Pretty in Pink
As I stated in an earlier post for the blog tour, I absolutely love rom-coms--hence the title of the book! Hopeless Romantic acted as my chance to write a work packed with cheesy moments alongside 1980s retro nostalgia and pop culture references and package it with a queer bow. Nick and Katie are some of the cheesiest characters I've written, but they're also highly aware that they're cheesy (which really, I find makes all the difference). Early on in their relationship, they get into a playful fight about what rom-com is the best. I've written a post on my relationship to Lloyd Dobbler, but another romantic comedy deserves its spot in this tour: Pretty In Pink.
I can't even say the name for it without getting the title song in my head. The soundtrack for the movie is one of the best ever written, and so much of it has to do with how the song emphasizes the film's narrative arc. And I nearly named my book Pretty In Pink instead of Hopeless Romantic because I love the song, the film, and the gendered implications of the name. But I didn't, and mostly that's because my partner, who is the inspiration for Nick, is a huge fan of the Romantic poets, and well, the pun was too good to pass up.
But back to Pretty in Pink. As a phrase, I felt as if it described Katie so well. Katie is a trans woman, and effectively has had to renegotiate her identity and her gender expression when she transitioned. Most of that major decision making is done by the time she gets together with Nick, but there are still hints of that process. She still sees doctors for hormones and she still struggles with some official ID, but people in her workplace accept her and so do her classmates/friends. Being 'pretty' is more than just looks--its acceptance by her friends and family. And being 'pink' means that she can be who she wants and express her gender however she wants--whether that is in a super feminine pink dress that she wears on one date with Nick, or in jeans and t-shirts for her favourite bands, which she does a lot more.
For my own trans identity, pink has been a difficult colour. I was assigned female at birth, but eventually transitioned socially as a trans person, settling on a nonbinary identity. I used to hate pink because it meant being a woman, something I didn't want but didn't know why growing up. When I settled on my identity as nonbinary and came out, I was afraid of pink because of what it could signal to everyone else. So being 'pretty in pink' for me has meant finding out that I like pink, because it's nice, and wearing it without fear, because I can adorn myself however I want. And why should I be afraid of being pretty when the word 'pretty' itself doesn't have to have a gender associated with it.
So I feel like the only fitting way to end this post, and this blog tour, is to post the music video that encapsulates so much of what I wanted to say. And let's face it--the song is also in my head right now anyway.
About Francis Gideon:
Thank you all for reading!
Nick Fraser is a true romantic. He wants the guy instead of the girl, but other than that, he wants everything his favorite rom-coms depict: the courtship, the passionate first kiss, the fairy-tale wedding. But after breaking up with the love of his life, Nick wonders if anything fairy-tale will ever happen for him.
Then he meets Katie, who’s just like a rom-com heroine. She’s sharp, funny, sweet, and as into music and punk culture as Nick is. What’s more, he’s incredibly attracted to her—even though she’s a woman. Nick has never considered that he might be bisexual, but his feelings for Katie are definitely real.
When Katie reveals that she’s transgender, Nick starts to see how much he doesn’t understand about the world, queer identity, and himself. He is hopelessly in love with Katie, but this isn’t a fairy tale, and Nick’s friends and family may not accept his new relationship. If he wants it all, he has to have the courage to make his fantasy a reality.
Francis Gideon is a nonbinary writer who dabbles in romance, mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal genres. Francis credits music, along with being an only child to a single mother, as why they write so much now. Long nights at home were either spent memorizing lyrics to pop-punk bands or reading voraciously. Add a couple of formative experiences in university, a network of weird artist friends, and after years of writing stories Francis never showed to anyone, they now have books to their name.
After receiving an MA in English literature, Francis wanted to do something a bit more fun. They soon found the LGBTQ romance community and fell in love on the spot. Since then, Francis has attempted to balance writing romances with as many different types of couples as possible while also attending school for their PhD. When not writing fiction or teaching university classes, Francis works on scholarly articles on everything from character deaths in the TV show Hannibal, the online archive of Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, and transgender representation on YouTube. Francis is a middle name, used to keep students from Googling their teacher and asking far too many questions.
Francis lives in Canada with their partner, Travis, where they often spend nights disagreeing about what TV show to watch and making bad puns whenever possible. Travis receives dedications in Francis's novels because he tolerates Francis's long hours and listens to random story ideas late into the night. Francis also might be a bit of a hopeless romantic—as if you didn't already guess.
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