Today I am so pleased to welcome Nora Phoenix to Joyfully Jay. Nora has come to talk to us about her latest release, Healing Hand. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Why Representation Matters
It’s almost become a buzz word, a well-meaning but somewhat empty statement: representation matters. No wonder because in itself, it’s a somewhat broad and vague statement.
Until it’s about you. Until you’re the one who realizes that you rarely see yourself represented in the movies you watch, in the TV series you love, in the books you read, and the ads you’re being served. It makes you feel like you don’t exist, like who you are is not valid, like you’re different and not normal—whatever normal is.
In some cases, that lack of representation is obvious. I remember seeing the line up for a conference I was supposed to attend a few years ago and spotting nothing but white men. Ouch. Many people of color feel that way about their representation, with the added insult that when they are supposedly represented, it’s in a negative way that reinforces racist stereotypes.
For everyone on the rainbow, that lack of representation can be anywhere from subtle to blatantly clear. The number of transgender actors is still small, for example, and non-binary characters in TV or movies are rare. So are demisexual or asexual characters, whether it’s in movies or TV series or theater plays or books.
As an asexual, panromantic cis woman, that last one has become more and more clear to me the last few years. Yes, I’ve read amazing books with asexual or demisexual characters. Upside Down by N.R. Walker comes to mind as an example. It was a wonderful experience for me to recognize myself in that book, in those characters. But the number of similar books and characters is low.
When I started writing Healing Hand, I knew that Gale, one of the main characters, was demisexual. I’d started writing his story two years ago, but I’d stopped because I’d gotten stuck on that aspect. In hindsight, I think I hadn’t gone far enough in my own journey yet to truly understand. This time, it was different.
I set out to show that a relationship without penetrative sex is and can be a valid relationship, for lack of a better word. An intimate, complete relationship…just without that aspect of sex. As an author, writing a love story without sex was a challenge. My books are usually on the steamy side, so not only was it different for me to not include sex, I also had to find different ways to build that same intimacy. But I realized that I could stay very close to my own experiences, to what intimacy means to me.
The daddy care in Healing Hand was an extra layer to me that fit really well. What’s more intimate than allowing yourself to surrender to a Daddy who takes care of you, trusting him to respect your boundaries? I loved showing how Gale and Saxton (who has his own issues with sex, though for a completely different reason) found that connection, that intimacy…without sex.
Healing Hand will not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I completely understand. For some readers, sex is an essential part of what they love in a romance, and I respect that. But I’ve been encouraged by the number of readers who have reached out to me in messages and emails and even in reviews to say how grateful they were for this book…because they recognized themselves in it.
One reader wrote me she’d found acceptance through reading it, understanding. She’d finally come to a place where she could accept that this was who she was. I don’t think there’s a compliment more special than that: knowing you made a difference.
Can a broken boy and an unconventional Daddy help each other heal?
Saxton has never been able to make a Daddy stay. He wants one desperately, but they’ve all walked away. He knows exactly why: because he’s damaged. Broken. Unable to give Daddies what they want from him.
When he meets Daddy Gale, who offers to take care of him after an accident, Saxton expects the same thing to happen. But Gale is different in many ways, and he has his own wounds. He has endless patience with Saxton, and he respects Saxton’s boundaries.
But when Saxton can’t open up about the trauma that forever changed him, will Gale decide Saxton isn’t worth the trouble after all? Or will Saxton finally have a Daddy who accepts him the way he is?
Healing Hand is a sweet, low heat Daddy care MM romance with loads of hurt/comfort, age play, tender moments, and emotions that will give you all the feels.
Would you like the long or the short version of my bio?
The short? You got it.
I write steamy gay romance books and I love it. I also love reading books. Books are everything.
How was that?
A little more detail? Gotcha.
I started writing my first stories when I was a teen…on a freaking typewriter. I still have these, and they’re adorably romantic. And bad, haha. Fear of failing kept me from following my dream to become a romance author, so you can imagine how proud and ecstatic I am that I finally overcame my fears and self doubt and did it. I adore my genre because I love writing and reading about flawed, strong men who are just a tad broken..but find their happy ever after anyway.
My favorite books to read are pretty much all MM/gay romances as long as they have a happy end. Kink is a plus… Aside from that, I also read a lot of nonfiction and not just books on writing. Popular psychology is a favorite topic of mine and so are self help and sociology.
Hobbies? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Just kidding. I love traveling, spending time near the ocean, and hiking. But I love books more.
Come hang out with me in my Facebook Group Nora’s Nook where I share previews, sneak peeks, freebies, fun stuff, and much more: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norasnook/