Casual Queerness, Stealth Diversity, and Cherry Pie: M. Jane Colette on writing the world we want to live in

I’m pleased to introduce to you M. Jane Collette, author extraordinaire!

M. Jane Colette’s third “is it romance or is it something else?” novel, Cherry Pie Cure, was released on June 15, 2017. Colette and I met at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference back in October 2016. Our conversation covered all manner of things quirky, queer, and diverse, so I was surprised when she described Cherry Pie Cure as a “pretty straight-forward straight romance”—and less surprised when she added, “with, like stealth queerness and diversity in it.”

I asked her to explain. Here’s M. Jane Colette on what she calls “casual queerness and stealth diversity” in her work:

All three of my currently published novels are, first and foremost, straight F-M stories. But each one of them really plays with the “what” and “why” of what’s considered a successful relationship and happy ending, and each one of them challenges, very casually, assumptions people might make about what’s “normal.”

I think it’s extremely powerful—revolutionary, can I say revolutionary?—to present a queer character, for example, very casually. In Cherry Pie Cure, the heroine’s 18-year-old son’s coming out story weaves in and out of the main plot—like I said, very casually. I won’t even call it a subplot, because there is no angst or drama there, and that was very much a purposeful choice on my part. He just says, “I’ve had my first thing with a boy” to his mother in the course of a conversation during which she tells him she’s started dating, and his gender-fluid romantic explorations pop in and out of the story through to its end.

In my second novel Consequences (Of Defensive Adultery), the heroine’s stepdaughter’s sexual growth and exploration provide the catalyst for a number of the explosions between the “adults” in the story. At one point she self-identifies as a lesbian, at one point her father tries to label her pansexual, at another point she moves in as a “pet” with a couple who’s into BDSM, somewhere along the line she takes on the polyamorous label, and so on.

As she creates and recreates her identity, I draw this subtle contrast between the non-monogamous, non-binary world she’s attempting to create and her play with labels and roles with the very rigid and dysfunctional but conventional roles her parents and stepmother find themselves thrust into.

But it’s all very subtle and understated. It doesn’t get moralistic or dogmatic, you know? I don’t hit the reader over the head with it, and I don’t make any “this is good” “this is bad” pronouncement. It just is. Life, love, sex, gender—all of that is… complicated. That’s what makes it so fun (and, also, painful, right?).

I do the same thing with ethnic and cultural identity. I’m a first generation immigrant, I live and write in a pretty multicultural city. My novels have non-practicing and “born again” Muslims in them, new immigrants, Canadian-born children of immigrants from Poland, Cuba, Egypt, the Sudan, Iran, Syria (I even have escapees from America among them)—again, not by design, really—I didn’t sent out to write novels with diverse characters in them—I set out to write novels that, fiction though they were, accurately reflected the world I live in… and the world I want to live in.

I want to live in a world in which a child’s coming out story is just not that big a deal—it’s sandwiched between “Pass the mashed potatoes” and “What are your plans for Friday?”

I want to live in a world in which romance and the love story don’t end with the wedding cake or the cum shot (although, for the record, I write fantastic cum shot scenes), but continue well past that.

I want to live in a world in which people are whatever colour of the rainbow they were born with, or choose to manifest in this lifetime… and there are two things I can to do create that world. First, through living it in my real life as much as I can. And second—by writing it. Right?

That’s our secret power as writers. We can create the worlds we want to live in.

Author: M. Jane Colette
Publisher: GENRES were made to be BROKEN (indie)
Release Date: June 15, 2017
ISBN (softcover): 978-0-9958102-6-6
ISBN (e-book): 978-0-9958102-7-3
Word Count: 50,000 (45,000 novella + 5,000 in bonus material)
Genres/Categories: Contemporary romance, rom-com, chick lit with bite

A woman scorned. A blog. An outrageously sexy stock boy. A tribe of strange Internet friends. Flying packages of sex toys. And, a to-die-for cherry pie recipe.

When Susan discovers her husband of twenty-two years is cheating on her, she is sure her life is over. And she thinks her friend Marcella’s advice that she work through her feelings in a blog is stupid. She just wants to sit on the couch in her ex’s old bathrobe, feel sorry for herself, and chain-smoke. But her growing blogging tribe and a delectable (“OMFG how old is he?”) real life stranger have other plans for her… if Susan’s brave enough to embrace them.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Susan as The Heroine. Baker extraordinaire, yoga-hater, Luddite, and an innocent prude. “I don’t think an exercise routine developed by half-starved men in India is particularly suitable to short, curvy, booby white women. My breasts get in the way of everything. OMG, I just typed breasts. How do I delete this post?”

Marcella as Her Best Friend. Entrepreneur, musician and happily divorced self-proclaimed “slut” who has an opinion on everything and a solution to everyone’s problems except her own. “Look, Susan, do what you want, but either keep on with the blog or go sleep with a twenty-five-year-old boy. Do you want to be a pathetic blob of goo in your cheating husband’s bathrobe?”

Cody and Tyler as Her Adult Sons. “What were you thinking, Mom?” “Jesus, how old is he, Mom?” “Have you no pride, Mom?” “Oh-my-god-what’s-wrong-with-you, Mom?”

Nika as Cody’s Maybe-Maybe-Not Girlfriend. “I’m totally trolling Tinder for Persian guys now. Just so you know, Mama Susan.”

sugar&spice76 as Susan’s First Fan. “Honey, we’re not strangers anymore. We’re your strange Internet friends. We’re all mothers, and we all do the dirty sometimes, ok?”

FemmeFataleFun as the Sex Toy Peddler. “Smooches. Everything in that care package is therapeutic, kitten!”

mommyshidinginthebathroom3 as The Token Mommy Blogger. “Let her smoke, Marcella. It’s been six weeks. You can kick her ass about the cigarettes in six months.”

ilikeherbooty-full as The Porn Blogger Who Won’t Go Away. “Is this what women really talk about when men aren’t around, or are you doing it all for me?

Caspian00XO as His Friend Who Hears About the Pie. “Susan? Do I get pie now? I’m emailing you my address.”

Reza as Susan’s Love Interest. “This is my telephone number. As soon as I leave, you will type it into your phone. And you will send me a text. It will say, ‘Reza, this is Sooo-zaaaahn.’ If you don’t send me this text, I will assume I offended you and will need to quit my job so I don’t offend you again, so it is very important that you send this text. Yes, Soo-zahn?”

with cameos by

John as The Cheating Husband, Jewel of The Not-So-Spectacular-Boobs as The Other Woman, an assortment of lurkers, trolls, spammers, “Internet idiots,” and casual visitors, Reza’s invisible roommates, and The Lawyer.

a “MISTRESS OF HER OWN DOMAIN” novella

BUY LINKS:

Amazon <3 Kobo <3 iTunes/iBooks <3 Barnes & Noble <3 Google Play <3 Inside Romance <3 Smashwords <3 Chapters (Canada) <3 Powell’s Books (US) <3 Book Depository (Globally)

Want to find out how it got written? Check out How a story is born on M Jane Colette’s author blog.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  1. M. JANE COLETTE writes tragedy for people who like to laugh, comedy for the melancholy, and erotica for women and men who like their fantasies real. She believes rules and hearts were made to be broken; ditto the constraints of genres.

Sign up for M. Jane’s love letter/newsletter– ROUGH DRAFT CONFESSIONS—and visit her at mjanecolette.com. She also hangs out on Twitter & Instagram as @mjanecolette, and on Facebook @mjanecolette2.

In addition to Cherry Pie Cure, she’s the author of the (unconventional) romances Tell Me, an erotic romance for people who like a little bit of angst with their hot sex, and Consequences (of defensive adultery), an erotic tragedy (!) with a happy ending. Her non-fiction work includes Rough Draft Confessions: not a guide to writing and selling erotica and romance but full of inside insight anyway, a collection  of essays about writing dirty, the power of words, taboo language, the freedoms and limitations of genre, fulfilling your creative drive, and the business of writing.

Can’t wait to read it MJ! Thanks for visiting and sharing your news!

By | 2017-06-16T21:16:02+00:00 June 16th, 2017|Author Interviews|

12 Comments

  1. Lisa June 16, 2017 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    Now I can’t wait to read it! Thanks Michele!

    • Michele Fogal June 16, 2017 at 10:33 pm - Reply

      Me too! Hope you like it! Hearts, Michele 😀

  2. Paola June 16, 2017 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    I love diversity in stories… maybe because I am an inmigrant…

    • Michele Fogal June 16, 2017 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      I think all of us have some diversity in us, whether it’s gender, orientation, race, class, ability, talent… part of our human struggle is to find belonging that’s not based on conforming, but based on being in a welcoming community that honours our uniqueness. I love stories with diversity too! I think this is because I’m bi, but also because I’m a writer, and that’s a tough role to play as well. Thanks for commenting! 😀

  3. Cathy June 16, 2017 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    What a great way to look at M. Jane Colette’s books! I find they are the type of books that linger long after you’ve read them as you ponder the complexities of life.

    • Michele Fogal June 16, 2017 at 10:37 pm - Reply

      Ok, I’m purchasing now! 🙂 Thanks for commenting! M

  4. Nicole June 16, 2017 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    Sounds amazing❤️

    • Michele Fogal June 16, 2017 at 10:38 pm - Reply

      I know right? MJ is such an interesting person. I liked her right away. 🙂

  5. M. Jane Colette June 16, 2017 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the spotlight and chance to soapbox a little, Michele! Very much appreciated! <3

    • Michele Fogal June 16, 2017 at 10:39 pm - Reply

      So nice to have you MJ! XXOO Keep writing! We need more diverse books! Hearts from me!

  6. Bella June 19, 2017 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    I’ve read her other 2 books, excited to read this one!

  7. Bella June 20, 2017 at 2:33 am - Reply

    I really enjoyed the first 2 books, excited to read this one!

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