Hi, everybody! Today, in lieu of the usual flash fiction, I have with me LM Brown, the author of Touch of a Ghost from Silver Publishing. Enjoy!
Do you remember your first time?
The first time you read a same-sex novel that is.
I thought I did, but recently I discovered that my memory is somewhat deficient. No news there, since I can barely remember what I had for dinner last night let alone every book I have ever read – especially since we are well into the thousands in that regard.
Other than fan fiction slash stories, I had actually thought that the first same-sex novel I read was not that long ago. I had been tracking down some of my favourite authors online to see if they had any new books out and one of those was now writing male/male novels. I had gone for a look see and that was it – I was totally hooked on the genre.
Then, a few weeks ago I was chatting online with someone about English Literature classes and how they differ here in England to over in the USA. I hadn’t actually thought the classes could be that different since we had been – I thought – studying pretty much the same books.
You know, the usual suspects:-
Shakespeare – major yawn – sorry to be a traitor to my people, but every single one of his plays was a struggle for me to get through.
The Bronte sisters – we did Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, both of which I quite enjoyed.
Chaucer – we studied the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, which holds the distinction of being the most boring piece of text I ever had the misfortune to study. The tales themselves probably aren’t that bad, but the Prologue, for those who don’t already know, is merely the introduction of all the storytellers. We spent a year studying it and it actually made the days we were studying Shakespeare marginally less of a chore.
The only thing worse was the poetry, but I digress. I was chatting away about the books we had studied when I mentioned one that I had largely forgotten. The only reason I even remembered it at all was because I still have the book, stashed away in a cupboard with a lot of other texts from my school days.
The book was Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson.
I don’t recall finding the book particularly engrossing, but since it was studied shortly after we had read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou this was not really surprising. That particular book is one of the few I read at school where I immediately went to see what else the author had written, and read the book again after we were done with it for classes. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit didn’t really grip my attention in the same way and after I had read it for school I never really thought about it again.
My friend in the US seemed rather surprised when I told her about the novel being part of my English Literature classes in school, expressing the view that her school would never have included it as part of the course because of the same-sex topics in the book.
I never thought of my school as being particularly progressive. In fact, at the time I was there, I considered it to be quite the opposite. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Maybe some schools in the US wouldn’t allow the study of this book because of the topics it contains, but I would hope that there are some out there that would.
It isn’t a ground-breaking novel and, like I said, it didn’t exactly inspire me to read more of her works or even to pick up that book again. It was just a book I studied at school and the relationships in the book were no more criticised by my teacher than was that of Romeo and Juliet.
It was a book I didn’t think of again until I was sorting through the cupboard to find the books I had studied in school to compare notes with those over the pond.
Now, however, I will remember it as my first, and be thankful that my school, as backwards as it seemed whilst I was there, was in fact far more progressive than I realised at the time.
Thanks to Lindsay for having me here today. Now, everyone, what was your first time? And do you think your school would have allowed a same-sex novel onto their syllabus?
L.M. Brown is the author of the male/male romances Touch of a Ghost and Driving Me Crazy. Both are available from Silver Publishing and other ebook sellers.
Silver Publishing – http://silverpublishing.info/index/book_authors_id/54/typefilter/book_authors
Blog – http://lmbrownauthor.blogspot.com/
Website – http://lmbrownauthor.webs.com/
FaceBook - http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001471647696