It’s the time of year when people are looking for holiday romances. My friend Mercy Zephyr has written a sweet contemporary transgender romance that I really enjoyed reading. Here’s my interview with Mercy:
How did you come to write this book?
This is the first book I wrote. It was coming up on the holidays, and I felt left out of the festivities; transgender women don't exactly get written into Hallmark specials. Every Thanksgiving, there's a Thanksgiving dinner me and my husband go to for all the people in the community whose family have rejected them, so that feeling is there; Plus, a lot of us feel like we're not going to find love, and I touch on that in the book, but it's important to have hope, so I wanted to give some of that hope away to people who needed it. Not only that, but a lot of cisgender people who read it found it to be a great read and learned a lot, too.
I agree, I had fun reading it and learned a lot myself! I know you published this book, and some of our readers are interested in that process. How did that happen for you?
The story popped into my head, and I wrote it out, self-edited it, studied how to create a cover and designed it myself, then set up my web presence and published it late on Christmas Eve last year. That's a pretty terrible time to publish a Christmas story, since nobody will really notice it until after Christmas, but it took longer than I thought it would at first.
These things always do! What are your plans for future novels?
Unveiling Ms. Claus has a bit of tasteful heat in it, since so much of the book is about Amber's relationship with herself and her own body, and she just couldn't show that without taking her bits out for a spin.
Since then, I've moved to writing low heat. I've seen queer authors be stigmatized for the intensively sexualized content in their books, even when they are writing in ways that are really very tame. An M/F story with very mild sex in it, nothing graphic at all, is totally acceptable. Change the couple to two women or another LGBTQIA identity and without a single word changing, people start treating it as high heat or erotica. My next books don't even have a sex scene to be misinterpreted like that.
I might write some more holiday pieces in the future as I get more comfortable with my production schedules, but right now, I'm working on three more books; one of them should be on Amazon by November 15th or so, give or take. That's Transpire Together, a sweet small town second chance in the shadow of the 2018 bathroom bill fight, with a trans man and a cis woman. The next one... February, I think. Also small town, friends to lovers, with a twist on a fake relationship. It is going to bring in Alaska Native representation and asexual spectrum topics, and it's a lesbian story. I want to mix things up there.
Unveiling Ms. Claus
Doctors cannot be in relationships with their patients. Who knew how much that would hurt?
Rejected by her parents as an adult, Amber Claus is starting life anew from nothing, as a woman. When she meets a man who feels like he could be The One, things feel hopeful...until she meets him as the doctor helping her to transition. And doctors can't date patients.
But she won't need help forever, and she's earned some Christmas cheer…
Mercy Zephyr (she/her) was born and raised in the Mat-Su Valley, where her and her husband of eleven years live today. Together, they enjoy bicycling, spending time with her supportive parents, and spoiling their grandchild and each other. She is an asexual transgender woman of Athabaskan descent who transitioned alongside her husband. She writes sweet, optimistic #ownvoices romance with a spoonful of humor and a dash of grit, centering transgender and sometimes asexual characters.
Website and Newsletter: http://www.mercyzephyr.com
Lynn Lovegreen grew up in Alaska, and still lives there. Her young adult historical romances are set in the Alaska Gold Rush, a great time for drama, romance, and independent characters. See her website at www.lynnlovegreen.comwww.lynnlovegreen.com.