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 things 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.
Reveals and Meet-Cutes
In almost every single story about transgender people, there is a moment of dawning realization where the cisgender person/audience realizes that someone they thought of as cis is actually trans. In the worst examples, this dawning realization is often turned against the trans character in a moment of violence: think of the scene with Dil and Fergus in the 1992 movie The Crying Game. Transgender identity is often something revealed to the cisgender audience for shock and awe factors, even in romances that actively work with queer identities.
There is no way of getting around this act of revealing. Pointing out how Katie, the trans woman in Hopeless Romantic, was a transgender woman (and not cis like most people presume) was difficult for me to parse out as a writer because I didn’t want to default onto bad tropes in writing in order to reveal her. Some writers will say that identity can be hinted at, but I didn’t want anyone to misread my hints as something else. But I was also adamant that I wanted to tell this story from a cis perspective, even though I’m trans, because I wanted to challenge that representation surrounding revealing, rather than finding a gateway around it.
What finally allowed me to ‘solve’ this issue was to remember that I was writing a romance, which also has a reveal moment: the meet-cute. When the protagonists meet one another often becomes a dawning realization of attraction or love. It’s not quite the same as trans identity being revealed, but I was sure that if I made a good meet-cute, then when trans identity was revealed through the very cis and ignorant eyes of Nick, it could be a reveal of kindness and not exploitation.
So I had Nick and Katie run into each other. Literally. She opens a door, they bash into one another, and books drop. Perfect romantic comedy fodder. And in that split second where Nick realizes he’s in pain from bashing into a door, he also realizes, just maybe, he could be in love with the woman that crashed into him.
I wanted to represent that bashing together because it’s what happened through the rest of the narrative as Nick understands trans identity: identities collide. Assumptions collide. They misunderstand one another. But they keep coming back to one another, again and again. That to me was the real point. Differences are always going to bash into each other. But it’s the coming back that really matters.
Or at least, that’s what I think. And I hope I’ve succeeded in allowing for Nick and Katie to fall in love with one another while also sometimes crashing at the same time. If nothing else, I hope it’s a hilarious visual!
About the Book
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.
About the Author
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.
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!