I’m excited to welcome Erin Kinsella as guest for our Authors Unbound blog series! Please give her a warm welcome!
I remember the first book I read that featured a queer lead. It was Wolfcry, the 4th book in a series I loved by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. It came out in 2006 after I graduated high school. The journey to figure out my identity would take another decade. I wasn’t lacking in queer friends, but none of them so far as I know shared the identity that I eventually related most to. A lot of my friends at the time had come out as bi, but even though I’d acknowledged to myself I had a crush on one of my friends, I didn’t feel like bisexual was a title that matched how I felt. When I’d talked to my mom about all my friends being queer she assured me it was just a phase, so I quietly filed that crush away and never really thought about it for years.
My dating life was an utter disaster. I was stuck with a “problem” that I didn’t understand. I was always romantically attracted to people, but never sexually, and I spent a lot of time feeling like I was broken because of that. The people I dated also weren’t so fond of that either, which led to me just not dating at all. I had never heard of the ace-spectrum, had never met anyone who openly identified with it, or saw any characters that did either. I was married and in my late twenties when I finally had the words to describe myself. I came out first as pansexual on New Years Day 2018. Then I learned that demisexuality was a thing and it was like an epiphany. I wasn’t alone in how I felt anymore, and I certainly wasn’t broken. I settled on the identity of panromantic demisexual when I was thirty.
Oftentimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I’d known about demisexuality when I was young. I’d have definitely cried a lot less if I’d known what I was feeling was something others also experienced. I was never broken, I was just different. I wish I could have given my younger self a book that had a demisexual character in it to show her that she wasn’t alone.
Queer books for me were so few and far between up until the last couple of years. Part of why I shifted gears in my writing career was so I could help change that for other people. Queer characters in media are becoming more prevalent every day and I’m proud to be part of that push with my writing now. One of the leads in my upcoming release, Heart and Seoul, is Tessa. She’s panromantic demisexual just like me. She’s the first character I’ve personally seen that matches my identity in that way. Her being the lead in the first of the series was like writing a gift to myself. Heart and Seoul was originally intended to be a stand alone, but that very quickly changed and I realized that I was about to make a very real shift in my writing career with that decision. Before I started writing romance I thought that I loved writing. When I finally sat down to write my first I realized what it was to REALLY love writing. In romance the goal is love and the endings are happy. That simple fact was so utterly liberating after I’d been labouring over a historical fiction where history decimated my cast.
The Seoul Series is going to encompass a plethora of queer identities. Once I decided on the series I started figuring out more about the secondary characters. I was used to reading stories where you might have a couple queer characters and that was it, so when I got to Heart and Seoul, I was like… f*ck it, everyone is queer. Okay, not every single character is queer, but probably about 90% of them are. I wanted relationships that were m/f with both parties being queer, I wanted mlm and wlw, I wanted ace, grayce, and demi people in loving relationships, and I wanted nonbinary and genderfluid characters to have space on the page too. I want people to feel that same rush I felt when I was writing Tessa, when they see that part of themselves as the lead, as a character who is deeply and wholly loved and supported by their partner(s) and friends.
I think it’s fabulous to have queer characters in all levels of a story, but there’s something special about having them be the lead. Part of why I’m so excited for this series is that they all get to tell their stories in their own time. As we progress through the series more of them will be coming out to the reader. Not all the queer characters have an explictly stated queer identity on the page in this first book, but it’s pretty safe to assume that anyone you read about has one. We start off with panromantic demisexual and bisexual leads, with the secondary characters falling under the identities of demisexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, polyamorous, and pansexual. In coming books there will be more characters added and they’ll fall under the identities of ace, grayce, genderfluid, questioning, and nonbinary. There are some who always knew those things about themselves, and some who took a lot longer to figure out, and some who figure it out on page. This series is like a love letter to the queer community, and to all the people who don’t yet know they’re a part of it.
She’s living her very own K-drama.
Beside herself with excitement, best-selling author Tessa Hale flies to the vibrant city of Seoul, South Korea, where she’s meeting the cast and crew of the film adaptation of her book. The thrill shifts to star-struck panic when she discovers the actor cast as the lead is the idol she’s been high-key crushing on for years.
The last thing he wants is more real-life drama.
Baek Eun Gi is part of one of the biggest K-pop groups in the business. Music has lost its lustre, and he’s hoping a shift in focus will bring back that connection he craves. Although he’s estranged from his family, he has his friends, a thriving career, and a healthy respect for the dating restrictions imposed upon him.
Meet cute, scandal…wedding?
When their paths collide in the most unexpected—and embarrassing— of ways, they try to put it behind them. Too bad there are photos. The music company is irate and offers them a way out of the scandal—a marriage of convenience. Their lives are about to turn upside down, but it just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them.
Content Warnings: sexual situations, anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, mentions of child abuse
Curious about the story? There is an excerpt on Erin’s website!
Everyone who pre-orders a copy of Heart and Seoul is eligible to enter the presale giveaway. Each entrant will receive the first six chapters of H&S. Grand prize winners will be selected on the release date, and monthly prizes will be handed out to random winners up until the release week.
You can enter here: https://forms.gle/UQVRqWnTG8rgA7M28
Erin Kinsella is a romance and historical fantasy author dedicated to sharing stories of love, heartbreak, and triumph. You can also find her on YouTube, where she educates writers about the publishing industry, world building, and how to make your readers swoon. She attended the University of Alberta where she studied psychology and history. When she’s not writing or YouTubing she’s hanging out with her husband and three cats.
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We can’t wait to hear from you!
You can find all previous guest posts in this series >here<.
Authors Unbound Genre: Contemporary Genre: Romance Orientation: Asexual (+ace-spec) Orientation: Bisexual Orientation: Pansexual Pairing: M/F Self Published Tag: Celebrity / Famous Person Tag: Forced Proximity Tag: Found Family Tag: Guest Post Tag: Part of a series Tag: Pretend Relationship Tag: PTSD Erin Kinsella Heart and Seoul Seoul series