Thank you so much for having me here today, Brandon. Today I’ll be talking a bit about how my own life and the life of people I know or read about got mixed up within the writing of the Black Sheep Trilogy.
Black Sheep over all deals with a few over reaching themes: abuse, self mutilation, depression and, most of all, love. What I’ve experienced within the LGBT community is that almost everyone has to deal with these subjects either for themselves or because of friends at one point or another. They are strong themes and I might have overestimated the impact some of these things have on one’s life and how to express them properly within my writing.
Black Sheep started out with two things, the first was the ending scene of Loving in the Present (the second book) and the first chapter of Letting go of the Past(the first book), which emotion wise couldn’t be further from each other. The ending of Loving in the Present is about the aftermath of homophobic abuse Jack (the MC’s lover) has experienced, which is quite possibly one of the most heartbreaking moments I’ve had to write to date, though not by far the most grueling. The first chapter of Letting go of the Past is the moment that Vic realizes that his interest in Jack might be mutual.
The moment I started writing Black Sheep I didn’t have anything other than those two things and no way to connect them. Slowly I figured out things like Vic’s past, Vic’s ex lovers and Jack’s family bonds. There are things I’ve cut due to that they would make my writing and the story muddy. What I did want to make clear was that not all LGBT books have to be either lovey-dovey or super depressed, I tried to find a mix that was true to life.
Vic might be a character that isn’t always easy to identify with, but at only eighteen he has been in multiple relationships and not all are good. This seems to be something that I’ve seen happen around me a lot. People getting into relationships that they don’t know how to navigate, becoming sometimes nothing more than the helper and sex toy of the other. I wanted to show this, though I also wanted to show the other side. Vic is not a weak character, out of all the characters I think only his older sister is stronger, he doesn’t want to dwell on the past. But his past with his abusive ex still greatly influences his life in the now and his relationship with his new boyfriend.
Vic’s depression is something that is very close to me. I’ve had to deal with my share of depressions during my teens but I’ve also had friends who I’ve seen go through them and totally change that person. This I wanted to show too. A big part of Loving in the Present is about how Vic sees things differently when he is feeling well versus having bad days. Some of the most important scenes in this book are triggered by Vic’s bad days and might sometimes not easy to understand for everybody.
Black Sheep: Letting go of the Past (Black Sheep Trilogy #1) is on sale for $0.99 from Amazon and other retailers.
Which is the last thing I tried to show in the Black Sheep Trilogy. Vic’s depression and illness do not just influence his own life, but that of the people around him. I wanted to make a book with hope but also explanations. Jack, Anne and Adam all show different insights to both Vic’s actions in the present of the book but also in his past. In a lot of books that deal with heavy subjects like depression you often get either a lot of the narrator’s own vision or you get a book written for outsiders who have to deal with the subject.
I tried to show both, not just how Vic experiences things but also how everybody around him deal with them. Why? Because no-one is purely an outsider and no-one is purely an insider. I’ve been on both sides of the fence and I think they are ultimately linked together even if others like to ignore that.
For me the Black Sheep Trilogy and especially Loving in the Present is about friendship, love and trying to live a life that is full of bumps, no matter what they are.
Vic has taken a turn for the worse and is back in the psychiatric hospital. Jack gets kicked out of his house when his parents find out that he is gay. The reason Adam is not getting better is revealed. And that is just the beginning.
Everybody is lost and trying to not let it spiral out of control. Jack moves in with Vic’s family, making it his temporary home until he can move in with his brother and sister. Vic’s health doesn’t improve until he hears about Adam, at which point he put his mind to getting better. Adam on the other hand is fighting his own feelings about Vic’s illness and questions their friendship.
When Vic and Jack visit Adam and Tom for Tom’s birthday, it seems like a great way to let loose, but Vic is hiding more secrets than anyone knew and when they are exposed the situation explodes. Vic storms off in anger and seeks solace in dangerous places and, unknowingly, putting not just himself, but Jack too at risk.
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About the author:
Kia Zi Shiru is a Dutch girl studying English and Creative Writing in the UK. Amongst her interests she finds writing, reading, doing research and learning different languages (including but not limited to: English, Dutch, French, German, HTML, Java, PHP and Assembly). Her writing and reading habits include books with Young Adults, gay themes, strong female or minority characters and fantasy elements (more often then not all at the same time).
If you are a LGBTQ author, musician, or filmmaker and would like to chat, please feel free to contact me.