In a week, my latest paranormal thriller/romance comes out. It’s not my first but it is different in a way– the lead character is a five-hundred-year-old lesbian. Crimson Vengeance is the first in a four book series that will feature lesbian romances. I didn’t really think too much about it when I began to write Crimson Vengeance, it was simply a vampire love story that spoke to me and something I wanted to write. As it evolved, I was intrigued by the character of Riah Preston more and more. That the central romance was non-traditional wasn’t really front and center in my mind. It was more about a story I enjoyed writing, and one I was very happy with when it was all done.
In all my books, I like diversity. It probably started when I was about seven and thought I could swim. I couldn’t and I was to find out in an almost tragic way. At a crowded public pool in Ontario, Oregon, I decided that I could not only swim but could dive. So, I climbed up the ladder of the diving platform and proceeded to make my inaugural swan dive. It was my first and very nearly my last. Despite the fact that the pool had two lifeguards, no one seemed to be paying attention to the twig-thin blonde who was now bobbing in the deep end. No one that is, except a young black man who, as I was going down for the third time, dove in and pulled me to safety. Though I never knew his name, I’ll always remember his face and the feel of his arms as he saved my life.
I often think of that moment. Not of the terror of the water trying to claim my life but rather the feeling of being pulled to safety. There was no barrier standing between us, no black vs. white, no boy vs. girl. There was no place for thoughts of race, gender, religion, or sexual preference…it was a moment devoted to the simple act of one person helping another. That’s what I remember. So when I write it’s from that standpoint whether it’s a skinny white Canadian psychic, a tall handsome Spokane Indian shape shifter, a sexy black scientist, or a centuries-old lesbian vampire. All are different, all are special, all bring a beauty to the world that would otherwise be missing.
Thus, the story of Riah Preston begins. She is a vampire, she is a medical examiner, and oh yeah, she’s a lesbian. Most important of all, she’s an interesting character that lives (even though she’s technically one of the undead), loves, and tries to do the right thing. And, isn’t that after all the heart of a good story?