Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Queer Romance Blog Hop Visits Giselle!

Welcome to the Queer Romance Blog Hop, where queer writers and readers of queer romance share their thoughts on the genre, as well as a few recommendations for books to read! Everyone participating in this blog hop identifies as queer and also reads and/or writes (or edits, or reviews!) queer romance. For our purposes, queer romance refers to books with:
1. LGBTQ+ main characters
2. In romantic relationships
3. That have a happy ending. (No Brokeback Mountain here, folks!)
1. Let’s start off with the getting-to-know-you stuff: How do you identify, and what does that mean to you? Whatever level of detail you’re comfortable with, of course!

Giselle Renarde: I'm queer, kind of genderfucked--at least internally (every male stereotype applies to me).  My primary attraction is to women, but I'm a never-say-never type.

2. What’s your preferred “flavour” of queer romance (e.g. trans*, f/f, m/m, menage with queer characters, etc.) Why?

Giselle Renarde: Trans lesbian romance particularly appeals to me, since I happen to be in a relationship with a trans woman, but I have this funny way of assuming that every book I pick up is going to have queer content. Specifically, I assume there will be lesbians in everything I read.  That's probably an offshoot of my queer-brained thinking that every person I meet is LGBT. 

3. Do you write/read/review? Do you think being queer affects your participation or platform in romancelandia?

Giselle Renarde: I know I'm never supposed to admit this (considering I write the stuff), but I've never read a romance novel in my entire life.  The only reason I started tacking happy endings onto my erotic manuscripts was that editors told me I had to.  I have this Egoyanesque love of all things fucked up. I'd rather see everybody die in misery at the end of the book, but I can write for readers whose tastes differ from my own.

4. What drew you to queer romance?

Giselle Renarde: I arrived at romance via erotica, but the queer aspect... well, I couldn't NOT write queer fiction if I tried. And I did, because another thing those early-days editors told me was to stop writing all these quirky stories about lesbians and bisexual women. "Nobody buys that stuff. There's no point writing it."

Well, I wrote it anyway.  Some of my best work is "that stuff" people told me not to write.

5. What do you love about queer romance in general, and/or your specific subgenre?

Giselle Renarde: When I was a kid, I always felt left out watching Disney movies.  Even at four years old I knew that kind of romance wasn't inclusive.  I knew it wasn't MY story.  Realistically, I'm not a romantic, but I always wanted to see representations of queer love.

6. What’s your pet peeve?

Giselle Renarde: I don't know if I'd call it a pet peeve, but selling lesbian romance is ridiculously hard--especially if one or more of those women is trans. In the romance field, it seems like only a very slim variety sells (meaning M/M--actually there's a pet peeve: I feel like the terms f/f and m/m place gay and lesbian identity under erasure or at least co-opt those identities. But anyway...).  I can almost understand why editors told me not to "bother" writing lesbian fiction.  Just the other day I got an email from an LGBT review site letting me know that their reviewers weren't interested in reading Friday Night Lipstick, which happens to be the most romantic story I've ever written (I cry every time I read it).  It's also a lesbian romance in which both women are transgender and 50+ in age.  Try getting anyone to buy that. Please! 

7. What growth would you like to see in the genre, going forward? Any ideas on how to accomplish that?

Giselle Renarde: I'm not sure how to answer that, since I write queer romance but I don't actually read it.  I just don't know what's out there.  But I guess editors telling authors not to bother writing queer women doesn't help.

8. Do you seek out other queer authors when you read?

Giselle Renarde: I probably am more inclined to read more of an author's books if I know the writer is queer, but it's not something I've ever really thought about.

9. How do you feel, in general, about straight peoples’ participation in reading, writing, and reviewing queer romance?

Giselle Renarde: If straight people bought my books, then I'd be all, "Yay, somebody bought my books! Now I don't have to eat porridge for every meal."  So... yeah. Buy my books, whoever you are.

10. Rec us 3 titles in your chosen subgenre and tell us why you love them.

Giselle Renarde: I won't be a dick and recommend my own books (though, honestly, I'm tempted) but because I don't read romance my recs will have to be in the genre I do read, which is lit fic.  The Canadian-er, the better:

1. The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald (Queer Canadian author/lesbian MC as far as I recall)
2. The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall (called the first lesbian novel--a must-read)
...and because my brain isn't retrieving any more fiction right now, #3 is non-fiction:
3. Opening Up by Tristan Taormino (A guide to creating and sustaining opening relationships)
And because I had the self-restraint to not recommend my own books, my reward is allowing myself to tell you my award-winning trans lesbian Christmas novel The Red Satin Collection is back on the market, as an ebook and now in print!

Thanks for reading and for following the tour! Be sure to use the links below to check out more great posts from our participants!


  1. Wow, thank you. I really enjoyed this interview.

  2. thank you for writing lesbian romance with trans characters. Even if it is hard to sell them (I know how hard it is to sell romance with non gay cisgender men as characters) I think it is a really worthwhile thing and now I am excited about checking out your books!