Fiction Vixen is pleased to welcome author Heidi Cullinan to the blog today.
The Endless Bounty of Loss
When people ask me what I write, I usually say I write romances, and if they press I say I write LGBT love stories. The answer always leaves me feeling as if I’ve left the question unanswered, though, because it isn’t as if I’m deliberately choosing to write gay characters; the people in my head just happen to be LGBT more often than not for some reason. Even to say I write romances is leaving the gate wide open. There are more sub-genres in romance than there mosquitos in Minnesota, and I cover a lot of them. What I wish I could work out how to say when people ask what I write is the answer I give to myself: I write about loss and how to cope with it.
Every book I write, every story simmering in my head is always about loss in some way. Loss of home and habitat. Loss of family. Loss of a loved one. Loss of memory. Loss of dreams, of hope. Loss of ability. Loss is a currency more universal even than love. To live life is to experience loss: everything from simple things like balloons and chances to go to the playground because of rain to parents and pets and community and ultimately even life itself. Loss is a thread that runs through all our lives. It’s all around us.
But loss doesn’t need to be terrible, and that’s why I like to write about it. It isn’t that we need to like loss, but we can embrace our power to transform it. From even the most soul-striking deprivations can come our greatest acts of personal strength, if we chose to use them that way. There’s also no patented way to get through loss; that’s why it makes such good story. Each path through pain is personal, not just to an author or a character or to a reader. One of my favorite things about being an author is getting mail from readers who tell me a book meant something to them and they reveal a way of seeing the story I hadn’t even considered or points out something I did that I hadn’t realized I’d done. I love it when things I write cast illuminations they make all on their own.
I love stories about hope. I love stories about overcoming. But above all I like stories of personal realization, of people going into dark parts of their lives and emerging stronger than they had ever dreamed they could be. To me that’s the most magical thing in the universe: the power of humanity to turn loss into beauty and hope.
It’s also true that I usually write about loss with gay men who tend to have a great deal of sex, but that’s because my muses are pretty dirty-minded. In my heart, that loss-to-hope is always the brass ring, and it’s always what I’ll be reaching for. The sexy bits are just the icing on the cake.
Heidi would like to giveaway an eBook copy of her September 20th release of Temple Boy along with a copy of the prequel, The Seventh Veil. If you already have it, you can take your pick from Heidi’s backlist.
Giveaway is open until September 24 winner announced soon after. Open to all.
[box]Heidi Cullinan is the award-winning author of eight novels and two novellas, and her short stories have been published in several anthologies. Her latest novel, TEMPLE BOY, is the second book in a sweeping fantasy series and is published by Loose ID. It is currently available in e-book format. Upcoming works include THE PIRATE’S GAME, the sequel to TEMPLE BOY, available from Loose Id in January of 2012, and A PRIVATE GENTLEMAN, available from Samhain in late 2012.
Heidi has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When she isn’t writing, Heidi enjoys knitting, reading, movies, TV shows on DVD, and all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats.
Heidi also volunteers frequently for One Iowa, and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage.