One of the great things about fiction is that we get to see the world through another’s eyes.
We can slip into the skin of a Caribbean pirate, a bounty hunter in Jersey, a spaceship captain, a child dealing with cancer, a vampire, a person living in the ghetto, a circus animal trainer, or a girl in Pakistan.
This is the gift of fiction. This is the way story connects us with people different from us, who’ve had different experiences. It has the potential to heal a fractured society.
What I Write
We can even see the world through the eyes of someone who is gay or transgender. Even if you’re not.
I write gritty tales about renegades, outlaws, and misfits. My current series is about Shea Stevens, an ex-con biker chick trying to survive in a world of outlaw biker gangs, drug traffickers, and corrupt cops.
In Snitch, the latest Shea Stevens thriller, Shea is forced to go undercover with the Athena Sisterhood, a women’s motorcycle club suspect of dealing lethal drugs. Meanwhile, the Confederate Thunder, a men’s outlaw biker club, sees the Sisterhood as intruding on their territory. A violent gang war ensues.
That’s the world I invite my readers to inhabit. Come slip into the skin of a badass biker chick.
The World I Know
If you’ve connected with me on social media for any length of time, you may have learned that I’m a biker chick that was once a member of a women’s motorcycle group. Write what you know, right?
I also happen to be gay. And transgender. Oooooh, scary!
Here is one of the things some people may find surprising about gay people: we have a lot of gay friends. Crazy, I know.
And trans people? Yeah, we have a lot of friends who are trans. Birds of a feather. Safety in numbers.
That women’s motorcycle group I was a part of? About half of the members were gay, bi, and/or transgender. I don’t know why. It wasn’t an LGBT group. Maybe lesbians are more inclined to drive motorcycles than straight women.
The World I Write
And so in my Shea Stevens biker thriller series, my protagonist, Shea Stevens, is gay. And she has a girlfriend who is also gay! What are the odds, right? And her business partner? He’s a trans guy.
In Snitch, some of the members of the Athena Sisterhood are—you guessed it—gay. One of them is transgender. And one out of the dozens of members of the Confederate Thunder may be secretly bi. What are the odds?
Egads! So many LGBT people!
But it gets worse, people. I also, in a few scenes, depict some of the issues that gay and trans people face on a daily basis. Like anti-LGBT hate speech and violence. Like anti-LGBT laws. Like access to trans-related healthcare.
It’s as if I’m actually trying to, in the course of a high-octane, nail-biting thriller about outlaw bikers, allow my readers to see what the world looks like if you’re a gay or trans biker. Like I’m daring to depict real people living in a real world.
Or as a few people have put it, I’m IN YOUR FACE about the GAY STUFF.
You know, the way Treasure Island was SO IN YOUR FACE about life as a pirate. The way that The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (the Swedish title translates as Men Who Hate Women) was SO IN YOUR FACE about the violence that women face. The way that Orange is the New Black is SO IN YOUR FACE about life as an incarcerated woman.
Step Into The Skin of Another
My books are not about being gay or trans. They are about life as an ex-con motorcycle builder in a world of outlaw biker clubs and narco street gangs and corrupt cops. A bike builder who happens to be gay. And this colors the way she experiences the world.
Come step into her skin. You can download the Shea Stevens prequel short story Boosted for free. Think of it as a quick test drive.
I hope you enjoy the ride as you step into the skin of another.