Writing In My Dreams was such a special process for me. I am asexual, and for so long, I believed that any romance novel I wrote would have to include allosexual characters. I didn't think anyone would want to read about a main character who's asexual, especially if it was a romance novel. I really believed that a romance novel had to include sex--but all I really wanted to write was the romance (because that's what appeals to me). You know, those scenes where your characters are falling in love, where everything's new and exciting, where you're really emotionally invested in a pairing.
And where there's also no sexual attraction.
Because that's what it's like for me. I'm asexual, and I don't experience sexual attraction or have a desire for sex. I'm still attracted to people (physically and emotionally), and I'm still very romantic (though many on the ace spectrum are also aromantic, I'm heteromantic). But I really wanted to write a romance where my own sexuality was represented--a book that would combat several myths about asexuality. Because, let's face it, people have asked if I'm "like a plant" when I've explained that I'm asexual. They've assumed I can't fall in love. And sometimes they've assumed that I'm broken or just haven't found the right person yet. They often think that any (non-sexual) relationship between an ace couple or an ace/allo couple can "just be a friendship" (when it's really so much more than a friendship, it's falling in love too). But people often look at me as if I'm crazy when I explain this.
All those reactions to my asexuality are so invalidating of my sexual orientation, and the more I thought about it, the more I knew I had to write a book for people like me. But also for people who aren't ace. There's a lot of misinformation out there about what asexuality is and what it isn't, and I want to show people what being ace is like for me. And how it doesn't mean that an ace person can't have a relationship with an allo (sexual) person. Because it is possible--and being ace doesn't mean all we absolutely have no sex. Some do. Some don't. Some like sex, some are sex-repulsed. Being ace isn't about whether you have sex or not--it's about whether you feel sexual attraction and the desire to have sex or not. Those are two very different things.
Only I was still apprehensive about writing this book. Not only was it scary putting so much of myself in a book (making myself vulnerable, especially when a lot of my friends don't know I'm ace), but I was worried that some readers would be disappointed when they realized this was an asexual romance and would automatically assume it was cold and unfeeling (which ace romances are NOT!). They wouldn't realize this was pretty much a 'sweet romance' story, in that those books also have no on-page sex (and often little or no implied sex). There are just so many harmful stereotypes out there when it comes to the word 'asexuality'.
But a chat with m/m romance writer Crystal Lacey persuaded me that I should tell this story--Crystal was so encouraging, and she said I should definitely publish an own-voices book. And In My Dreams is just that. And writing this book was so validating for me. I still can't get over that. This was the book I needed to write--and it's made me realize that I have to write more books about asexual characters. I need to see more people like me in my romance.
A huge thank you goes to out to everyone who's supported me with In My Dreams and preordered it. When I saw my preorder numbers this morning, I was actually blown away! I really hadn't anticipated that so many people would want to read this ace love story, and it was just such a wonderful feeling knowing that others want these kinds of stories too.
About In My Dreams:
Twenty-five-year-old Polly Brady was supposed to fly off on a dating holiday to meet others, like her, who identify as asexual, but when the nature reserve she works at goes into lockdown after a terrorist attack, she finds herself stuck with Harry Weller, her childhood friend and the only man she's ever loved. There are just two problems: Harry doesn't know Polly's in love with him, and he's also very sex-orientated.
Still, Polly knows other couples who have had successful ace/allo relationships, and given she was looking forward to romance this summer, what's the harm in seeing if there is a spark between her and Harry? Especially when the lockdown gives her the perfect opportunity to get close to him.
One way or another, Polly's going to make sure Harry notices her--and she's got just the plan to make this happen. Even if the plan keeps backfiring and making her look crazy.
In My Dreams is a heartwarming and tender sweet-romance featuring some questionable fancy dress choices, too many bow ties, and a girl who's determined to do whatever it takes to get her man. This is also an #ownvoices story for asexuality representation.
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