What if heterosexuality were a crime? Introducing BASTIA (Fall of 2013)

Many of my readers are new to the F/F genre, and I often hear the following comments:

  • I don’t like F/F.
  • F/F makes me uncomfortable, but since your stories are largely about friendship they are easier to read.
  • The idea of F/F makes me uneasy.

These comments are often followed by, “But I like your stories.” I truly appreciate the compliment, and in many cases I take pride that my stories have helped to change some people’s assumptions that stories of female relationships must always center around sex. Kat and Natalie lie in a curious zone of not-quite-lovers-but-more-than-friends. Only with Simple Gifts have I branched out into a fully developed romance. Part of the reason for this reticence (although only a part) is that I did not want to deal with anti-LGBT backlash. I want to write stories of people who love each other, not political statements about sexuality.

A side note: I have given M/F a try (and the second installment of The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus, affectionately known as “Vennie”, should be coming out soon), and I enjoy exploring the old-fashioned dynamics of a DD couple. I enjoy a lovely M/F relationship just as much as the next person, but there is something so tender, so intimate, and so precious about the love between two women.

In my journey of publishing, submitting cover art requests, sending books out for review, and interacting with other authors and readers I have returned to the same paradox again and again:

People feel comfortable telling me that F/F is not their thing, but the same people find it offensive when I say that M/F is not mine.

As a writer, I have puzzled over this many times. Certainly, M/F is the majority. In many religions and societies, M/F is the only morally correct mode of living. When I fill out cover art request forms that ask me to describe my “hero and heroine”, I understand this is a case of majority dominance rather than prejudice.

Yet I struggle to explain why things like these matter. When the basic fabric of our lives is built on the assumption that only relationships between men and women need to be acknowledged, how does that limit our perspectives? Our capacity to understand viewpoints that are not of the majority?

Out of this curiosity, I asked myself these questions:

What if LGBT were “normal” and heterosexuality were not?

What if heterosexuality were, in fact, not just abnormal but a crime to be prosecuted and punished by the state government and religion?

What would this world look like? What small changes would be made to protect the state’s mandate of same-sex relationships? What if children were taught, from the time they could first talk, that the state’s religious deity decreed all men should create families with other men, and all women should create families with other women?

What if a college girl, born and bred to be married to another young girl from a powerful family, discovered she had feelings for the male friend she had previously considered a brother?

In Bastia, a series premiering this fall with Becoming Clissine, a girl named Clissa finds out the unspeakable:

She loves a boy.

And her world will never be the same again.