(Editor’s Note: Kelly York is the author of HUSHED. Check out our review of it here.)
When I first started writing HUSHED, up until the point I started querying it to agents, I thought nothing except: “This is the story I want to tell.”
Not once did I wonder what kind of reaction I might get to having written a male/male pairing. Even when it did dawn on me that some agents might not be into that, I wasn’t worried about that in particular. It had more to do with, “I’ve written a male/male pairing…and I’m not a guy. How the hell do I know if Archer’s voice is accurate?”
That was what worried me. Wondering if I had somehow managed to capture the right voice and tone for a character like Archer. I’d had zero complaints about it from beta-readers, and…surprisingly, I didn’t get any complaints from agents, either.
The closest I got to a complaint about Archer and his sexuality was someone asking, “Why is he totally cool with being attracted to another guy if this is the first time it’s happened?”
My initial response was, “Why does it have to be a big deal? Why can’t he realize this is the person he likes and leave it at that?” It made me think a lot about Archer as a person, and I realized why he reacted the way he did to finding himself attracted to someone of the same sex.
Because that’s exactly how it happened for me.
There was no huge revelation. No crash of lightning, no identity crisis. No long, drawn-out thing where I wondered, “Am I…?”
For me, it was as simple as this: I met a girl I liked…and I asked her out.
I’m not saying it’s the norm. In fact, most gay people I know had more to it than that. But there are people out there who didn’t have a problem when realizing they were attracted to the same sex. Archer happens to be one of those people.
When I acknowledged this about him, I considered changing it. Maybe making him more confused, having him do more self-discovery to reach that point. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought—why should I? I didn’t want HUSHED to be an issue book, nor did I want Archer’s sexuality to be the spotlight of the story.
(Besides that, given everything else going on in his life, I think realizing he likes another guy is kind of low on the list of “wow” factors…)
Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a call for issue books and coming out stories. That will never change. But I’m happy my book can join the ranks of stories wherein a character can discover this about themselves and enjoy a smooth transition.
What do you guys think? Does it read unrealistic to you for a character to not have more of a reaction to that same-sex attraction, or is it refreshing to see? Why?
Kelley was born and raised in central California, where she still resides with her lovely wife, daughter, and an abundance of pets. (Although she does fantasize about moving across the globe to Ireland.) She has a fascination with bells, adores all things furry – be them squeaky, barky or meow-y – is a lover of video games, manga and anime, and likes to pretend she’s a decent photographer. Her life goal is to find a real unicorn. Or maybe a mermaid.
Find Kelly Online: http://www.kelley-york.com/blog
Be sure to check out Kelly’s new book, HUSHED:
Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another – Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed. Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is.
But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn’t get what she wants…And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hushed-kelley-york/1033904538