Today I am so pleased to welcome Francis Gideon to Joyfully Jay. Francis has come to talk to us about Hopeless Romantic. Francis has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Francis a big welcome!
Hello everyone! I’m Francis Gideon and I’m touring for my new release Hopeless Romantic, a trans rom-com of sorts. Follow along this week as I talk about all thinks romantic comedy, trans identity, and being pretty in pink! I’m looking forward to sharing some serious 1980s nostalgia; be sure to comment with your own bit of nostalgia for a $10 giveaway for Riptide publishing.
The Inspiration for Hopeless Romantic
Some authors talk about how much their real life inspires them, but in this case, this is really true. Most of what happens in Hopeless Romantic happened in some way or another. The wedding in a butterfly conservatory is a real wedding I attended in 2015 (the people the book is dedicated to are the lucky couple), the classes that Nick teaches are real, the bar that Katie works at is real, I used to have an asexual roomie like Tucker, and the mishap with Nick’s car is also real (and so is the price tag that he cites for damages!). I feel like the subtitle for the novel should be “Based on a true story” because well, it pretty much is. Not all the events happened in this exact order, and the characters/people are different enough from their real-life counterparts that most of their identity is obscured, but in many ways, this does feel like an autobiography.
Some of that is intentional. One of the most common genres for telling transgender stories is memoir/creative nonfiction. After Christine Jorgesen returned from Denmark in the 1950s, she wrote her own autobiography and cemented the genre as the thing you must do after you come out as trans. As decades have worn on, some of the autobiographical practices have merged to YouTube, so you get some really awesome YouTube vloggers talking about their life, but the memoir is still popular today. So in many ways, when I went to write a story about transgender characters, I was going to put a lot of my own life into it because I’m trans.
But I didn’t want to write a memoir about my trans identity, and my life story, because it’s always felt too narrow. I don’t just want to talk about being trans–I want to talk about how trans identity has affected and structured my world, which contains a lot of different facets. I turned to romance as a genre to write in, then, because it allowed for me to escape the narrow focus on the trans self and instead build a world where Katie and Nick could fall in love, and talk about many other neat things like their love of punk music and romantic comedies.
As it turned out, the world they inhabit is a lot like the one I live in day to day. I’m not a trans woman, like Katie is in the book (I’m nonbinary), but I do have a cis partner who is supportive and a giant hopeless romantic–just like Nick. Our relationship has shared a lot of the same misunderstandings about gender identity–but also the benefits of pushing past those misunderstandings to actually get to know one another. Our story is a love story, and the idea that trans people can fall in love and have it be messy and complicated but also so wonderful, was a really important story that I wanted to tell–and that I hope others enjoy and benefit from too.
Nick Fraser is a true romantic. He wants the guy instead of the girl, but other than that, he wants everything his favorite rom-coms depict: the courtship, the passionate first kiss, the fairy-tale wedding. But after breaking up with the love of his life, Nick wonders if anything fairy-tale will ever happen for him.
Then he meets Katie, who’s just like a rom-com heroine. She’s sharp, funny, sweet, and as into music and punk culture as Nick is. What’s more, he’s incredibly attracted to her—even though she’s a woman. Nick has never considered that he might be bisexual, but his feelings for Katie are definitely real.
When Katie reveals that she’s transgender, Nick starts to see how much he doesn’t understand about the world, queer identity, and himself. He is hopelessly in love with Katie, but this isn’t a fairy tale, and Nick’s friends and family may not accept his new relationship. If he wants it all, he has to have the courage to make his fantasy a reality.
Francis Gideon is a nonbinary writer who dabbles in romance, mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal genres. Francis credits music, along with being an only child to a single mother, as why they write so much now. Long nights at home were either spent memorizing lyrics to pop-punk bands or reading voraciously. Add a couple of formative experiences in university, a network of weird artist friends, and after years of writing stories Francis never showed to anyone, they now have books to their name.
After receiving an MA in English literature, Francis wanted to do something a bit more fun. They soon found the LGBTQ romance community and fell in love on the spot. Since then, Francis has attempted to balance writing romances with as many different types of couples as possible while also attending school for their PhD. When not writing fiction or teaching university classes, Francis works on scholarly articles on everything from character deaths in the TV show Hannibal, the online archive of Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, and transgender representation on YouTube. Francis is a middle name, used to keep students from Googling their teacher and asking far too many questions.
Francis lives in Canada with their partner, Travis, where they often spend nights disagreeing about what TV show to watch and making bad puns whenever possible. Travis receives dedications in Francis’s novels because he tolerates Francis’s long hours and listens to random story ideas late into the night. Francis also might be a bit of a hopeless romantic—as if you didn’t already guess.
Connect with Francis:
To celebrate the release of Hopeless Romantic, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 15, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
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