We’re pleased to welcome author Chris Scully to The Novel Approach today, on the tour for her new novel, Until September. Enjoy Chris’s guest post, and then be sure to check out the giveaway details below to enter for the chance to win a $20 Riptide credit.
Writing Culturally-Sensitive Characters
Hello! I’m Chris Scully. I’m thrilled to welcome you to my Until September blog tour! Join me at various tour stops, where I’ll be sharing some of the background of this novel, my thoughts on writing, and more. Comment on each stop to be entered in a drawing for a $20 Riptide gift certificate. Thanks for joining me on the tour!
Writing characters from cultures or ethnicities not your own is always a risky proposition for an author. There is always the chance that some readers may object to your portrayal, or think you don’t have a particular right to tell that story because you haven’t lived it.
I live and was raised in the hugely diverse city of Toronto. From a young age, almost all my friends came from different cultures and ethnicities. I saw how first generation Canadians struggled to merge their identities, and I got to experience all sorts of different foods, religions and cultural events that I would never have been exposed to otherwise. It shaped me, and my approach to multi-culturalism. It was inevitable that this would make its way into my writing at some point—this is the world I see every day and feel strongly about.
Archer Noble, the main protagonist in Until September, is probably the riskiest character I have ever created, and it will be interesting to see what sort of reaction (if any) he gets from readers. Archer is an urban First Nations Cree man (Native American Indian), and in Canada right now, indigenous issues are at a pivotal point. A series of horrific experiences in his youth has made Archer turn his back on his heritage, and while it’s not central to the plot, it does hang over him.
At first I worried it would be tough making this thoroughly Canadian character globally accessible, but the surprising thing to me was that Archer’s life story is universal; while the details may differ, the situations are relatable to anyone who has been marginalized by race, religion, class, or even economic status. We are products of our environments. Some people overcome it—some do not.
I have a feeling more M/M readers will be outraged by Archer’s views on marriage and monogamy (he’s against them) than his background, but still I find myself holding my breath and waiting for the proverbial axe to fall. I hope readers will see that Archer comes from a place of respect, and a desire to introduce them to a subject they might not know much about. My goal was never to be gloomy or depressing or negative, but rather to show a strong character who doubts himself, but manages to rise above his circumstances of birth.
About Until September: As a teenager, Archie Noblesse clawed his way out of the poverty, heartache, and abuse of the reservation and left his family behind. Desperate to shake the shadow of his past, he reinvents himself as Archer Noble, an outspoken blogger and controversial author who lives only for himself. But when his beloved sister dies, Archer is saddled with guardianship of his niece and nephew.
Elementary school teacher Ryan Eriksson is devastated when his best friend Marguerite is killed, leaving her two young children orphaned. Helping Archer with his new responsibilities eases his grief, but when Archer offers him custody of the children, Ryan’s left with an impossible choice: get the family he’s always wanted, or respect Margie’s wishes and convince Archer to give parenting—and his heritage—a chance.
To buy time, Ryan promises to stay for the summer, hoping that Archer will change his mind and fall for the kids. But Archer’s reluctant, and the growing attraction between him and Ryan complicates matters. Legal decisions must be made, and soon, before Ryan returns to school. But with hearts involved, more than just the children’s future is on the line.
About the Author: CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada. She grew up spinning romantic stories in her head and always dreamed of one day being a writer even though life had other plans. Her characters have accompanied her through career turns as a librarian and an IT professional, until finally, to escape the tedium of a corporate day job, she took a chance and began putting her daydreams down on paper.
Tired of the same old boy-meets-girl stories, she found a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve. She divides her time between a mundane 9-5 cubicle job and a much more interesting fantasy life. When she’s not working or writing (which isn’t often these days) she loves puttering in the garden and traveling. She is an avid reader and tries to bring pieces of other genres and styles to her stories. While her head is crammed full of all the things she’d like to try writing, her focus is always on the characters first. She describes her characters as authentic, ordinary people—the kind of guy you might meet on the street, or the one who might be your best friend.
Although keeping up with social media is still a struggle given her schedule, she does love to hear from readers.
Leave a comment for a chance to win $20 in Riptide credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 13, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
The Fine Print:
*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law