about four men healing each other through communal and shared sexual experiences, rather than all men or all people living on communes or all therapists or all gay men.
I tend to write about bisexual characters, and more than once, I’ve been asked why I didn’t just write the character as gay if there were no interactions with women on the page. Some have claimed my character was really gay despite my character clearly identifying as bi. All that does is make me more determined to keep writing about bisexual characters, continuing to confront the bierasure so prevalent in our society.
I write about characters who define themselves based on many things, such as where they grew up, who they grew up around, their culture, and what they experienced there. Even in the same household, being raised by the same parents, living under the same rules, going to the same schools, we end up with unique experiences from siblings.
Analog to Digital, my holiday story this year, is based on the culture in which I grew up and the area where I currently live. I brought a lot of my own experiences into that, but that’s not to say my way of eating lefse if the only way Scandinavians eat it.
I often read fiction because I want to see the world through someone else’s eyes. I want books to challenge me to think differently, to pull me out of my world. I read to experience something I can’t live through anywhere else but a book.
And when I’m choosing a book, I look at the cover and blurb more than I do reviews because I don’t want the lens of a reviewer to color the story the author is sharing with me. I’d rather come at it with a clean slate.
Do you read reviews? What gets you to click Buy?
Title: Analog to Digital
Author: Posy Roberts
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: 12/01/2016
Cover Artist: Posy Roberts
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance, Winter Holiday
For years, Ethan and Toby have said they’ll never marry, despite Ethan’s secret wishes. So leaving sunny California for snowy Minnesota to witness his sister’s vow renewal is not how he wants to spend his Christmas Eve. It’s the second time she’ll say “I do” in less than a year, when Ethan saying those words to Toby even once is hopeless.
In the run-up to the ceremony, Toby seems to avoid Ethan, and doubts grow in his absence. Ethan can’t help noticing Toby spends more time with Ethan’s family than with him. Little does Ethan know, Toby has desires of his own. But if Toby doesn’t find a way to reveal them, Ethan could leave for home without him.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar “Bah Humbug.”
LOOKING UP from the doodle I’d started on a cocktail napkin, I ordered. “Surly Furious. Two, please.” It was the beer I’d begged my sister to ship to me from back home. I wanted to give my employees a taste of Minnesota, even if they relentlessly teased me about my accent and “unfathomable” work ethic. I didn’t end up owner of a top-rated design house by the time I was in my midtwenties by phoning it in, so I never let their jibes bother me much.
The server reached for glasses after cracking each large can with a pfft and pfft, but I waved him off. “We’ll drink ’em right from the can, thanks.”
I slipped a ten in his tip jar and turned to the center of the distinctive ballroom, where people were dancing. His thanks trailed after me as I made my way over to Toby, who looked ready to blend into the leather couch while the room buzzed around him.
I pressed the chilled beer into his warm palm. “Here. This is the one I told you about.”
He took a sip and looked at me with dark eyes before taking another few swallows. He smiled when he finally set the can down. “It’s good. Real good.”
“Told ya.” I leaned in and kissed the beer foam that clung to his mustache. His beard brushed my chin, and as much as I wanted to get lost in his kisses, I was there as the boss tonight and couldn’t really let go like I wanted.
“Look at you two! So in love.” Stella, my right-hand and necessary coconspirator in most projects, plopped herself in the chair next to me and sipped at a neon-pink drink garnished with at least three fruit kabobs. Her eclectic style, mostly latent punk rocker meets Vargas pinup girl, was in full bloom. She would’ve fit perfectly on the nose of an Air Force plane or at any dance club in the city.
I smiled at her as I leaned against Toby’s shoulder. The sparkle in her lined eyes made what she was about to ask obvious.
“When are you two going to finally tie the knot?”
“We’re not,” Toby said without a second’s hesitation.
About Posy RobertsPosy Roberts writes about romantic male love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.
Posy is married to a man who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep; her daughter, a budding author and dedicated Whovian, helps her come up with character names. When Posy’s not writing, she enjoys crafting, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make normal seem more interesting.
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