Tainted Love : T.S. Hunter Guest Post

Now how lucky I, I feeling right now, two spots on the Tainted Love Blog Tour and I get to kick the first of my two days with a bit of a guest post. Now to totally get me in the mood for this I have of course got the eighties soundtrack playing in the background, singing voice at the ready. Now I do worry ill annoy the other half but she Is a huge 80’s music fan and is actually singing louder than me. Okay ill stop waffling on now and let you all hear from the main man of the hour Mr T.S. Hunter :

Notes from a small-town boy. 

When I first pitched this series, I hadn’t necessarily set out to wave a great big rainbow flag, but I see now that I must. I think one of the main reasons I came up with this series in the first place is because I love crime and mystery stories, and I am also a proud gay man, and I can count on my own digits the number of good crime stories I’ve read which feature gay leads or, for that matter, and LGBTQ characters who aren’t just cast in the role of the victim, the comedy file, or the damaged psychopath. There are some, but not many. 

John Copenhaver, author of Dodging and Burning, wrote this wonderful post (electricliterature.com/10-lgbtq-crime-fiction-must-reads) highlighting the similarities between crime narrative and the coming out narrative, in which he features 10 LGBT crime novels. When you read through his list, there are some genuine classics among the roll of honour, though even this list is a predominately American Affair.

And yet we Brits have a long and colourful history of crime, cosy crime, and murder mystery. So why do the two worlds not collide more? I decided that they should , and so the idea of a cosy crime series, set in the UK, with predominately LGBT characters came into being. It wasn’t until I hit upon the right time and place to set it in that it actually began to take shape.

I remember the first time I went to Soho in London, it was in the eighties. It was my first time visiting London, and I was completely overwhelmed by the place, In many ways, my wide-eyed, slack-mouthed, awestruck reaction to the seedy streets and sex shops was almost exactly as I describe it through Joe’s eyes in the book. The smells, the sounds, the mix of people, the colours, the noise. Everything was so bright, so exciting, and so glamorous compared to the closed-minded town where I had grown up. I finally felt like I had found a place where I could be myself. 

Statistically, there must have been other gay, lesbian ,trans, bi and queer kids in my school, but I didn’t know them. Perhaps there was a huge closet that they all met in during break-time that I didn’t know about, a bit like the kids who didn’t have to go to assembly for religious reasons. If there was such a Narnia, I never found it, though avoiding the playground and corridors during any free time became an art form of mine. 

Despite knowing from  my mid-teens, I don’t remember ever discussing my sexuality with my peers. Obliquely, perhaps but never specifically. Bullying was rife, beatings were common, anybody who was out of the norm had to be good with their fist, or fast on their feet. Ideally both. It was a time when Gay was an insult levelled at anyone who did something a bit crap, amongst kids anyway. But what was happening to our adult compatriots was far, far worse.

 

When you look at the advances we’ve seen in the last 30 years for gay rights, equalities, and freedoms, it’s hard to believe that some of the main characters in the series even existed. But they did, and probably far worse than I’ve presented them, too. The police, for example, and the levels of corruption and discrimination they brought against the gay community. It seems unbelievable now that any public servant could have got away with that kind of behaviour. And yet, when you start looking into the old files—all of which are available online, by the way—from the early days of GALOP (Lesbian, Gay and Bi-Sexual Anti-Violence and Policing Group) they make for some very interesting reading.

Perhaps more than just seeing positive LGBT characters in mainstream genres, I have also realised that it’s important for us to remember those who came before, who fought so hard, and suffered so much, for us to have the rights and freedoms that we have now. We must keep remembering lest we forget, and allow that hatred to seep back into society again. And God knows there have been enough examples of that recently. So we must keep fighting for those who will come after us. So please, take this series as my—very small—rainbow flag, waved vigorously in support of all of my kind of people.

 

My many thanks to T.S Hunter for this guest post piece it is very much appreciated and to Dylan at Red Dog Press who is just a gem and a pleasure to chat too.  Now what I will say about the rainbow flag is I cant wait to build mine with all the books in the series and may have already cleared a spot next to Tainted love ready for when I buy the others in the series. The next book In the series is Who’s That Girl? which will be released on the 5th  June with what looks like a very pretty orange spine… form an orderly queue behind me now .  The rest of the books in the series are : Careless Whisper, Crazy For You, Killer Queen and SmallTown Boy, these will all be released over time and we will have our very own rainbow flags in time for Christmas.

You can Buy Tainted Love on Amazon or directly from Red Dog Press.  If you prefer you could always check out your local bookshop and ask them to order it in of they don’t already stock it. Now that’s about it from me until tomorrow that is, if I can contain myself long enough, truly a series I’m very excited about this year but sssshhh all will be revealed tomorrow.

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