Book: A Welded Wave
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication date: February 13, 2017
Length: 100 pages
For Mark, choosing to transition was one of the best decisions he ever made. And life has been looking up recently because he's got his MFA from the University of Minnesota and landed a huge commission to build one of his welded bike chain sculptures. He's even got Enis, the most amazing best friend anyone could ask for. The only thing he'd really like to add is a lover, but so far his romantic relationships have been nothing more than learning experiences.
Then a breakup leaves Enis available, and Mark starts to see possibilities he hadn't before—but intimacy could ruin the friendship he values more than anything, and that's assuming Enis would want him at all once the clothes come off.
Ever since the later part of my teenage years, I've felt that my body does not reflect who I am. There was a long period where I considered hormones and gender reassignment surgery. It came up again and again and I eventually decided that surgery of that type just was not for me and that hormones would not provide what I wanted. Now I inhabit the space between genders whenever I have the freedom to do so.
This life experience has given me great respect for what transgender individuals go through and I wanted my debut novel to have a transgender main character. It was challenging because I didn't want to make the story revolve around the trans identity of the main character, but I wanted to incorporate experiences people I know who are trans go through. I was worried that I had not found the right balance until I heard back from sensitivity readers that only a couple small things needed to be fixed.
One of the themes I incorporated into this book was body image and the worry that people won't accept us as we are. My sister struggles with this, my boyfriend struggles with this, my wife struggles with this, and I struggle with this. It's especially potent the first time you take off your clothes for someone you're planning to be intimate with.
When I was getting undressed for my first time naked together with my boyfriend, I remember thinking about whether he would suddenly say, "I'm sorry, I can't do this." His acceptance of my naked self was a great relief. Incorporating this theme into "A Welded Wave" was important to me because it's the awkwardness and vulnerability of intimate relationships that make them so worthwhile.
I've read books where that human vulnerability is missing and it feels empty to me. If the only thing the characters have to worry about is whether they really do love each other, it seems like half of a story. When I worry about whether someone likes me, I worry about little specific quirks like whether they will have an issue with my odd way of mangling English sentences when I'm stressed or tired, get annoyed when I go on and on about a technical topic, or not want to email me back because I sometimes write long emails.
Most of these worries are not things that I'd worry about if I could think logically about them. I completely forget that I've learned not to do many of the things that used to annoy people in the past. I remember my awkward teenage self when I'm working toward being intimate with someone and it has taken a lot of dating and relationship experience to let that image of myself go.
Triumphing over this vulnerability and making close connections with people is one of the most beautiful parts of the human experience and I push myself to capture it in my writing. It leads to much better emotional payoff and it makes the triumphant sex even hotter. And make no mistake, "A Welded Wave" has a lot of hot sex.
I look forward to writing more books and continuing the momentum I got from getting published by Less Than Three Press. Getting this book accepted put away a lot of my doubts about my future as a writer and has gotten me all excited about creating more stories!
About the Author
Z.A. Tanis is a writer, linguist, programmer, artist and public speaker who’s lived on a tropical island and in the frozen tundra of the upper midwest. The loves of Z.’s life are a wise and beautifully honest boyfriend, an understanding and brilliantly intelligent wife, and writing imaginative fiction.
After many years not fitting into the simple categories of “male” and “female,” Z. has rejected them and happily inhabits the space between. Only since joining and writing for the LGBT+ community has Z. found true expression.
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