I started writing the book Potato Chips and Wine in 1996 at Dartmouth College as a sophomore. This is essentially an ‘era piece’, which reflects my own sexuality/sexual orientation of being primarily attracted to girls (when I was a teen) and then being romantically involved with women as a young college student and later graduate student.
Mostly finished by 1999, I added a few things to the book in the early 2000s, like making Pearl (the protagonist) a vegan. I wrote this book because as a queer Black woman, born and raised in rural New England, and then attending college in an even more rural area, I never had access to young adult fiction with a contemporary Black teen or queer protagonists-- after all, I spent my formative years in an all white rural New England school system and read approximately 0 assigned fiction book by a Black author and none with queer protagonists [that I can recall].
The books I was required to read mostly assumed that everyone was (or should be) white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, and of Christian faith. (Don't get me wrong. I did appreciate them in terms of writing technique and storytelling) However, I decided to write a book for me and those like me who wanted to experience representation of themselves– Black and queer– in a young adult novel.
Unfortunately, I never got the book published by a press. Publishing in the mid 1990s/early 2000s as a Black queer author, writing about Black queer protagonists, was difficult when it didn’t necessarily fall into either erotic or urban fiction genres. The book was neither.
But, it is 26 years later and I somehow found Potato Chips and Wine in my Google Drive. I thought, “Shit, I need to share this with the world! No matter how immature and ignorant it is now. Ha!”
This book, I guess, also reflects the mindset of a youth (me) during the Generation X era in the USA (Yes, I am a proud Generation X woman! ). With a few minor edits to the manuscript that took place in 2023, the style purposefully has not been changed to reflect where I was as a writer, thinker, young woman, etc.
As a pansexual identified woman, I look back at how much progress that has been made in the world of young adult fiction, that reflects the diversity of racial and queer experiences out there that was M.I.A. for most of us GenXers.
I am aiming to release this by Summer 2023 as an eBook. Please support me if you can by becoming a Patreon subscriber (see below).
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