I could subtitle this post “Not-So-Frequently Asked Questions.” I’m guessing some readers who’ve been along for the ride ever since I wrote the Sun-Blessed Trilogy have wanted to ask these questions, so I’d like to answer them.
Are Your Books Clean?
I marketed my first series as “clean” fantasy. It was free of explicit sexual content, cursing, and gory violence.
I don’t love the term “clean,” as it insinuates that other books are “dirty.” I went with it since it’s a well-known term among some readers.
I’ve stopped using the term in my marketing for my second series. The Magic Eaters Trilogy is edgier. It includes some cursing (fairly mild words, but probably too many of them for a lot of “clean” readers.) The romance is hotter, though still what I’d consider appropriate for 14+, and there isn’t any sex. The level of violence hasn’t changed a lot compared to my first series; in fact, there may be a little less of it.
Here’s how I look at it:
- Language: To me, cursing is realistic, and it doesn’t hold the “taboo” for me that it once did. I’m far more concerned about the overarching messages my books convey.
- Sex: I want to show teenagers dealing with the reality of sexual desire and figuring out how to respond to it in responsible ways that aren’t shame based. I don’t get explicit, but I love sweet passion, and kissing scenes are some of my favorites to write and read! I’m a romantic at heart.
- Violence: I’m a big wimp when it comes to violence, so you probably won’t ever find me writing books with lots of gore.
I know some people want books that toe the “clean” line, and I fully respect that! Not every book fits every reader, and there are some amazing writers out there who fill the need for such literature.
Why Do Your Books Have LGBTQ+ Characters?
My first series was very heteronormative. In other words, anywhere romantic relationships were mentioned, they were heterosexual.
I wish that weren’t the case. Maya Angelou said, “When we know better, we do better.”
I’m a Christian. That’s been the case all my life. However, my beliefs on issues like same-sex relationships have changed over the years. I am an LGBTQ+ affirming Christian, and I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to take that stand. If you’d like to read about my reasoning—and my apology to LGBTQ+ folks for where I used to stand—check out this article I wrote.
I believe LGBTQ+ people are made in God’s image, and I affirm who they are. I want to include positive representations of them in my books. You’ll see that in The Magic Eaters Trilogy.
I know all of these topics are controversial ones, particularly among Christians or those who are devout adherents to certain other faiths. I want you to know I love you, wherever you stand.
If you check out my books, I hope they make you think, regardless of the conclusions you draw.