FOR US is Christian LGBTQ+ romance and I'm not apologizing.
I can't GET ENOUGH of this gorgeous new cover for my latest novel by TeylorA.Art!
'For Us' is a love story for LGBTQ+ people who don't want to choose between their Christian faith and their sexuality. It's a love letter to queer bodies and queer sexuality and families embracing their LGBTQ+ kids and their partners. 'For Us' paints a picture of a rainbow church community hosted by a loving, generous living God.
If you're not comfortable with the mild steaminess of a cozy romance novel, this story probably isn't for you. I'm okay with that--I didn't write 'For Us' for a broad audience. I wrote it for LGBTQ+ kids and their parents in our pews, who long for a future that includes long-term partnerships, sexual intimacy and vibrant Christian spirituality.
If you're a Christian pastor or parent, you know deep down that someone needs to tell this story. Our same sex attracted kids need wholesome alternatives to the stories told by the gay porn industry and a media culture that celebrates the hedonistic pursuit of self-expression at the cost of community. Our kids need someone to tell a story about their straight parents 'getting' them and wanting to include them even as they become adults in long-term same sex, or non-binary relationships.
You're welcome not to read these novels. At this point, in my forties, I have lived long enough to hear many an LGBTQ+ friend tell the story of their twenties and I felt it was time for me to take up my pen and write about a God who is lovingly for them and all of us. Your prayers of help and blessing for myself, my family and my readers would be much appreciated.
At this time, 'For Us' and it's sequel 'For Keeps' are available exclusively on Wattpad:
Here's the nitty-gritty backstory...
You guys, my last novel 'Wake' felt like it took forever to finish. There were so many storylines up in the air that I wanted to land in a satisfying way--not just Cary's abuse recovery journey, but also Jon's difficult relationship with his pastor dad and spiral into an opiates addiction.
Mid-way through writing that novel, Jon surprised me with how much he needed to come out of the closet. I had been aware since the start of 'Lay Me Down' that there was a possibility that Jon White was gay. By the time I was half-done 'Wake'--and completely done being employed as a pastor--I was sure of it. The toxicity of that secret was literally killing Jon. I wrote the last half of 'Wake' twice and had a pile of conversations with gay Christian friends alongside my own research to do justice to Jon's story.
Part of the difficulty of finishing 'Wake' was that I was committed to the conservative Christian reader fan base I had already. I really wanted to give them a story that had space for a spectrum of views on same sex attraction. While I personally have moved to want to embrace and include LGBTQ+ Christians in community, marriage and church ministry, I was aware at the time of publication that most of my readers weren't there. My only agenda with 'Wake' was to tell an honest story about the real experiences of closeted LGBTQ+ Christian kids, and show a loving parental response to Jon's coming out.
In Summer 2020 I finally self-published that fat rainbow book but I couldn't celebrate with any kind of release party because, you know, COVID. I had masked meet-ups with local reader fans so they could add signed copies to their libraries, but frankly it was a bit of a let down after so much work to finish the story.
Fall 2020 I started writing a spin-off story about Jon White and Curtis Klassen, an LGBTQ+ New Adult romance. I so badly wanted to give Jon and Curt a shot at love, and but anyone could recognize there was no way that would end well when they were teenagers. I thought Jon and Curt might have a chance in their twenties, if they were to bump into each other again. The opening scene was so riveting coming out of my pen that I had to write on to find out what happened!
Meanwhile, my daughter was on Wattpad every day during COVID with a little community of fan-fic readers and writers. I was reading the first chapters of 'For Us' to her out loud, and she coaxed me to join the app so she could share my stories with her friends. And that is how a not-cool forty-something mom ended up on Wattpad lol.
Wattpad felt like the perfect LGBTQ+ friendly platform to find some readers for this heartfelt little project. 'New Adult' is a new genre for me--where 'Young Adult' stories are about first love and coming of age, 'New Adult' is about characters in their twenties navigating long-term relationships, finishing university and making career decisions. And I was right--'For Us' has thousands of reads now and a devoted little following of fans waiting for more words.
So I thought 'For Us' I was going to be a heartfelt Christmas romance novel that I would write through December and finish in early January 2021. I completely underestimated how many words I had in me about Jon and Curt! I needed an escape hatch into a cozy world of all the hugs and unmasked church services and crowded extended family dinner parties during COVID. 'For Us' and the sequel 'For Keeps' (included in the same project) was that for me.
I published the last 'For Us/For Keeps' chapter almost six months later than I expected, in June 2021. Who doesn't love Christmas in June, am I right?
I am basking in the happy-sad feeling of giving characters I love a good ending and having to say good bye (for now). I have more projects about Jon/Curt & Cary simmering on the stove...for the most up-to-date news about my writing, follow me on Wattpad!
Check out Rachel's Wattpad page here.