The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome author Liberty Lace today to talk a bit about taboo storytelling, censorship and breaking the rules. After Liberty’s article, you’ll also find Lynn’s review of The Secrets of a Twin, a book that was banned by Amazon and has since been modified slightly and released under a new title to accommodate Amazon’s content policies. You’ll find links to both this and The Secrets of His Stepbrother there.
And now, here’s Liberty.
LIBERTY TO READ WHAT YOU LIKE
Good morning, afternoon and evening wherever you are in the world. My name is Liberty Lace, I’m the author of several short stories and novellas dealing with Stepbrothers, Cousins and God-forbid… (yes, it’s time to put your sweet children or your dear old mother to bed, depending on your circumstances)… Twins and Triplets. I’m not the first to take a dip into these dark waters, I’m not the first to take a bite out of this forbidden fruit. Some of my favorite M/M authors have tread where angels fear to go, as have many readers. And the interesting thing is, once you go Twin, you’ll want all the way In! But I’m getting ahead of myself… let me begin again.
My name is Liberty Lace and I like reading and writing fiction that breaks rules. Why? Because I like to see what characters will do when they’re scared or reckless or forced to confront fears that not even society is willing to face. Why? Because I never know what the outcome will be, I never know how those characters will react, and I always wonder how I would respond in such circumstances. Alfred Hitchcock’s films were famous for putting ordinary people in extraordinary situations. I think “twincest” stories are very much akin to this. The story begins. Societal rules are broken. How will the characters react to their feelings and actions? How will the story unfold? It’s intriguing, no?
Certainly I understand that for some readers there’s an “ick” factor. For some readers, taboo means taboo. That’s okay, I’m not here to convert you… not unless your sense of curiosity tells you otherwise. Rest assured, this is all just fiction. It’s escapism. It’s fantasy. It’s a couple of handsome models on the cover of a book. And yet, there is something more. Twincest involves stepping into uncharted territory. It involves taking on a brave new world where angst and obstacles come from a completely new place. It wasn’t so long ago that M/M romance was the pioneer treading into that brave new world. I’m not saying that Twincest and Gay Romance are the same, they’re not. But I do believe they both break ground in terms of creating characters that need to overcome both internal and external fears and doubts, and they both demand MCs that must find the strength within to become who they want to be and love whom they want to love. As one of my characters says in my book Twins Entwined: ‘We don’t get to choose who we love. But what we do get, is the choice to deny ourselves that love… or to love with all our heart and not let anyone stand in the way. Be brave. Fight for your happiness, otherwise everyone ends up with a broken heart.’
That quote comes from the matriarch of a family in crisis when they learn that the adult twins in the family are in love. How will the different members of the family react? Well, in the end, that comes down to their own experiences and struggles with love and life and their own sense of self. That, my friends, is a universal struggle we all face… almost every day of our lives.
It was only recently that I began writing Twincest stories. I self-published them on Amazon. Immediately my sales spiked and I realized there was an insatiable market for this genre. Why? Because fans of this genre are starved for content, because Amazon bans every Twincest title they can… which is exactly what happened to my books the day after they were published. An internet troll (for want of a better term!) found my books and reported them to Amazon, then went on Facebook and bragged about having me kicked off Kindle. Did it hurt? Yes. Did it make me angry? Hell, yes. Did it defeat me? At first it did. I submitted to Amazon’s guidelines and changed two of my stories to meet their demands. I changed twins to stepbrothers. But I didn’t let go of the original stories I’d written. In fact, Amazon’s blanket-rule censorship made me more determined than ever to write within this genre. I started my own store at payhip.com/libertylace knowing that I’d lost all of Amazon’s marketing power, yet at the same time shaking that Goliath off my back with pride and relief. In less than 24 hours on Amazon I saw the demand for this genre. I saw that people loved reading what I loved writing. And it lit a fire in me to write more and more and more, until someday this genre is so popular that Amazon will realize that readers should be allowed to choose what they read for themselves, rather than be told what they can and can’t read by a corporate giant.
My name is Liberty Lace, and I believe that readers should have the liberty to read what they like. I don’t mind at all if you don’t want to read my books… but when it comes to an online company censoring a genre of romance and stopping readers from reading what they choose to read… then yes, I do mind. I mind a lot.
Thank you for reading my post, and thank you to the lovely Lisa for allowing me to post it.
Title: The Secrets of a Twin (Forbidden Glades: Book One)
Author: Liberty Lace
Pages/Word Count: 47 Pages
At a Glance: This author delivered in more ways than one. I’ll definitely be reading more of her stories.
Reviewed By: Lynn
Blurb: Tristan Rose has never seen eye-to-eye with his twin brother Thaddeus. Growing up together, the pair thrived on being the bane of each other’s existence. Estranged for the past ten years, Tristan and Thad both knew that only a tragedy would reunite them. And so, when news comes of their parents’ deaths in a light plane crash in Bermuda, destiny forces the twins back into each other’s lives.
However, what was supposed to be a brief reunion to bury their parents, becomes a trial that will test their tolerance and willingness to compromise when the twins discover their parents’ last wish is for Tristan and Thad to make peace with each other and live together for the duration of one year in the guesthouse of Forbidden Glades, the family’s plantation mansion deep in the heart of Louisiana.
And while Tristan is initially willing to live in the same house as his twin… discovering Thad’s secrets and long-hidden desires is something that will unravel everything Tristan has ever known, not only about Thad… but about himself.
As the long, hot year begins to unfold, the breeze of the bayous will blow back the Spanish moss like curtains to reveal a love so dangerous, so scandalous, so taboo, it could only belong in Forbidden Glades.
Warning: This Book Contains Consensual and Explicit Sexual Activity between Twin Brothers
Review: I’ve never read this author before, so I went into this not knowing what to expect. Having said that, I have read twincest before, so I knew what my expectations were. This author delivered in more ways than one. I’ll definitely be reading more of her stories. I know the sub-genre of twincest isn’t for everyone, but if I could recommend a starter book for those who want to get their feet wet, The Secrets of a Twin would be the one I’d pick.
With some backstory of their lives as children, and then continuing into adulthood, we really got a sense of Tristan and Thad’s relationship with one another. I loved how the author was precise and to the point with her words. Every word written had a purpose and moved the story along seamlessly. I really like the way the author handled the scenes in this story. From the flashbacks to the death of the parents to Thad and Tristin coming together, there wasn’t a moment that I felt I was missing something. It was a well-rounded, nicely told story.
The premise itself isn’t new: untimely death of parents bringing estranged siblings together, we’ve read it before. What I think is unique about this story is Thad and Tristan. To me, it just felt like a natural progression these two would take, and I credit the author for giving us that distinction through words and actions. They are likable characters who were a little lost in life. Coming back together for the reading of their parents’ will let them discover what they’ve been missing all along—each other—which was beautiful.
With all that being said, there is a little mystery with Thad. I know we don’t know his whole story, especially with that ending. I’m not going to give any spoilers away, but I think we’re in for a real treat in book two. I can’t wait.
Now, I know some will shy away from reading this because of the twincest and taboo tags, but I would highly recommend this one to start with. Broaden your horizons a little bit, people!
You can buy The Secrets of a Twin here:
Buy The Secrets of His Stepbrother here: