Sometime in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my summer release, Anyone But You. It’s the story of Cathryn and Stacie, the last two women on earth you’d expect to mix, since they’re practically oil and water — or more literally, Big Oil and environmental activism. Yet despite their political differences, they can’t seem to resist one another, and something has to give.
Anyone But You was conceived as a love story for two women on opposite sides of a contentious issue. Enduring relationships require compromise, so my question was whether either was willing to give up her principles for love. I explored several topics before settling on the conflict between the oil industry and those trying to stop its expansion, and I now doubt I could have chosen a more quarrelsome backdrop.
You probably can guess my politics on this issue, but researching this book forced me to explore the arguments on both sides of the fossil fuel debate. I wanted very much to portray both of my main characters as rational human beings who genuinely believed their actions were for the common good. Sadly (or I should say angrily), I discovered a situation that was far worse than I ever imagined — a corporate/government partnership that’s committed to minimizing the perception of environmental disasters while maximizing industry profits, and relentlessly intimidating those who try to stop them. If the egregious acts of the fictional Nations Oil and local law enforcement seem outrageous, consider that many of these acts are documented in Pulitzer Prize-winning media reports and court filings.
At its core, Anyone But You is a romance, but I won’t try to kid you that it isn’t meant to carry a deeper message as well. I try to write books that leave you thinking, even if those thoughts are a bit unsettling. Romances though … they always end happily, that being a rule and all.
Back to the title of this blog … I always write a few paragraphs at the beginning of each book to acknowledge those who helped me put it together — the editors, the experts who gave me insight or guidance, and the production staff at Bella Books. Occasionally I also dedicate the book to someone.
I’ve posted here before about my position on the Board of Trustees at the Lambda Literary Foundation, so you already know that part of my job is to raise money for that organization. I was thinking about auctioning off the Dedication Page to the highest bidder, but auctions can be stressful. You have to keep checking back all the time, and you never know what will happen at the last minute. Plus, when there is only one winner, others end up disappointed. There’s no good reason not to say, “This book dedicated to …” and then list the names of everyone who wants to be recognized in a romance with a message. If you’d like to see your name on that list:
I know I ask often for your support, and I’ll probably do that as long I serve on the LLF board because it’s my duty. However, I totally understand that no one can say yes to everything. For those of you who sometimes do, I’m grateful, and always looking for creative ways to say thanks. I’d like to raise at least $500 for the Foundation on the Dedication Page. $1,000 would make me ecstatic. More than that would cause delirium.
UPDATE MARCH 1ST: The deadline has now passed, and you have caused delirium. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!