Throughout September, we’re celebrating the women of queer Sci-Fi/Fantasy! You can find the master-list of posts and the schedule here!
Today we’re excited to welcome author Michelle Osgood to the blog, to talk about female representation in fiction and putting “any kind of women’s butt” in “every single seat at [the] table.”
So welcome, Michelle, and thank you so much for joining us today!
Getting Women’s Butts in Seats by Michelle Osgood
Hello! I’m Michelle Osgood, author of The Better to Kiss You With and Huntsmen, the first two books in my series about queer girls, werewolves, and really hot sex.
When I began writing my first book, The Better to Kiss You With, I knew I was in a unique position—suddenly I didn’t have to wish for a funny, sexy werewolf story where a cute chubby femme gets the hot butch werewolf, I could write it! So I did. Then I wrote the next book, Huntsmen, where a surly, bisexual Alpha werewolf reunites with her fiercely independent, lone wolf, genderqueer ex-lover while they’re on the run.
What writing Deanna and Jamie’s, and then Kiara and Ryn’s stories brought home to me, was that it isn’t enough to simply have female characters in scifi and fantasy. If the women in a story can be replaced by a cardboard cutout—think the traditional shape of a ladies’ room sign—then the inclusion of a woman or women in the text isn’t enough. Women aren’t interchangeable. One woman does not represent all women. One woman cannot represent all women.
The solution? More books by women, for women, and about women. Publish these books. Write these books. Review these books. Tell your friends about these books. Buy your mom these books. Ask your library to carry these books!
Scifi and fantasy books with diverse, queer female characters need to exist, and not only exist, but thrive. We are lucky to see more books published these last few years that fit the bill; Santa Olivia by Jaqueline Carey, Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee, and the inclusion of queer women in shows like Orphan Black and Wynonna Earp is encouraging, but it still isn’t enough to have only a handful of identities and experiences represented.
I don’t want to have written the fat girl queer werewolf romance, I want my fat girl queer werewolf romance to be one of a dozen—two dozen!—queer romances that have fat girls and werewolves. I want scifi books about older women working on Mars, urban fantasy about a group of queer women who run café, high fantasy where the princess and her dragon explore the world and meet their neighbouring queens.
I want to see a world where women don’t have to settle for the lone female character who’s meant to show us “See? We did give you a seat at the table”. I want every single seat at that table to have a woman’s butt in it. Fat butts, thin butts, queer butts, straight butts, disabled butts, butts of colour, trans butts, poor butts, rich butts, young butts, old butts… any kind of women’s butt you can think of, I want to see that butt!
Except the butts are all books, and the table is the expanding canon of fantasy and science fiction, and no woman will wonder “Is there room for my story here?” because yes, there is! We have room for your story, and then some. Pull up a chair and park your butt; we’ve got work to do.
The Better to Kiss You With
In the rare moments when Deanna Scott isn’t working as the moderator for Wolf’s Run, an online werewolf role-playing game, she wanders the local forest trails with her golden retriever, Arthur, and daydreams about Jaime, the attractive, enigmatic woman who lives upstairs.
As Wolf Run’s “den mother,” Deanna is accustomed to petty online drama. But when threats from an antagonistic player escalate, Deanna wonders if her awesome online job could be riskier than she’d ever imagined—and if her new girlfriend knows more about this community than she had realized.
Months after saving Jamie and Deanna from crywolf, Kiara and her brother Cole have moved into the city. While clubbing one night, Kiara is stunned to see her ex, Taryn, on stage. But before she can react, Jamie notices a distinctive tattoo in the crowd: an axe rumored to be the mark of the Huntsmen, a group of werewolf-tracking humans. The girls need to leave immediately—and since Taryn is also a werewolf, they need to take her with them.
The Huntsmen are more than a myth, and they’re scouring the city for lone wolves just like Taryn. Until the General North American Assembly of Werewolves lends a plan of action, Kiara’s small pack is on lockdown in Nathan’s apartment building, where she and Taryn must face the differences that drove them apart. Furthermore, the longer the group waits, the more it seems the Huntsmen haven’t been acting entirely on their own.
Michelle Osgood writes queer, feminist romance from her tiny apartment in Vancouver, BC. She loves stories in all mediums, especially those created by Shonda Rhimes, and dreams of one day owning a wine cellar to rival Olivia Pope’s. She is active in Vancouver’s poly and LGBTQ communities, never turns down a debate about pop culture, and is trying to learn how to cook.
Connect with author Michelle Osgood at michelleosgood.com; on Facebook at facebook.com/osgoodmichelle; and on Twitter @OsgoodMichelle.