Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
Whenever I write trans lesbian erotic romance, I tend to draw on my life with my girlfriend. Eclipse the Stars is a story about a post-op trans woman, Renata, and her actress-girlfriend Jody. The story grew out of frustration, I must admit. There were a couple weeks this summer when, no matter where we went together, my girl was greeted with open arms and "Great to see you again" while I was greeted with "Oh, hello. It's nice to meet you." I bet a lot of readers can relate to that burning feeling in the pit of your stomach when you're suppressing the words, "We've already met! We've met, like, five times! Why don't you remember me?" Next to my beautiful girlfriend with her full and bubbly personality, I was starting to feel invisible, so I brought that to my fiction. By the way, the scene in the restaurant with the "old ladies" all calling Jody by the wrong name (Josie or Julie or Judy)--that totally happened to me. It's one of those situations that's only funny after the fact. :-)
Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
For the past three or four years, I've been donating royalties from my writing to an organization called LGBT Youthline. When the opportunity arose to get onboard with other authors to raise funds for It Gets Better, I was all over that. I love Youthline and will surely continue to give to them (and encourage others to do the same), but they are a local charity serving queer youth in the province I live in. It Gets Better has a larger reach.
Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
I've really lucked out as a queer woman: I have a family that's not just supportive or open-minded, but very nonchalant about who is gay or straight, or what your gender identity is, etc. I think my aunts and uncles have more lesbian friends than I do, to be honest. When I was a child, I had a strong personality and strong friendships. Calling me a lesbian (which, yes, did happen) tended to result in the name-caller being chastised by the peer group. And then I went to an arts high school with a lesbian principal, and gay was okay all the way. So, while I don't have a poor little queer girl story, I realize my case is so rare it probably sounds like a fantasy to a lot of people. I'm not saying my young life was perfect--I grew up in a household with addiction, where food money was spent on booze and violence was common--but through all that, I was still encouraged to be my most authentic self. Maybe my "It Gets Better" message is that a life of authenticity without apology really can exist.
Giselle Renarde's Eclipse the Stars reviewed by Sally at Bibrary