I was reading a review of another writer's latest book and the reviewer complained about what she thought was a too-common trope: The male gay best friend. Admittedly this particular writer (and many others) do have the gay best friend routine down.
I have a gay character or two in my Poppy books, too. Jordan Keep joined in the second book, Plenty of Trouble. I purposely didn't want to make him flamboyantly, stereotypically gay. Yes, he has some artistic flair and can make some fantastic store displays and arrange furniture like a dream, so I guess that's a bit stereotypical, but I didn't want a gay man mincing across the page.
I made some fantastic friendships in college, with mostly gay men. No one lisped. No one squealed or demanded glamming up. (Though my character Fiona might in many ways have a lot in common with stereotypical gay males, now that I think of it.) My friends usually liked what I considered really good dance music. (I mean, Madonna's Vogue or some Diana Ross disco jams ... bring it ion!) But otherwise these were guys who seemed mostly like any other guy, except they liked guys. In many ways they were like Max Blum from Happy Endings, but not likely to devour a deep dish pizza in one sitting and use the shirt they were wearing as napkins...
But this reviewer made some intriguing suggestions: Why not have a lesbian best friend? Or a gay lead character?
That would be interesting, I thought. I do have my gay Jordan and his boyfriend Ash. They just happen to be guys who date, and, yes, probably dress nicer than your average fellow, but they're not going to be rocking sequins and boas any time soon.
I also introduced the character of Meadow not long ago either. She's not really gay or straight, however. She has an affinity for sweets, and is drawn to people she finds to be sweet-natured. It doesn't matter if they're male or female. I kind of think of her fitting some nature vs. nurture theories: If we weren't nurtured into gender roles and expectations, would any of us be gay or straight? Tina would like Tammy. Tammy might one day like Tom. Tina would move on and date Sharon. And so on.
That's a post for another day, perhaps.
But a prominent lesbian character might be an interesting challenge. The wheels are turning. ...
I'm Magenta Wilde, author of the Poppy Blue paranormal fantasy series, and the forthcoming Happily Hereafter series. Hint: It involves ghosts.