Two days ago I stood in the parking lot of my daughter’s elementary school, waiting to pick her up, when the PTA president sees me. She’s in her car across the parking lot. She yells a greeting. I wave back.
She: “Hey, didn’t you write a book? How is that coming?”
Me, beaming: “It’ll be in bookstores in the spring.”
She: “Great. What kind of book was it again?”
I notice heads swiveling in my direction, moms and dads and grandparents. They look at me expectantly.
Me: “A romance novel.”
Satisfied most people tune out. The PTA president waves and drives off.
Later, I kick myself.
Yesterday I had lunch with a bunch of ladies I didn’t know (I had to attend an educational function). Someone asked me what I worked.
Me, beaming: “I’m a writer.”
Heads swivel in my direction. Six women ranging in age from early twenties to late fifties look at me with curiosity.
“What do you write?”
Me: “I used to be a reporter, but now I write fiction. In fact, I just finished a book that will be available in the Spring.”
Me: “Yes, it’s a gay romance novel.”
“So, uh, what does gay mean?”
Me: “It’s a novel about two men.”
“So, uh, two men. Is there, like, uh, a damsel in distress?”
Me, thinking of the chapter I just revised and Soren saving Mason’s life: “In a way.”
I explain a bit more about the story. I offer my reason for writing gay fiction. We discuss the concept of men in vulnerable circumstances (the “damsel”) and books in general. Right before the lunch break is over, six women whip out pencils and paper and ask me for the name of the novel and if they’ll find it at Borders when it comes out.