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On TWISTED SUMMER


posted by Lucy V Morgan

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I get a lot of the same comments about TWISTED SUMMER, time and time again. I've wanted to respond to them for a while, and recently I went back in and re-read the manuscript, figuring that while the answers were fresh, I'd get them down.

(I know, I know. It's over a year since the book was released so this is probably quite late. A little reflection time works wonders, however, and you lovely bunch of readers are still buying the book. Thank you a thousand times for this).

People say...

Gabe is kind of creepy. 


People have called Gabe predatory. He made a lot of readers quite uncomfortable with the way he came on to Danni. I can't tell you that he's a nice man who did what he thought was right. He absolutely was predatory; at one point, Danni yells to him through a door, "stop grooming me!" because that is precisely what he's doing.

But I wanted this ambiguity for him. Truth be told, it was all part of the taboo of the story. He is forbidden fruit of the highest order. I don't think Danni was ever alone in lusting after an older man she couldn't have, but lusting after somebody who played the role of a family member--now that's fairly uncommon. Danni had never really "met" him before so that removed a bit of the yuck factor where she was concerned, but she was still very aware that she was in his guardianship. On a dark level, she liked that.

If Danni hadn't returned Gabe's affections, this would have been a very different book. Part of me wonders how far he'd have gone to seduce her; pretty far, probably. He was frightened of the way she made him feel--physically and emotionally--and it made him cruel. He was addicted to it, too. Addiction does strange things to people. Addiction made him brave and stupid. That doesn't excuse the way he came on to somebody he shouldn't have; nothing really does. But it explains it.

I didn't realise Danni was going to be gay.

You know, when I was gearing up to release TS, I worried people would laugh at the whole "lesbian converted by cock" idea that was vaguely present within the story. (Danni is actually bi, but still). So when there was more of a negative reaction just to the f/f stuff in the book, I was surprised. Danni's "girlfriend" is mentioned in the blurb; I'm English, so "girlfriend" means sexual partner. Of course, in the US, it just means good friend...I hadn't noticed this, and it most likely added to the confusion.

There was, in contrast, also a lot of praise for the f/f element of the book, which was lovely to see--not just because it was celebrating diversity, but purely because it was different. I write "different" books, and I've learned that different is a very sharp double-edged sword. Frankly, I often forget how different they are, so any kind of mention of this always fascinates me.

It was too short! Where's the sequel?

I never imagined when I wrote TS that people would want a sequel. Really. I thought perhaps they'd read it and think they'd been through enough! Will there ever be a sequel? I honestly don't know. My schedule is stuffed. I don't know how I'd give people a sequel to TS that was quite as striking as the first; Gabe and Danni have done the hardest part of their journey already and I'd hate to over-stretch them. Of course, never say never...

Length...well. My novels are usually long. I can't help it. TS, however, was originally written as two novellas, so the structure was different from the beginning. I wrote them exactly the way I wanted to because a) I knew no publisher would take a pseudo-incest story and b) I didn't fancy self-publishing at the time. When I came to turn the two pieces into one longer story, I felt like adding anything else would be "filler." And God, I hate filler. There were ways I could have made the book longer, absolutely...I just didn't like any of them, and so the result was something of a mongrel. If it felt incomplete then I understand why.

It really was twisted.

I know the cover was kinda cutesy in a pretty way (it's still my favourite, of all my book covers). I can see why some people were shocked by the contents of a book with that cover. TS is made up of layers of light and dark, of normality and perversion. It was meant to subvert. Danni's desire for Gabe was dark and the way she used Esme was dark, but she had a bright, peppy sense of humour and the story took place in beautiful sun-drenched locations. That juxtaposition is difficult to quantify; twisted felt like a nice middle ground. Dark is almost a genre term these days--a very overused one, and a watered down one at that. Thus, as readers, we all have our own version of dark...but maybe not so much our own twisted. I think TS hit a nerve in that regard. I'm kind of proud of that.

As for my own definitions?

A dark book, to me, holds little promise of redemption for certain characters. We are forced to accept those characters exactly as they are--a struggle we feel subjected to, rather than something we actively enjoy. But nonetheless...it titillates us. 

That's the darkest thing of all.





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