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A Personal Post From the Closet

A Personal Post From the Closet

Winter is Here

It’s a dark day, literally and figuratively as I write this from my parents’ house in Western Washington. In the other room they’re listening, gleeful, to crowds celebrating the affirmation of The Great Orange Disappointment to the Presidency of the United States. I do not know what the coming year will bring, but I am devastated.

I am afraid.

I’m 27 this year, having come to age during a time of amazing progressive democracy. The 2000s and 2010s have been by no means perfect, but in many ways they have brought so much joy and pride and hope to me as I watched the LGBTQIA+ community make so many strides in visibility and policy. But this fall has shown me that, for as many strides we have taken, there are just as many people who would tear us back down, and those people now have a majority control of the United States.

Even more than that, our tenuous social contract called democracy has been irrevocably tampered with.

I heard someone say once that Democracy is not about a result, it’s about a process–a process by which we, as the people, come together to bequeath governing power to our government. That process has been tampered with. I think that’s a fairly safe comment to make, when even the FBI concedes it happened–keeping in mind that for all intents and purposes, the FBI’s pick for POTUS was elected. That act of tampering has broken the sanctity of democracy in this country.

I never imagined myself to be sitting here in my lifetime, contemplating the end of democracy in America, but here I am. It is too horrible a moment to let pass without some acknowledgement.

Why My Identity is Political

Some people would argue that for my own business interests I should keep my mouth shut and keep my politics away from my work. Book writing is my business. This is my full time job. And there is not part of my writing that is not political. There is nothing about me, as a person, that hasn’t been made political. It’s not only my desire to discuss this, but it’s my duty to be informed and to discuss it.

I come from a conservative Protestant background. My entire family is radically conservative Christian. I was indoctrinated in Christian private schools from kindergarten until I graduated high school. I struggled with religion for most of my teen years. I’ve never shied away from saying as much to peers and friends, but it’s the more intimate details that I’ve guarded more closely. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve begun to come out to a very few select people–and only those I know will never encounter my family.

All I’m doing is trying to write the words and those are so hard I’ve spent a half hour staring at this blank page trying to form them.

It’s always seemed easier to just be vague than try to explain, but as I try to unravel why my identity as a person is intrinsically a political identity, I think it’s important here to do so.

I am demisexual. I’ve dated women and men. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that I tend to only form really strong connections with women. The last couple of times I’ve tried to form deeper connections with cismen, when it came right down to it we were philosophically incompatible, which for me, is a no-go in the romantic department. I feel most comfortable labeling myself “queer” as a catch-all term (because I’m not technically bisexual and while I’m demisexual, I’m more gay-demi-romantic, and that’s just a mouthful to try to say when someone asks). I’m cis. I use she/her pronouns.

I’m an atheist.

I write gay fiction (for now, it’s my plan to include more letters in my writing in 2017).

All of these things mean that my entire life is tied to politics because all of these identities are under attack by politicians. And that is why I think it’s important to talk about what’s happening both in the USA and around the world.

The fact that I am white is literally the only thing about my identity that is not in some way radical. Subversive.

The Future

Hard times are ahead. I don’t have a lot of hope for the next four years. I’m afraid, both personally and professionally. And while I am afraid, I’m also aware of how privileged I am to be white and unlikely to be pushed out of the closet in front of my family.

I am looking back to my contemporaries from times past, who too experienced these sort of regime upheavals. The only thing I know how to do is write and speak, as loud as I can, in the circles that I can. My corner of the internet I hope to be a safehaven for other queer radicals. I will not suffer any Trump apologists.

As we move into 2017, all I can do here is continue to work in my own radical way. I feel this deep, fearful drive to write as many of the stories in my head as fast as I can. Before my voice is silenced.

You can follow me here on the blog or join me on twitter @LiaCooperWrites. I wish I could say it’s a fun place, but winter has come, and there are dark days ahead of us. To all my readers I want to send out a big *hug* and remind you that despite any forces arrayed against us, we have each other. I love you all.

Thanks for letting me vent here a little.


10 Most Influential Books

10 Most Influential Books

Today I’m taking a break from all the book news and announcements to do something a little fun, that I stole the idea from the booktube tag of the same name, but I’m putting a little twist on it…the 10 Most Influential Books (to me) as a writer!

I’m going to list these in no particular order because I think ordering them from least to most influential would simply be impossible, and I’ll try to give a quick snippet explaining what it is about these books which has stuck with me as a writer or influence a specific area of my writing.

          • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson- I read this book in the course of late 2011 and through the first half of 2012, the second half of it read concurrently with my first draft of The Duality Paradigm and I think the reason this book resonates for me is that I see my own writing style or voice in Larsson’s. There’s a certain spareness of world building while at the same time a very specific attention to detail (exp the characters clothes, what they eat, the furniture in their flats etc) that I think I tend to do in my writing as well.


          • Monster by A Lee Martinez – This book showed me that you could have urban fantasy without wasting a ton of time on exposition. And you didn’t have to write in first person. yay!


          • Dracula by Bram Stoker – the language is beautiful and this remains one of the scarier things I’ve read and I think it shows that it’s more terrifying to leave things to your reader’s imaginations, to leave things poorly explained and unknown.


          • Sherlock Holmes by ACD – I’ve read a large portion of the short stories and novellas by ACD, not all, but almost all. This book challenges POV and protagonist. I think there’s an interesting question of the unreliable narrator in Sherlock Holmes which is rarely explored. But these are Watson’s diaries, journals, short stories, written and narrated by him about our ostensible protagonist. When I’m brainstorming a new story I always have a good long sit and think about who my protagonist and POV characters are before I begin.


          • Dune by Frank Herbert – there’s a denseness in the language of Dune that I worry permeates my own writing because as a young kid, Dune was the most amazing, best well written piece of literature I’d ever read. Dune Messiah is one of my favorite books of all time.


          • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde – Alternative Universes exist outside fanfiction theyre just hard to find! I love AUs in fanfic but it seemed like something that only existed in the fannish bubble before I stumbled across The Eyre Affair. This book is a DELIGHT and way under appreciated imho. It also taught me a lot about genre bending/crossing, which is part of the reason it’s a difficult book to pitch to other people. When you write a book for commercial publication it’s important to hone in early on to what about the book will resonate with a reason and entice them to read your book. EG figure out this sentence “if you like _____, you’ll like my book because of _______.”


          • Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper – this is a book from my childhood that has always stuck with me. The poltergeist scene was the scariest thing I had read up to that time as a kid. the entire concept of timeless characters and quests has stuck with me. I’m a sucker for this sort of book (I was obsessed with Narnia as well). Actually idk if this book influences me, I assume it does because there are portions of it that remain vividly burned in my mind.


          • Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – this book is one of the best examples of an introvert written in literature imho. Don’t give me any of this Bella Swan introvert crap or how YA authors seem to love pigeon-holing introverts. Mr Darcy is where it’s at and not because he’s the greatest hearthrob in western english literature but because he is the epitome of “shown not told introvert” and i love it.


          • Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques – this was the first Redwall novel I read as a kid and it haunts me to this day. I think in my heart I don’t believe in happily ever afters because of this book. Love does not save the day. Love often gets killed and theres nothing you can do about it. And even when that happens, maybe youre never totally a whole person but you can still go on to do great things.


        • The Horse & His Boy by CS Lewis – this was the first Narnia book I read (i know!) and I do still love many of the Narnia books, including this one. But the thing this book reminds me, because I keep it in my head often when I write, and I’ve been thinking of it recently as I worked on The Kingdom of Pacchia (weird connection maybe if you don’t live in my head), but pervasive unconscience racism is very prevalent still and I think it’s helped by a childhood of reading books like this, which were chalk full of straight up muslim villainizing. There’s a certain “darker = evilier” in several of the Narnia books which if you’ve grown up reading things like this (because CS Lewis isn’t the only author who does this obvs) then you may start doing it yourself unconsciously (I’m speaking as a white writer) in your own writing and that’s NEVER something I want to do. I constantly challenge myself to really think about how I’m portraying other people, even if theyre in a fantasy setting, because nothing is innocuous. This is another reason I cannot forgive Tolkien for his treatment (generally) of the dwarves in his books (it’s pretty damn racist, let me count the ways). I never want to do something in my book for no other reason than because ‘that’s how it’s done.’ I want to be better than unconscious stereotyping privileged western white writer.

What are the 10 most influential books to you? I’d love to hear in the comments or on twitter!

Writers shouldn…

Writers shouldn…

Writers shouldn’t underestimate the difficulty of what they’re doing, and they should treat it with great seriousness. You’re doing something that really matters, you’re telling stories that have an impact on other people and on the culture. You should tell the best stories you can possibly tell and put everything you’ve got into it.

David Guterson