This is not a book about “being trans.”
Lemme explain. I’m a cisgender woman. When I decided Tina would be transgender three years ago, I didn’t know I was going to be writing her story two years later. I just knew that I have transgender friends who are an important part of my life, and if Ben’s story was going to reflect the world I live in, so should he.
Readers responded to Tina—enjoying her personality and asking for more. The first time someone asked if I would be writing her book I said “I’d love to.” Yeah, that was a total cop-out. I was terrified that if I wrote the book, I would do something wrong. I wanted to tell Tina’s post-divorce story, because I love Tina, and I didn’t want to inadvertently hurt anyone through ignorance.
When I started turning over the idea of a roller derby story with Tina at the center of it, I started to really question what being a woman means to me, and what it means to Tina, and how I could tell a story about communities of women and what we mean to each other. That was when I realized how very few romance novels I’ve read that celebrate female friendship for its own sake.
I’ve been asked why the fact that Tina is trans is not in the blurb. (It is tagged as trans in Riptide’s tagging system, and I’ve openly promoted it as a book with a trans MC). The answer is really simple: this is not a book about being trans nor is the fact that Tina’s transgender part of the conflict. As a cis author, I don’t believe stories “about being trans” are stories that are mine to tell. Instead, this is a story about love, friendship, and roller derby—with a transwoman kicking ass right in the middle of it all.
About Roller Girl:
Recently divorced Tina Durham is trying to be self-sufficient, but her personal-training career is floundering, her closest friends are swept up in new relationships, and her washing machine has just flooded her kitchen. It’s enough to make a girl cry.
Instead, she calls a plumbing service, and Joanne “Joe Mama” Delario comes to the rescue. Joe is sweet, funny, and good at fixing things. She also sees something special in Tina and invites her to try out for the roller derby team she coaches.
Derby offers Tina an outlet for her frustrations, a chance to excel, and the female friendships she’s never had before. And as Tina starts to thrive at derby, the tension between her and Joe cranks up. Despite their player/coach relationship, they give in to their mutual attraction. Sex in secret is hot, but Tina can’t help but want more.
With work still on the rocks and her relationship in the closet, Tina is forced to reevaluate her life. Can she be content with a secret lover? Or with being dependent on someone else again? It’s time for Tina to tackle her fears, both on and off the track.
When the shock of it wears off, I turn on the light.
Oh God, I’m not dreaming. My dog is soaking wet and standing on my bed.
I rub a hand across my face and blink up at him.
“Did you tip over your bowl, baby?”
He shakes out his coat again, and it hits me that he’s really soaked. Not paw-in-the-bowl wet, but fell-in-the-lake wet. At one in the morning.
“Down, Elvis,” I order, sitting up.
With a whine, he jumps to the floor and starts rolling on the carpet to dry himself. My bed is drenched. Jesus. I’m going to have to wash the sheets. At one in the morning.
“Thanks, Elvis.” I glare at him.
He wags his tail. Damn, it’s hard to stay mad.
“Come on.” I pull on my robe, and Elvis follows me through the house but stops before we get to the kitchen and starts whining.
Of course I don’t take the hint. One step onto the tile floor and I’m flat on my ass—with a splash.
The kitchen is flooded; water’s pouring out from—the washing machine? Oh God, I’m useless at fixing things. People? Bodies? I can work with. But things?
Lisa would have known what to do. Lisa could fix anything. It hits me like a fist in the stomach—Lisa isn’t my wife anymore, and she isn’t ever going to fix anything for me again. Sitting on my ass in cold, soapy water, I actually think about calling her. Yeah, that conversation would be fun. I can hear it now.
Oh, hi, Lis! I know it’s the middle of the night and you hate my guts for killing your husband, but can you tell me how to fix the stupid front-loading washing machine I bought you for our anniversary?
No calling Lisa.
I’m so fucked.
I run through the list of people who are still talking to me who might know what to do and who would answer their phones in the middle of the night. Eddie—but he’d just wave his wallet at the problem, and I don’t need money; I need someone to tell me what to do. My dad? No, not unless I want him to talk to me like I’m three instead of thirty-eight.
One in the morning. I cringe, but I dial anyway.
“Tina?” His voice is sleep-slurred. I’m an asshole. “You okay, sweetheart?”
“My washing machine flooded my kitchen. What do I do?”
There’s a long pause.
“Ah, shit. Um. Turn off the electricity at the breaker—in the garage. You know what it looks like?”
“Hold on.” I go out to the garage and glance around. Elvis, unwilling to follow me across the wet floor—not that I blame him—whines. “No. What does it look like?”
“Gray metal box, flush to the wall.”
I spy it peeking out from behind boxes of Lisa’s stuff. “Yeah, found it.” Moving a box out of the way, I open the panel to see the rows of switches. “Okay, now what?”
“Anything to do with water should be labeled. Actually, if the electrician who wired your house was a super-nice guy, they should all be labeled.” They are. Thank goodness for super-nice electricians. I find the one that says “Laundry” and flip the switch.
“Okay, electricity off. What now?”
“Unplug the machine. Get the clothes out and into buckets—like five-gallon paint buckets. If you don’t have buckets, maybe put them in the bathtub. Dry the kitchen up as best you can and call a repair person.”
Okay, I can do that. I can handle that. “You’re a lifesaver.”
His distinctive, bold laugh fills my ear. “Nah, that’s you. Wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t come to borrow my electric screwdriver that night. Telling you where to find your breaker is the least I can do.”
I swallow around a lump in my throat at the memory, and then it hits me. Ben’s party is tomorrow—yeah, maybe it’s weird to celebrate his sobriety with a party, but it’s damn well worth celebrating. “Your thing is tomorrow?”
“I understand if you can’t come.” His voice is soothing, easygoing. He really does understand, and he doesn’t hold grudges.
Like I’m not going to be there though? No way I’d miss even a normal day on the lake with my best friends, let alone one that means so much to all of us.
“I’ll call you in the morning and let you know what the plan is with the repair person, but hell or high water, I’m planning to be there.”
He laughs again. “I think you got the high water covered. Okay, T. Call me later. G’night.”
I hang up the phone and go to face the mess.
About Vanessa North:
Author of over a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories, Vanessa North delights in giving happy-ever-afters to characters who don’t think they deserve them. Relentless curiosity led her to take up knitting and run a few marathons “just to see if she could.” She started writing for the same reason. Her very patient husband pretends not to notice when her hobbies take over the house. Living and writing in Northwest Georgia, she finds her attempts to keep a quiet home are frequently thwarted by twin boy-children and a very, very large dog.
Connect with Vanessa:
- Website: vanessanorth.com
- Facebook profile page: facebook.com/AuthorVanessaNorth
- Twitter: @VanessaNWrites
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/VanessaNorth
To celebrate the release of Roller Girl, author Vanessa North will be sending one lucky winner a special gift basket!
Gift basket will include an autographed copy of Roller Girl, a purple Lake Lovelace Roller Girl t-shirt in your size, a pair of waffle earrings, some derby stickers, and more!
Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest.
Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 30, 2016.
Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.
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