With the re-release of Circle of Change, and my increasing willingness to link my ‘real name’ publications with my pen name online presence, I am faced with a quandary. Three years ago, I changed my real world name, and I now use male pronouns. (I’ve also published speculative fiction under that name.) More and more, I’m talking and posting publicly about the experience of transitioning.
When I began the process of changing my life, I decided to not change my pen name, and to continue writing queer romance as Laney Cairo, with a feminine/androgynous persona. At the time, I had seven novels published under that name (I’ve since added Fountain of the Worlds), and maintaining connection with my existing readers was an excellent decision. This still makes sense to me! If my readers know who I am, of course I’m not going to change my pen name. And if you run into me in person, it’s fine to call me Laney, if that’s how you know me.
The only problem I’ve found so far? I look less and less like my publicity photo as time passes 🙂
When I wrote Circle of Change, I was tentatively identifying as genderqueer, and Circle was an extended, wistful attempt to imagine what it would be like to actually transition.
During the intervening years, I’ve made substantial changes in my life (as some of you will know, if you have read any of the social media posts from my Real Name writer pages). I’ve changed to using male pronouns, changed my name, and have explored some of the more technical options for altering my body.
Going back to Circle as a trans person has been emotionally unsettling. It’s reminded me of how much I wanted this process to happen. And I’ve had the eerie experience of re-reading a scene I wrote a decade ago that has since happened in my life. It’s one of the key emotional points of Circle, to do with acceptance and rejection of identity, and it played out exactly as I had written. How much does my subconscious know, if it puts scenes like that in my stories? How universal are these experiences? It took me some time to process the experience of re-reading the scene. Sometimes writing is hard.
If you were wondering, I would write some of the details differently now I’m transitioning in my own life, but I wouldn’t alter the core of the novel.
Today is a joyous day, Circle of Change is now available in print! This book has made quite an impact in its ten years, until now it’s only been available as an ebook. Thanks to you my lovely readers, it’s got a brand new shiny cover and is available in hard copy. I hope that it means just as much to people over the next ten years.
Over the next couple of days I’ll be sharing some personal thoughts around Circle of Change and I’d love to invite you to do the same in the comments. I’d love to hear what this book has meant to you since you first read it, or what you think if you’re coming to it for the very first time.
Circle of Change, my trans* coming-of-age novel, isn’t my best known, most popular title. It is, interestingly, the story that readers care the most about, though, based on the emails I receive. This gives me warm, happy feelings, knowing so many people have responded to a story that I wrote primarily for myself. This was my book of longing, when even openly identifying as gender queer seemed impossible.
One recent email about Circle of Change asked if Circle was ever going to be released in print, after only being available in e-book form for the better part of a decade. I forwarded the email on to lovely Kristi at Torquere Press [now closed], who replied immediately with the arrangements for a print release.
So! Circle of Change, in print for the first time, coming soon! I’ll post links as soon as I have them.