Ace and Non-ace Relationships

It’s almost August, the latest County Durham Quad book was published in April, and I’ve hardly blogged about it yet. Here’s the cover

Silhouettes on the cover, as usual. I have no idea what the characters look like.

As always, crimes and mysteries feature in the plot, this time, homophobia and investment scams. Both had their origins in recent English events that were on my mind. Firstly, I was thinking about some changes to the school curriculum that were scheduled for September (but who knows what will happen with the disruption to school life from the Covid virus?) The new curriculum has a sex and relationships component that was designed to encourage inclusivity and show that there are successful alternatives to the trad mum and dad, het-normal family set-ups. Last year, some schools introduced it early. In some places, hysteria and panic. Little children having to walk into school through loud-mouthed placard-holding, homophobic protesters. It took a court order to disband one lot. Secondly, I was thinking of the about-turn made by the County Durham voters in the last elections. Traditionally a Labour stronghold, trade-unionists, left of centre, but fed up with the closure of all the old heavy industries and little put in to replace them. One of the poorest regions in the country. The area went Conservative and threw the Labour party out. And so I thought about investment scams, with scammers preying on people who have lost their jobs with little prospect of finding another.

The crimes in the books are always generated by real events. I get so angry but I also feel helpless. Writing is therapeutic. But the stories are always double-faceted and this one is too. It develops Nick’s relationship with the quad. I introduced Nick in Ace in the Picture, Book 3: he knew he was ace, but was he aro? I continued his story in Body Parts and Mind Games. He learnt a lot about himself in Book 4! I’d say that both those stories explore asexuality primarily from the viewpoint of the asexual character. A Share In A Secret explores it more from a non-ace perspective. Both Ross and Raith, two of the quad, envisage problems (for very different reasons – they are very different people, and they have different things to gain and lose) and I think that their apprehension is realistic. I’m ace, and married to a non-ace. I know that there are difficulties, but I also think that, sometimes, those problems are not the huge ones that they seem to be. That’s basically the message of the story. For me, it’s a positive tale and in no way a negative one.

One last thing: Ace in the Picture, Book 3, will be free on Amazon Kindle for 5 days from Friday 31st July to Tuesday 4th August, 2020 (Western Pacific time, I think) should you like to try it. If you do read it, or any of the others, I’d appreciate a review. Thank you. Jude

Link to Amazon Author Page for all books (ebook and p/back formats)

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