My Lovely Lesbians
The sexuality of fictional characters is a subject that fascinates me. I think it's because they have such clear sexuality to me, and it is so tied in to their whole identity and personality. It's such a real dynamic.
I never "set out" to write a book with a gay lead, any more than I set out to write one with a straight lead. I do get ideas, and from time to time I think about how I'd like to write about a certain matchup or dynamic, maybe a poly trio or a transgender character. I can't start with that, though. I can't write the character to suit the plot point. The character has to be there first.
One thing I love about new characters is that there is so much more to them than merely being straight or gay or bisexual. Their sexual personalities are so diverse and unique, which is where the uniqueness of the stories comes from. I may have published two lesbian romance novels, but the stories, the circumstances, the love matches, the leading ladies themselves, are all different. It's more than who they take to bed. It's about who they are.
Rhiannon, from my first novel Lotus Petals, is more feminine. Fans of Lotus Petals may find that strange, since Rhiannon touts some very anti-feminine opinions (she hates being called 'princess' and despises dresses), but when it comes down to it, she is a woman more expressive in her feminine nature. She is womanly, and she loves women.
Reagan, from my second book Goblin Fires, could easily be a boy. She's not male-identified and she doesn't feel disassociated from her biological gender. She's just not feminine and has no care towards femininity. She became a character I imagined would be equally comfortable as male or female. But her ambivalence towards her own female-ness does not extend to her appreciation of other women. She loves women, wildly and passionately. She loves feminine women, loves their breasts and hips and soft planes. She's definitely a lady-killer.
Rhiannon would identify as gay, but she's not immune to a bit of bi-curiosity. Reagan, on the other hand, hasn’t got a single bi-curious bone in her body. She gets along just fine with men, but they're about as sexually interesting to her as a cardboard toilet paper tube. Rhiannon can be a little kinky; Reagan, mostly vanilla. Both prioritize the pleasure of their partners, though Rhiannon does so because it turns her on to see another made helpless with desire, while Reagan simply loves to serve her lovers. These are all things I just know about them. It's part of their sexual personalities.
Sometimes I like to imagine how each woman might be different with a male partner, just to hypothesize how the situation changes. The littlest things alter characters on a 'molecular' level, I've found. Their story—their persona—is made wildly different.
I really enjoy exploring the sexualities of the characters that come to me. I've written about lesbians who knew from day one that they would fall in love with a lady. I've written lesbians surprised to discover their own sexual desires run towards women. Right now I've got a pot simmering about a late-in-life lesbian taking a chance with another woman for the first time. A mature woman/younger lover story. I've already "met" my leading lady, but her story is still on the fire for now.
Of course, I write characters who are straight as arrows as well. Many of my published short stories happen to be about these straight characters. And of course, many of my characters simply fall upon a spectrum, neither 100% straight nor 100% gay, but having an interest and willingness that is purely their own, and shaped by their personalities. The character of Talaith, one of Reagan's fae lovers, is a woman I would consider "perfectly bisexual". Equally interested in male as well as female lovers.
What I worry about, writing lesbian fiction, is that at the most accessible level—early budding erotic writers—it is so often fetishized, relying on a perceived 'kink' of girl-on-girl action. I find it funny: it seems much more acceptable for gay erotica, featuring two men, to focus on the emotional needs and complications of the characters, finding eroticism though the emotional as well as the physical interactions. Most authors who set out to write male gay fiction understand this as part of the genre. If not taken seriously, though, lesbian fiction can easily miss the mark and be reduced merely to pornographic renditions of two women screwing. This also gives the genre a false appearance to those outside of it.
It's so easy to sacrifice the honesty of personality and character in favor of unabashed porn. It's just not very good writing. But that's for another blog post.
It's been too long since I spent time with my own lady-loving ladies. It might sound a little surprising, seeing as I've released two lesbian novels this year, but of course there's quite a lot of work in between writing a story and seeing it to press. My workload's been taken up by a lot of hetero couples and a few wonderful gay men, as of late...but I've definitely been yearning to return to the stories of deeply passionate women, and the love—or lust—they find in the arms of their own beautiful girls.
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Aphrodite: lesbian fiction on Breathless Press: http://tinyurl.com/moy2t8s
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When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.
In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology. She's also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on. She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com.
Rhiannon Donovan, daughter to the vampire Queen, would rather die than be made a bride to a demon Lord. Aijyn, courtesan to the undead Daimyo of Kansai, can think of nothing more horrifying than his promise of eternal life. In the halls of the Blood Lotus Temple, the two women struggle against the chains of their fate, and find a solace in each other that could mean freedom for them both... or might cost each of them their lives.
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