I've told this story many times before.
I failed miserably, as always. If you see a book I've written calling itself a romance, please take that with a grain of salt. My books are queer fiction and erotica. If some of them contain some romance in passing, I hope readers find it fulfilling, but my work contains enough cheating and deception to piss off most romance readers.
So when I started writing "In Shadow," I was hoping for a sexy little cash cow. Instead, I ended up with an unreliable narrator conveying a story that is, in essence, an allegory of the contemporary relationship between Indigenous Peoples and settlers in Canada--a relationship that is all too often prettified, or at very least whitewashed.
I'll let you guess how many readers were anxiously awaiting this book's release. Here's a hint: not a lot.
Canadians are so nice. No matter where you live in the world, that's the one thing you know about us. We're SO NICE. And I think that niceness is what leads us to not want to discuss colonization and its impact on Indigenous Peoples down the generations. It's not nice to think about the negative ways in which our presence on stolen land has impacted (and continues to impact) the lives of those who were here long before us.
But we're so nice! We had good intentions!
Well, when your good intentions lead to cultural genocide, guess what? Fuck those "good intentions," because look at their impact. It's time to stop hiding behind the idea of good intentions and start acknowledging the history of this country for what it really is.
And not just history! We need to pay attention to what's going on in the present moment too. This is supposed to be a time of Truth and Reconciliation, and all I'm seeing are a bunch of streamers and party hats.
But history is a good starting point, because many horrendous atrocities have been committed against Canada's First Peoples. The more history you learn, the more you feel like a piece of shit. But that's a good thing! We all need to get our heads out of the sand a little more and do a lot more acknowledging the consequences of residential schools and similar acts of colonization.
I highly recommend watching APTN's Reel Insight series of documentaries by Indigenous filmmakers. Potlatch Keepers, in particular, is a film I found very moving because of its complexities. I also learned a lot about the ways in which important rituals were criminalized by the Canadian Government.
Today is National Aboriginal Day (which, I hear, will henceforth be known as National Indigenous Peoples Day), so maybe it's shitty of me to give you a book featuring a main character who can't wrap her head around her own racism. But I'm giving this book to you for free, so I don't feel too bad. It's a book I want a lot of people to read. It's a book I think a lot of people need to read.
And if you want to ignore the sordid undercurrent that carries the story forward and read "In Shadow" as a paranormal stepbrother romance where a girl gets raped by a ghost a bunch of times, you can do that too. I don't control your brain. I just wrote a book. What you do with it is up to you.
In Shadow is free this month (ebook only) at many retailers, including: