Offending the Select Few

Just read a thought-provoking post over at author Tess Gerritson's blog. All of her posts are great, but this one really resonated with me because of a recent concern of my own. Well, it wasn't so much a concern as a musing. She talks about inadvertently offending and losing readers because of something you've written, whether it be in an interview or work of fiction.

A few weeks ago, it crossed my mind that perhaps I'd lost certain readers because of the secondary romance between two gay characters that runs throughout JINXED, CHARMED, and SEDUCED. Reviews from critics on this series were outstanding. Readers who've written to me personally or who posted a review to Amazon or Barnes and Noble have been equally enthusiastic.

All but one.

There's a posted review at Amazon from a woman who read JINXED and liked it, but was totally disappointed in SEDUCED. I'm assuming she didn't read the middle book CHARMED which would have bonded her more with the recurring characters and their plight, but that's neither here nor there. Everything is subjective, so most of her gripes didn't bother me. What got me was this line: "The second storyline, which I felt didn't belong in womens contemporary romance, went into too much detail about the homosexual couple, Rudy and JP."

There are all kinds of reasons that statement bothers me. But I'm not going there. I'd only work myself up on the subject of intolerance. The thing is it did make me wonder if I'd lost other readers because I'd written about a gay relationship in a straight book. Unfortunately, probably. Because this isn't a perfect world. But would I nix Rudy and Jean-Pierre from the trilogy had I to write it over? No. Why? Because they came from my heart. And I will always, always write from my heart. If an artist allows a select few to define their creations, then they are no longer truly artists.

Hop over to Tess's blog and read the shocking reasons why a select few vowed to never read her again. Unbelievable.


Tori Lennox said…
People are so freakin' weird. *rolling eyes* I'm sure I'll offend lots of people. *g*
ElsieHogarth said…
Beth, I personally would have been very upset if you did not write about Rudy & JP because I fell in love with them from Book#1. Not because they reminded me soooo much of my "Sassy & Uncle Bill"(you've seen their pictures) but because I was interested in their story. I am sure other readers were asking you about them via e-mails or at book signings. I say keep writing from "your heart" it hasn't failed you yet and you know the "fan"atic stalkers can't steer you wrong either.
Gabriele C. said…
Here's a Yay for gay relationships from me.

Some people are just, well, intolerant (bloody f-ing hypocrites comes closer, though). I posted about Tess' post as well, and someone commented she does Roman enactment and at one fair, a mother dragged her child off, "get away from those Romans, they killed Jesus."
Jordan Summers said…
People are always going to find something to bitch about. Seriously. If it hadn't been the gay romance (you know those are only make believe *g*), it would be the use of the color red for clothing. Snort.
Bethany said…
Holy cow! And I want to publish a book? I'll get my armour on now, because I am SURE I'll get some nasty comments... positive of it. Might as well be ready now.
Beth Ciotta said…
Offend away, Tori. LOL

Elsie, you are right. Rudy and JP were huge hits with other readers. I can't tell you how many Q&A signings I atended where, instead of asking me about the primary H/H, I was first asked about Rudy and JP. It always surprised and pleased me. My best to Sassy and Uncle Bill!
Beth Ciotta said…
Gabriele, I can't believe someone actually said that. Well, yeah, wait. I guess I can. *sigh*

Jordan... True, true. If it's not one thing it's another. Red. *snicker*

Bethany, the thicker your skin, er, armor, the better. On the flip side there are people that will absolutely 'get you' and they are the ones who make it al worth while. :)
Anna Lucia said…
You're right to stick by what comes from the heart, Beth. Rudy and JP's story was truly touching and lovely.

Why can't people enjoy their story because they're great characters beautifully written, rather than hate it (or like it!) because it's 'a gay relationship'?

It's all about the story, folks.
Leippya said…
Ok, I really HAVE to read your books ASAP >.<
Roni said…
Some people are prejudiced--it's a fact of life. And, you can't please everyone. So write the best books you can (and yours are great) I enjoyed Rudy and Jean-Pierre--it was a refreshing subplot!
People are strange.

I worry about that, too. I have secondary characters, men, who are in a relationship. And they've demanded their own story. I hope by listening to my characters I'm doing the right thing, but I know it will offend someone.

You can't please everyone.

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