I love having guest posts from a wide variety of writers on Linda’s Book Bag and I’m thrilled to welcome Kim Erin Cowley to the blog. Kim’s novel Interloper tackles the issues of gender that many of us never consider and she writes about the power of fiction to allow us to experience life vicariously today.
Interloper was published in August 2017 and is available for purchase here.
What we do is hard, because it’s not supposed to be possible.
Change was everywhere in early 1980’s London. New sights, sounds and the fresh confidence of a new generation determined not just to subvert, but to become the future.
Lee Habens arrived from small town grief, seeking her own change. She hoped to be part of the new revolution – but on her own terms. In short, Lee needed to become the woman she had not been born.
She would need to find ways to support herself and to fund a complex and terrifying journey she could only loosely comprehend. She would need to walk the delicate lines between the straight world and places where genders pass and blur. And she would need to do it all unnoticed – until it would be time to move beyond, to the life for which she’d always felt destined.
There would be new challenges, old secrets and relationships of impossible promise – for if a new life could be created, perhaps even love could stand a chance.
From West London to Brighton, Bristol and the South of Spain, Interloper echoes a time of optimism and flamboyance; fear and danger. The prize is peace and a place to call home. For the interloper to finally belong.
Taboo – The Power of Fiction
A Guest Post by Kim Erin Cowley
Even the word seems not to belong: Taboo. It has neither an Anglo-Germanic feel, nor spelling – and that’s because we owe it to the kingdom of Tonga. The word came back from faraway lands with Captain Cook in the 18th century and quickly found a home in the social consciences of English people, who knew only too well the nature of the forbidden.
We don’t say the word by accident. If feels fulsome and warm to mouth. When introduced to a conversation, it usually demands instant attention. We are drawn to taboo by excitement or rebellion – and yet we are often fearful of guilt by association.
Perhaps this is why the book still provides the most accessible and yet private window to the voyeur. From Lady Chatterley to Fifty Shades; In Cold Blood to American Psycho; Dorian Gray to The Line Of Beauty, we choose the kind of ink that doesn’t stain.
Nothing else transports us to other worlds so honestly and completely. We are privy to motives and behaviours that may offend and even disturb, but the nature of the medium forces us to take in a feeling or a thought – and at least try to understand – before turning the page. It’s just us and the tale in those moments. Nobody else has to know.
We can even try on the events we read, wearing them in an imagined version of our own lives. How would I cope if this was me? What would people say? Would my life even survive this? Empathy dressed by literature.
Where we take our newest complexity is then up to us. Do we delve silently, deeper into the genre – or seek out a companion by asking another if they have read a particular title and then trying to gauge their perspective?
For some who have wondered as to the true appeal of the unspoken, fiction can genuinely provide answers or unlock thoughts and feelings long in search of words. Passion and instinct drive most of what dares to head out beyond the pale. Sometimes a writer speaks for us, because we cannot – or dare not. One thing is for sure, having been exposed to a pure and new perspective, we are never quite the same. When it comes to art – and indeed heart – we cannot un-know what has been learned.
The wider world can live within a single room. All that is needed is a book and an imagination.
About Kim Erin Cowley
Kim Erin Cowley was born on the Kent coast in 1963 and moved to London at the age of 19.
Kim Erin Cowley began a media career in the 1980’s, dealing with promoters and record companies on behalf of various music magazines including Sounds and Kerrang!.
By the beginning of the 90’s she’d found her way to the film business – initially in the shape of trade titles, Variety and Screen International and for an extended period, at the British Film Institute. Kim Erin Cowley spent almost two decades providing support services to producers, distributors and broadcasters.
As a result of her experiences of changing gender Interloper was written.