A lot of people ask me why I write about gay people when I'm a straight woman with two daughters who has been happily married to my husband for almost twenty-four years. The answer is simple: I love kids.
I've worked with high school students for eleven years now, and it bothers me terribly that there are some kids who are being hurt so badly by other people's opinions that it's easier to commit suicide than to face another day of life.
Fortunately, this hasn't happened in the school where I work, but the feelings are there -- the snide laughs, the looks, the "Oh, that's so gay," comments. I express myself best by writing, and this novel is my way of doing something about it.
The mission of Prizm Books is:
"Prizm Books is a line of gay and lesbian Young Adult fiction, focused on providing great stories in all genres, from science fiction to historical to contemporary. Our mission is to encourage and publish gay young adult books that focus on the story, rather than on the characters being gay. Todays young readers crave stories they can relate to, stories about their lives. Prizm Books is committed to producing great, positive books that young adults will love, and will want more of!"
I think this makes a lot of sense. I didn't write Under the Willow as a preachy, "feel good about your gay self" novel -- it's a fantasy story with two main characters who happen to be gay. But their being gay is integral to the story, and some rather awful things happen to them because of it. My novel definitely has a dark side, though the ending, of course, is brighter.
I hope that people come away from this novel with a little more acceptance and understanding of each other, and themselves. But, of course, I really want people to enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!