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History Was On My Side

Janet Mason Author Interview

Loving Artemis follows the lives of women who were trying to figure out who they were at a time when being LGBTQ+ was not accepted. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

When I wrote Loving Artemis, it was more than seven years ago. I didn’t know it at the time but now when I look back, I see that I spent a lot of time trying to make sense of the background that I fled from. My novel, Loving Artemis, an endearing tale of revolution, love and marriage (published in 2022 by Thorned Heart Press) was the culmination of that process.

What character did you enjoy writing for? Was there one that was more challenging to write for?

Loving Artemis is fiction, but the story is based on my own experience and that of other girls who were actual people. As I told a friend, I probably gave the girls better endings than they actually had. Because the characters were based on actual people, I don’t remember it being difficult to write any of the characters. The thing that was the most difficult was getting all the history straight, so to speak. Like most writers, I tend to be more right-brained. So I really had to make sure that all the dates and facts of history were accurate. I did live through that history. Like my main character Grace (who I identified most with even though the writing was fiction, and her character was a composite), I married my partner after we were together for more than two decades.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

In a broad sense, I explored the idea of being yourself as a young person amid a sea of conformity and how to survive. In the process, I explored the theme of growing up as young lesbians in the era where it was still “the love that dare not speak its name,” meaning that being yourself was forbidden. Not everyone got out alive.

A historian friend commented to me that I documented an important piece of history leading up to marriage equality. That history is still with us. I was amazed in 2015 when same-sex marriage was ruled by the Supreme Court of the United States to be legal nationwide.

And I was amazed today when I learned that “The Respect For Marriage Act” (protecting the right to same-sex and interracial marriage nationwide in the U.S.) was passed by the House and is expected to be signed into law by U.S. President Joe Biden.

One of the themes that I didn’t think about until after the final edit of the book was empowerment. I had such a hard time growing up (like one of my main characters, Grace, I fled from my working-class conventional background) that I actually dreaded going back and editing the book. When I was through the editing process, I actually felt like I had been more empowered than I thought. Actually, I felt a little victorious. Like Grace, I had escaped into my life and history was on my side.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The novel I just finished writing and am still revising is a little different. It features a talking, pregnant whale telling her story—that of the beauty and importance of the sea which is her home and her process of working through her knowledge of history (especially, the history of humans hunting whales) and learning to trust some humans whose help she needs.

I tend to have a novel published every two years. Before Loving Artemis was published in 2022, my novel The Unicorn, The Mystery was published in 2020 by Adelaide Books. So I’m hoping my new novel will be published by 2024.

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Artemis found the love of her life when she met Linda, but their passionate relationship fizzles when Artemis lands herself on the other side of the law. Pulling the pieces of her life together, Artemis rekindles her relationship with Linda, and together they raise a daughter.

Meanwhile, Grace, running from her past, starts a life with Thalia. At a pride parade, Grace spots someone who reminds her of Artemis, who she was briefly involved with in her youth. Old feelings are rekindled. A lifetime of rejection, abandonment, and fleeing rears its head. Now she must come to terms with her past, put her relationship with Artemis to rest–or risk losing everything.

Artemis and Grace embark on a journey of revolution, love, and marriage and discover that love finds us when we least expect it.

Loving Artemis

Loving Artemis, written by Janet Mason, is a tale of finding love that starts during a time when being LGBTQA+ was not accepted and spans to a time when it has become more accepted. Artemis is a young girl in love with a girl named Linda. She wants to do something to get her attention and thinks that riding a motorcycle will impress Linda. But, as she becomes closer to Linda, Linda isn’t sure what she wants.

Artemis and Linda separate, and Grace come into Artemis’ life. Grace isn’t sure if she could ever love anyone, but the more she gets to know Artemis, the more she realizes she can love someone. However, Artemis falls prey to a devious plan that gets her removed from school. Grace decides to move on with her life and finds the one person meant for her. She sees someone she thinks looks like Artemis at a Pride parade in 2015, and all her memories and feelings come flooding back.

Janet Mason does a beautiful job developing this coming-of-age story. Her character development is well done and allows the reader to easily imagine them in their mind. The character of Artemis is complex and relatable for many people. Her character had a bright future, but she got mixed up with the wrong crowd of people. Readers will want to see if things turn around for Artemis and will be drawn to keep reading to see where she ends up.

Linda is a lovely character filled with self-doubt and unsure of the future. She seemed like she was really trying to figure out what her life should be like. She wasn’t sure if she would go to college or end up like her mother. But she was able to figure out where she was meant to be in the end.

I was especially drawn to the character of Grace. I think her character was stronger than she even realized. Her personality jumps off the page and makes readers pay attention to what she has to say. She knew what she wanted in life and knew how to get it. I enjoyed reading about her character, and I felt like I understood why she made the decisions she did. I wish I was more like her when I was younger.

I loved this book. Janet Mason discussed issues that the LGBTQA+ community has endured for many decades. In addition, she brought up topics of historical significance so that we readers can look up these topics and learn more. I think these are important topics to discuss, and I am glad they were able to bring them up in their book.

Loving Artemis is a heartfelt coming-of-age Lesbian romance novel that follows the lives of women that were just coming into their own back before it was socially acceptable. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in LGBTQA+ topics and ones that love fiction that includes some reality.

Pages: 269 | ASIN : B0B33TZ9DX

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