I always feel a bit uncomfortable labelling my characters as queer; because as with real people I look at them as complex personalities and I don’t like reducing them to a single character trait. I don’t want them to be “the gay friend” or something like that.
The cast of Macchiatos is a very diverse lot which is not surprising because Tara’s café is an LGBT+ friendly space, a safe haven for everybody to be themselves.
We have Esther and Tara, lesbian power couple who are very loving and fun, but they also have their own issues to sort out. Tara wants to get married, bur Esther refuses because for her weddings were supposed to be a family occasion and her own family stopped talking to her when she came out.
Kim is aro-ace, a group that seriously lacks representation. I find that asexuality is often mocked or associated with somewhat weird characters, but Kim is as cool as it gets.
Marcel is, of course, pansexual – it is never said explicitly but his dates are often left ungendered so if the reader thinks it is just girls well that’s on them..
In OBFABF Juniper’s sister, Raven has a girlfriend called Candy and they are very sweet. (Pun intended :))
In Dreamless I have dear Oscar who is what Oscar Wilde would have been in a world where no creative imagination is allowed. (He is a greengrocer.)
In August I have my first trans character, Isabelle. I love her because she is wise and sassy and the same kind of tough love friend as Macy from Macchiatos.
I actually love her so much that I brought her back in Moon Over Pale Water because honestly everybody needs a friend like her.
I like how my characters are getting more diverse with every book and it is happening in an organic way. As I get to know people with different stories, different backgrounds in my real life, these experiences get reflected in my stories too.
This is slightly spoilery but 1. This is one of my fave scenes from Macchiatos 2. By the time it is published you will all forget you’ve ever read this:
“Uhm. Hello everyone and thank you for coming.” Esther began. “I think it’s the best birthday party I have ever had, except for maybe my sixth one when I really wanted this My Little Poney toy and I got it. But that was like thirty years ago and I clearly didn’t have priorities in life.”
Everybody laughed. I looked at Tara again. There was so much love in her eyes my heart could barely bear it.
“So uhm. You might not know, but for a long time I didn’t like celebrating my birthday because it reminded me of the all the birthdays I had when I was a kid and the fact that they are supposed to be family celebrations… and my family decided not to want any of me for who I am, for who I love.”
I could feel tears building up in my eyes and suddenly all the air of the garden didn’t seem enough.
“And the fact of the matter is that I love Tara more than anything.” Her voice broke a little and the first teardrop ran down my cheek. “And if my family doesn’t want to know her, the most kind, generous and loving person I’ve ever met, well, their loss.” She held a tiny pause then continued. “There’s another thing I didn’t want to celebrate because I believed it was a family occasion.” Tara’s eyes widened.
“But tonight I looked over this fairy garden full of people who were family, not of blood but of heart and I knew what I needed to do.” Esther’s eyes were filled with tears and her cheeks shone a bright pink as she sunk to her knees. “So I guess what I want to ask is: Tara, my love, would you do me the honour of becoming my wife? Because I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.” <Macchiatos>
And this one because 1. Isabelle for president 2 I too once have been a woman in Sheeran-jail, but now those times are over.
Isabelle’s head appeared in the door.
“Where’s he?” she asked, looking around.
“Who?” I looked around too.
“Ed Sheeran who you kidnapped and torture to sing for you for days now?” She delivered in with such a straight face it took me a few seconds to realise she was joking.
“Sorry, I forgot about myself.”
“Are you such a big fan?” she sat down at the edge of my bed.
I shrugged a little.
“I like him alright. Jake hated his guts, though. I don’t know what poor Ed did to him, but anytime a song from him came on, Jake made faces. So I stopped listening to him. Which is completely stupid, now that I think of it. Anyhow, I’m trying to make up for lost time while Jake is making out with his hot new girlfriend.”
Isabelle arched an eyebrow, so I threw my phone to her.
“Sorry, Eddie boy,” she said and stopped Spotify that was now screamed in her hands then looked at the Insta feed with a deepening frown.
“Why are you even looking at this? Pictures of the guy who put you in Sheeran-jail, kissing the girl with the obviously fake Gucci bag?”
“To feel something? I’m scared by the emptiness in me.”
“You should be like me,” she said, flipping her long hair with a theatrical motion. “I’ve given up on men.”
“And? Did it work?”
“Yes.” She thought for a moment. “Now I feel shit on my own accord.” <August>