Small Town Living and Being LGBTQ by Tia Fielding

Hello all and please welcome Tia Fielding to the blog today! She is promoting her latest book Ten (Love by Numbers #1) and letting us know more about life in a small town while identifying LGBTQ.

Small Town Living and Being LGBTQ

If you’ve bumped into me before, you might know that I’m part of the LGBTQ+ community myself. I also live in a small town, although nowhere as small as the imaginary town of Acker, Wisconsin, where Makai moves to and Emil lives in to begin with.

I’m getting closer to forty and I’ve been single for ages. Ages, I tell you. And that in itself has made me think about what it’s like to be LGBTQ+ in a small town versus in a big city. What does it do to one’s sense of belonging to the community, their sense of self if you will?

You see, when you’re not straight and you’re single, people automatically think you’re straight, especially if you don’t “appear LGBTQ+” whatever that might mean. For a time in my late teens and early twenties I was in same sex relationships, and my family knew that, and thought of me as a lesbian.

Once those relationships ended, I was what I call “visibly single,” meaning I had online relationships that didn’t show to my family in my everyday life for years. That, I guess, made it possible for them to push the thought of my potential non-heterosexuality out of their minds more or less.

And that’s the thing. I know on the inside how I identify (genderqueer and demisexual) but it doesn’t really show on the outside. There’s no partner to introduce to anyone, my gender expression isn’t super strong to any direction, and I rarely talk about people I find attractive.

I’ve always said I’m not in a closet, because if someone asks, I’ll answer honestly. But nothing about me screams LGBTQ+ on the surface level. Sure I lean toward gender neutral clothing and my hair is short and I don’t wear makeup, but there are plenty of straight cis-women who are exactly like me in that regard.

So what would be different if I lived in a bigger city? Well, for one, there would be opportunities to meet other queer people. I might be dating someone others would see as being same gender with me. I might go to a pride, or to LGBTQ+ bar or meet ups or something else like that.

Living where I do, I rely on the internet a lot to nourish the part of my identity that doesn’t get nourished here, in the middle of nowhere small Finnish town.

That is part of why I chose to base the Love by Numbers series (of which Ten is the first story) to Acker. I wanted to be able to identify with the characters there from the queer perspective. Emil, in some ways, has had similar experiences when it comes to coming to terms with his sexuality as I did.

I, too, felt a bit weird in high school, knowing I wasn’t straight and thinking I didn’t have any other queer kids in the whole school (although statistically I knew there was most likely someone there, hiding like me.) I, too, knew of the openly queer individuals in town and looked up to them, even though they were potentially not people I should’ve seen as examples of what being queer was (long story short, they weren’t bad people, just misunderstood, and I never really communicated with any of them anyway.)

Luckily, I had an older friend who came out to me when I was a teenager and through her, I managed to get a glimpse on what it was to be queer in a big city. It gave me hope, even when it felt like I didn’t have any. Later on, I did manage to find a girlfriend from my high school, against all odds. But that’s a whole other story.

Emil, however, had something happen to him that changed him forever. It changed him so much, that it took years for him to come to terms with it, and even longer to find someone who could understand him on a level that would allow them to love each other, too.

So when you read Emil and Makai’s story, and maybe the rest of the series (book #2, called Four, will be released sometime in the summer of 2019, and I’m writing book #3 already), think about how it feels to them to find someone. The odds aren’t good if you think about it, yet somehow they find each other. And sure, my series set in my imaginary town ends up showing that there are more LGBTQ+ people in Acker than there would ever be in most towns its size, but hey, it’s fiction, and it works, so… who cares, right? 🙂

Title: Ten (Love by Numbers #1)
Author: Tia Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 15, 2019
Genre(s): Romance
Page Count: 218
Reviewed by: Kirstin


A Love by Numbers Story

Can two broken men build one life?

Ten years.

That’s what Makai lost for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s been exonerated, but the abuse he suffered in prison isn’t so easy to leave behind. He heads to the one place he remembers being happy: Acker, Wisconsin, where he spent summers with his grandpa. Unfortunately, not everyone wants Makai there.

Ten days.

That’s how long Emil, now twenty-one, was held prisoner as a teenager. The mental and physical injuries he suffered at the hands of a drug trafficking ring still haunt him.

Nightmares, anxiety, and PTSD challenge the connection forming between Makai and Emil, though together, they might find a way to move beyond their pain and into a future—and a relationship—that both had thought impossible.

Now they just have to convince Emil’s father, the town sheriff. It won’t be easy with danger closer than they know….

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By the Numbers Series


About Tia Fielding

Tia Fielding is a Finnish LGBTQ+ romance author. She lives in a small middle-of-nowhere town surrounded by nature and silence, just like she prefers. Tia identifies as genderqueer, but isn’t fussy about pronouns, because her native language doesn’t have gender-specific ones. She’s a lover of caffeine, sarcasm, peppermint, cats and dogs, sleeping and witty people.

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