Hey hey hey! Welcome back for another Wednesday! Today I’m excited to bring to you Chelsea M. Cameron, bestselling author of a number of books, whose most recent release is the second of the OTP series! In this post, Cameron gets personal and talks about how realizing her own queer identity affected and changed her writing.
Let’s check it out, shall we?
In 2012 when I published my first book (a YA paranormal), I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d tell me that one day I would be writing only queer books. I would have said “no, I’m cis and heterosexual thank you very much” and walked away. But a voice at the back of my mind would have whispered in my ear and I would have thought about it. I would have wondered. In the middle of the night, it would have nagged at me. Still, I would have scoffed.
And then 2015 happened and I realized that no, I was NOT heterosexual and late last year figured out I might not be cis either. It’s been a little bit of a ride.
When I first figured everything out, I had every intention of continuing to write non-queer m/f romance. That was what I had been doing all along (with the exception of one bisexual character), and it had been working fine. It was fine.
I went back to work like nothing had changed, but it had. I had changed. Even being out to just myself had altered so much that I couldn’t go back. And, let’s face it, I hadn’t been happy. Sure, I had had some wonderful writing experiences. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else as a career, but it no longer felt right. Like a sweater I had outgrown.
I tried. I really, really tried. And it wasn’t right.
Then came an idea for a f/f book that I couldn’t ignore. I didn’t plan on writing it for a while. After all, I’d barely come out, and I didn’t feel comfortable writing something like that yet. I was still having so many doubts about my own queerness. If it was “real” or not. If I had picked the right label. If I was just doing it to be cool, or for attention. The idea persisted, and I wrote the book anyway after some encouragement from friends, and I figured I’d go ahead and publish it.
Everything changed from that first book. It was the single best writing experience I’d ever had. Each word was a joy. It was like the story had been waiting inside me, waiting for me to be ready for it.
Other books came after that and my writing career veered in a direction I never expected. In some ways, I’m starting over. I’m building a new brand, a new fanbase. It’s awful and wonderful at the same time. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have SO much support, but I do feel guilt. Sometimes I mourn for the career I had. I mourn for the ease of marketing and finding fans. That’s not to say it was a walk in the park, but it’s much easier to pitch a non-queer m/f romance than a f/f romance. That’s just the way it is. Sometimes it makes me angry. Sometimes it makes me sad. And sometimes I want to say “screw you” and write as much queer stuff as possible, so that’s what I’m going to do, and keep doing, as long as I can. My ultimate wish is to be dubbed “the queer Nora Roberts.” I only have a few hundred books to write to get there…
Chelsea M. Cameron is a New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine who now lives and works in Boston. She’s a red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car, tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman) and playing fetch with her cat, Sassenach. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.
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