Monday, February 13, 2012

Guest Author Post: Alyssa Palmer: Prohibition in 1929: Why F/F?

The easiest answer would of course be “Why not?”, but that doesn’t make for a very interesting blog post, does it?

Synopsis: Ruth wants to escape the boredom of Bandit Creek and the strict expectations of her father, the local pastor. Her life changes the day she meets CeeCee, a world-wise flapper, and an irresistible attraction develops between them. She’ll be disowned and shunned if anyone discovers their prohibited passion, but can they keep their growing affection a secret?

CeeCee is drawn to Ruth, but things become complicated when her gangster companion disapproves of their liaison. He’s in town to broker a deal with the owner of the local speakeasy, and he’s not above using them to further his own plans. Can CeeCee protect Ruth and their budding relationship?

As Ruth gets drawn further into their world, she must decide between her familiar life and a new, dangerous path with the woman she loves.

When I was first brainstorming ideas for the novella that would become PROHIBITED PASSION, the main romance was heterosexual. Luke, the inexperienced pastor’s son would become enamored with a flapper and former taxi dancer from Chicago named CeeCee. There’d be a handy little love triangle with the flapper’s current beau, a gangster and rumrunner, and that would be the conflict.

Except it would read just like every other erotic romance, with perhaps a couple of extra points for it being an inexperienced man instead of a shy young virgin woman. Still, I didn’t feel enthused about the project.

As I was looking through a list of Biblical names, it came to me. Make the protagonist female. And so Luke became Ruth.

When Ruth sees CeeCee for the first time, she feels a strong attraction, and she’s intrigued. CeeCee is like no one she’s ever known. Ruth knows she would be disowned and shunned if anyone found out her true sexuality, but she has to take the chance before CeeCee moves on.

Unfortunately for Ruth, CeeCee isn’t alone. Her gangster boyfriend knows of her bisexual preferences, and he disapproves of her romance with Ruth. Unlike the townspeople and Ruth’s father, it isn’t because f/f relationships are wrong, but because he’s in love with CeeCee too.

As the title implies, I set the book during Prohibition. Thus I had to consider the societal pressures and the very real possibility of what would happen if Ruth and CeeCee were found out. In a large city it might be easier to be gay (though closeted), but in a small town in the late ‘20s? Either conform to the expectations of married bliss, or be the town spinster. There’s one gay character in the novella who has conformed; he’s married, and until he tells Ruth, she never would have known.

In the end, I found a balance between realism and the needs of my story. The historical and societal pressures didn’t overcome the need to portray an intense and beautiful relationship.

Alyssa has many passions. Fortunately, none of them are prohibited. When she isn’t working, she’s cooking up a storm in her kitchen, writing dark tales inspired by mid-20th-century noir books and films, and reading. You can find her at, and on Twitter. Her novella PROHIBITED PASSION is available on Amazon and Smashwords for $2.99.

Click here to read the first chapter of Prohibited Passion.