I am dangerously close to finishing a short story that has been on the back burner for a while. I write slowly. And that's also dangerous. Last year when Black Light, my novel, was published, it was the end of three decades of work. It's a rare thing when I come to an end. It's hard, I find to let go.
This story, as it turns out, is a prequel to Black Light. It's about Albrecht Christian as a young man, far, far before he meets Trace. It's set between WWI and WWII, when Albrecht is still adjusting to his new life as a psychic vampire, feeding off the misery and decay of Europe of the time.
I should have finished it months ago, but something has been holding me back.
After the election I could barely concentrate. I was lucky to get six paragraphs a day. I didn't expect that. I didn't expect to feel so afraid.
Awhile before all that a friend said to me, "I don't think your writing is holding you back. I just think that your characters are gay."
I know how that sounds, but she wasn't criticizing my choices, she was commenting on a fact. Queer stories have a smaller audience than straight. I knew that, but, last year when Black Light came out, I thought the gap was closing. I mean, I read books about straight people, right? And I met a bunch of the people who bought the book.They seemed to be everybody.
But then November came, and you all know that story. So, I spent a while thinking about why I write, and who I write. Because suddenly I became afraid. Afraid that even less people would read my stories. Afraid that it exposed me in a way that felt new to me. And I forgot that the best fiction is about what scares you. And that good words are dangerous.
So soon I will have completed a story about Albrecht Christian,gay psychic vampire and his first true love, a powerful black magician and the Loch Ness monster. Yep, you read that right. It turns out that I like the story. iIt might find a home, it might now. But that doesn't matter, really. the finishing of it reminded me to write the story that I have. No matter what.
I think I've got my faith back now.