I knew as soon as I’d finished Write Your Own Script that Carmen needed her own story. She’d played a pivotal role in Tamsyn’s life, and it was clear she wasn’t that happy with her own love life. And while her sexuality hadn’t been revealed in Write Your Own Script, in my head as I wrote her it seemed obvious she was straight. Or was she?
When I sat down to write Dare to Love, knowing this was going to be all about Carmen coming out later in life, I also knew that she wasn’t necessarily going to slap the ‘lesbian’ label on herself. In fact, as everything with Ash was so new to her life experience, she wasn’t going to tag herself as anything specific while she worked through her feelings, and that was absolutely fine – there is never a rush to label yourself, or indeed, to ever do so. There is no one-size-fits-all with sexual orientation and identity, nor is there a standard timeline for going through a coming out.
By sheer fluke, a friend I discussed Carmen’s potential story with had just read a couple of articles about women who were realizing later in life that perhaps being with a woman, rather than a man, was a better fit for them. There are links to the articles below, if you want to read them. What struck me in reading them was that for many, it wasn’t a gradual realization that they found women attractive in general, but rather that it was one particular woman they connected with that brought these unexpected feelings and desires to life. It was also true that for a lot of the women, there was no great need to fit into one particular box – the idea of sexual fluidity is mentioned, and this seemed really important for Carmen’s character and the development of her story. Suddenly finding herself attracted to Ash is completely life-changing, and yet at the same time is something she needs to take a lot of time to think through, to see how it fits her, her life, and her relationships with all the other people in her life.
I hope I’ve done that kind of story justice, and presented a slightly different take on the classic coming out story. You can judge for yourself – grab a copy here from Ylva Publishing!