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Queer, Multicultural Romance, and so much more… by Mickey Brent

In preparation for the Bold Strokes Books UK Festival on 6 June in Nottingham (online again this year), today’s blog post addresses which kinds of books I’m most interested in.

Like many authors, I prefer to write the kinds of books I like to read: literary ones, with unsuspecting plots, diverse and/or quirky characters, thoughtful prose, and a dash of humor. Since I read and write in both English and French, I love well-written stories set in other countries, peppered with foreign words and customs that transport readers to exciting locations.

I also like reading about strong, adventurous heroines, particularly athletes, overseas transplants like me, and global travel. I’m drawn toward the challenges and conflicts associated with being queer and ‘out’ in our heteronormative society. It’s refreshing to see a mismatched couple fall in love. Or follow a protagonist’s unique journey to greater health, personal growth, and—in some cases—healing.

Like many lesbian readers, I’m a softy for pretty flowers, all types of cats, mouthwatering exotic cuisine, and slow burns, when it comes to lesbian romance. Those are the kinds of novels I gravitate toward in bookshops. I also love reading historical fiction, as a genre, yet I wouldn’t have the discipline to write those kinds of novels. I greatly admire authors who conduct tons of research to render their stories real and authentic. 

On quiet evenings there’s nothing I’d rather do than devour a well-spun tale. Now that we live in Brussels, Belgium, where it rains most of the time, I wrap a soft blanket over my shoulders, steam delicious Belgian hot chocolate, put on soft music, and settle next to my partner and kitty on our sofa. A perfect setting to dive into yet another intriguing story.  

Whenever possible, I prefer books of fiction that explore the thrills, challenges, and sensitivities of same-sex attraction and love. Unfortunately, in the mainstream publishing world, these kinds of books aren’t easy to find. Since publishing queer literature is our specialty at Bold Strokes Books, I’m always eager to consume novels written by my colleagues, many of whom I also consider friends.

As a Bold Strokes Books author since 2017, I like to create romantic stories about lesbians in global settings, featuring multicultural and diverse characters. Because I love reading and writing about motivating protagonists in other countries, the lesbian love story in my first two books, Underwater Vibes, and its sequel, Broad Awakening, takes place in Brussels, Belgium and on the island of Santorini, Greece.

The two-book series, published in 2017 and 2018, features individuals from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds: French and Flemish-speaking Belgians, a Greek swim champion, a Congolese-Belgian interpreter for the European Commission, and a queer hairdresser with a physical disability.

My next novel takes place in San Francisco, California, with a new cast of diverse characters. Even though I’m now living in Brussels, I currently spend my days penning this queer romance set in the USA, so readers worldwide can taste the thrills of San Francisco—and its rich cultural diversity—once it comes out, hopefully, next year.  

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you online at the Bold Strokes Books UK Festival on 6 June (broadcast from Nottingham, UK). I’ll be joining the first panel of the day with several amazing BSB colleagues, and later, I’ll be reading a short excerpt from my forthcoming lesbian romance.

Looking forward to seeing you at the festival!

Until then, stay safe,

Mickey

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