Kris Ripper has a new book series out called Queers of La Vista, and you absolutely need to be reading it. This soap opera-inspired series set in the fictional small town of La Vista, CA is home to a diverse and engaging cast of characters… and a murderer who is preying on the La Vista queer community.
Zir newest book is The Queer and the Restless (which follows after Gays of Our Lives and The Butch and the Beautiful… and if you don’t think those titles are the most brilliant thing ever… well, clearly we need to have a talk). Mel calls it “fabulous” and “[her] favourite so far” in the QOLV series (check out her five-star review here)! Each book can be read as a stand-alone.
Kris joins us on the blog today to talk about writing a transgender character like Ed, and how ze chose to write a trans character instead of a trans experience.
So come meet Ed, a news reporter who dreams of writing the headline articles, and Alisha, an energetic woman with dreams as big as the sky. Fall in love with them just like we did. And see what Kris has to say (and not say!) about writing trans characters.
Let’s Talk. Or Not.
By Kris Ripper
The main character of The Queer and the Restless is a trans man. So. Let’s talk about the nitty gritty of transitioning. Let’s talk about hormone replacement therapy and mental health services and legal restrictions by locality. Let’s talk about the requirements for changing gender on one’s governmental identification card.
Let’s talk about the intense social aspects of transitioning in one’s same peer group, in the community where one grew up. It’s complex, and sometimes heartbreaking, full of conflict and angst. Let’s talk about the trans experience.
Nah. Let’s not talk about any of that stuff, except as it relates to the story being told in The Queer and the Restless.
I’m not a trans man. I know there’s a temptation when one is writing someone who’s different from themself to do a ton of research and educate readers. I’m, uh, sort of not an educator. Ever. Like if you come to me with questions about queerness in general, I will probably tell you to ask google. If you come to me with questions about me, and my various queer and other identities, I can answer those (though I may still choose not to).
This book is not about the trans experience. It’s about one dude. Living his life. He’s been transitioning long enough so that he’s no longer obsessed with transitioning. So this book doesn’t talk a lot about the details of transitioning.
I didn’t make the decision to not get into the nitty gritty lightly. I talked it over with some other folks: queer folks and straight folks, trans folks and cis folks. I understand that some readers are super curious, and want all the details. I also understand that some folks who read this book will have never read a trans man main character before, or will have only read one or two.
In the end, I’d rather leave folks with questions. Read more books about trans characters! Good ones. Ones that make it clear that everyone’s experience is different. Talk to people who are actually, you know, trans. (I’m on Twitter at @SmutTasticKris, FYI.)
If I’d written a book about a trans person just beginning to transition, or thinking about transitioning, there would be a lot more conversations about that aspect of Ed’s life. Instead I’ve written a book about two folks just getting to know each other, and they have the conversations everyone should have when they’re just getting to know each other: What do you like? Does this feel good? Where shouldn’t I touch? I like this sensation, but not that one. I like sex in these ways, and I’ve always wanted to try that.
Whoever you are, whatever your gender, I hope you have as much fun in bed (and everywhere else) as Ed and Alisha do!
Ed Masiello has been on testosterone for a year, is working his dream job as a reporter, and is finally passing as a man (so long as you don’t ask his abuela). But the investigation of a murder case is starting to take over his life. Afraid he’s becoming obsessed, he goes to the local club to relax, and meets the flighty, whimsical Alisha.
Alisha is a free spirit who’s tossed aside ambition for travel and adventure. Her approach to life is a far cry from Ed’s, and while Ed has always assumed that meeting his goals would make him happy, Alisha is much more content than him—despite all the plans she can’t yet fulfill.
As their relationship heats up, so does the murder case. Alisha thinks Ed needs a break, but someone’s got to find this killer, and he wants to be there when it all goes down. Besides, taking off into the great unknown with Alisha is crazy. But opting for what’s safe is just another way of living in fear, and Ed vowed to stop living like that a long time ago.
Purchase The Queer and the Restless from:
And be sure to check out the entire Queers of La Vista series on the Riptide website!
Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.