Hey! We have a couple of winners! Congratulations to Dana Holmes and Maddy!
Happy Sunday morning! Today we welcome back a frequent guest here at Women and Words, Barbara Winkes. She’s got a new release coming out (she’s just not sure when exactly) called Amber Alert, and she couldn’t wait to tell us all about it.
Since she doesn’t have a release date for Amber Alert yet, she’s generously giving away two books to two winners. If you are chosen, you get to pick between Familiar Places and Indiscretions. Leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing. As always, I’ll draw the winners next Friday, June 5.
Introducing Ann McCoy
by Barbara Winkes
My next release with my publisher Eternal Press, Amber Alert, features a straight main character. After asking questions and listening to conversations within our genre, I decided it couldn’t harm to elaborate on this fact a bit more. I think Women and Words is a wonderful venue for doing so.
A couple of years ago, my wife and I went for a walk and happened to come by a shoe lost by a toddler on the lawn of an abandoned garage. This, coincidentally, was the same day the head of a known hate group made an outrageous statement about LGBT parents. It’s how stories are born: Two elements that have nothing to do with each other for most people, click together and there’s the spark of an idea.
The characters came to me quickly, Ann McCoy, the tough, tomboyish (and straight) detective, and her sister who is happily married to a woman. Chrissie and Rachel have a two-year-old daughter. Making decisions about characters in the early stages, before you’ve even written a word, is both spontaneous and pragmatic. As the story unfolds and the characters reveal more about their lives, the pieces come together.
Amber Alert, as the title suggests, is a mystery. I wanted the case to be personal for my investigator, but I didn’t want her to be a mother in this story. Both Ann and Chrissie seemed to be perfectly fine with the roles I gave them, because the book came together nicely.
In the course of it, Ann has to understand that while she loves her sister and has always kept in touch, there are many things about her she doesn’t know. While she’s dealing with her own troubles on the job and in relationships, she comes to understand a lot more about what it looks like to be confronted with homophobia on a fairly regular basis. Deeply-rooted hate does not always manifest itself in physical violence.
In fiction, we define what world we would like to live in, our hopes for change. This aspect made it especially interesting for me to write from a straight woman’s perspective, but Amber Alert isn’t just about the straight vs. lesbian point of view. It’s also the story of two very different women who, after the death of their parents, have to re-learn to communicate and truly respect the differences between them. Some of them have nothing to do with sexual orientation.
I have seen the assumption once in a while that a lesbian writer creating a straight character has mostly to do with monetary reasons. Well, I’m not counting my chickens or money yet. We all see the statistics once in a while about what a writer’s income looks like on average. A straight character might find a statistically larger audience, but they’re up against the same competition, millions of books released each year.
In this first book of the series, not only Chrissie, Rachel and their daughter play important roles, but other LGBT couples do as well.
Does it still count as lesbian fiction?
Some might say no, depending on how you define the term. I hope you’ll give it a chance anyway, but if you prefer lesbian pairings only in your reading, I have plenty to choose from as well. This month, I published Familiar Places, the second in the romantic suspense series about Jayce and Emma from Halfway Home. Indiscretions (coming in June) is a thriller about a rookie and a detective working together. They have to find a murderer who targets women he believes to be “immoral”.
Since I don’t have an actual release date for Amber Alert at this time (but wanted to talk about it anyway), I’ll have Jove pick two winners who’ll be able to chose between Familiar Places and Indiscretions. I’ll be sure to come back with a giveaway for Amber Alert once it’s out—for the Hootenanny at the latest!
Here’s where you find me meanwhile:
www.barbarawinkes.blogspot.ca I look forward to seeing you.