By Liv Rancourt
Release Date: June 15, 2017
Contact: Liv Rancourt (email@example.com)
Thanks so much for having me back on It’s About the Book! I’m excited to be talking about my newest release, Aqua Follies.
One thing that sets Aqua Follies apart is the time period in which the story takes place. I picked 1955, not only because the real Aqua Follies were a regular summer event in 1950s Seattle, but also because the ‘50s were such a tough time to be a gay man.
Societal attitudes towards homosexuality and every other part of the LGBT alphabet have changed over the course of history. For example, in 1920s New York, Paris, and other large, cosmopolitan cities, same sex couples were part of the sophisticated culture, and while there were still anti-sodomy laws in place, for those who lived in the city, there was a greater level of tolerance.
By the middle of the 20th century, homosexuality and lesbianism were thought to be pathologic psychological conditions, and if you were caught engaging in those activities, you could be jailed or worse. There are records of men and women being forced into psychiatric institutions and treated with shock therapy or lobotomy.
To say the ‘50s were difficult is an understatement.
Despite society’s pervasively oppressive attitude, there were pockets of greater tolerance. Seattle’s Skid Road neighborhood south of Yesler Avenue was a red light district. From the 1930s, establishments that catered to homosexuals or lesbians were allowed to operate – as long as the management paid the cops a weekly fee. Because of that sturdy system of graft and corruption, Seattle had an unspoken and unacknowledged openness to homosexuals and lesbians.
I find 1950s America to be a fascinating and somewhat idealized time. The good things – the post war energy, the good jobs, the new technology – overshadow the less pleasant aspects of society. There were good jobs available, but only to men, or more to the point, white men. So much has changed since then, but given the current seismic shifting of our social mores, I think it behooves us to remember our past mistakes.
And…yeah. That got a little deep. If you’re still with me, keep reading for an excerpt from Aqua Follies, and make sure you enter the rafflecopter giveaway. To celebrate Aqua Follies release, my writing partner Irene Preston and I have a $25 gift card up for grabs!