I first met Natalie Perry at a monthly meeting for the Boise Chapter of the Nonfiction Authors Association. She’s outgoing, outspoken, and a fun person to be around. As she shared bit of her life and writing goals with the group, it quickly became evident she had quite the life story to tell. A couple of years later, I found myself copyediting her memoir, which was published by the partner-publisher Red Cricket Press. Natalie is continually making strides with her advocacy work, and there’s no question her work will be of great value to queerspawn the world over.
Official Bio: Natalie is an Idaho native who believes in a future where gay families are equal and no longer have to hide in the closet out of fear. She aspires to reduce discrimination against LGBTQ families through the power of education and sharing her own family story.
Natalie is an advocate for LGBTQ families. She participates in Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day, is active with COLAGE, and represents Idaho on the Western Region Advisory Council through Family Equality Council. She is the founder of Treasure Valley Queerspawn, a Boise-area group for teens and adults who have at least one LGBTQ parent or guardian. Dad #1, Dad #2: A Queerspawn View from the Closet is her first book.
Dad #1, Dad #2: A Queerspawn View from the Closet
1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your most-recently released book.
My book, Dad #1, Dad #2: A Queerspawn View from the Closet, was published in June. It chronicles the highs and lows of growing up with gay dads in one of the most conservative states in the country. My book begins 20 years ago when my dad came out to my immediate family. He is a former Chief Judge of the Idaho State Court of Appeals so he couldn’t come out publicly without fear of losing his job.
This is the first memoir written by a child growing up in a closeted LGBTQ family. While my family kept our secret for two decades, they have now all agreed to share our story. We hope to start conversations and build acceptance for LGBTQ families.
2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.
I write for many reasons. My family has experienced a lot of discrimination. When I was younger I wrote to process and to heal. Now I have loftier goals; I want to inspire others to change the world. So, mostly I write to make people feel. I want my writing to affect and impact people and the best way to do that is through the heart.
3. As an Idaho resident, what do you most enjoy about living here?
To be honest, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Idaho. My family was closeted because of the conservative nature and level of intolerance that existed here 20 years ago. I had several negative experiences when I was younger that really kept me from seeing much of the beauty here.
On the other hand, I think it’s a great state for a writer. There’s lots of nature, which I find inspirational and peaceful. I love to find a quiet nook in the park to write. So in that regard I can also feel surrounded by beauty. And being back in Idaho now, after leaving for 10 years, I’m happy to see that people are changing and becoming more open.
4. Describe some highlights of Idaho’s literary community.
We have a strong community here! I was surprised when I started joining professional writing groups. There are many talented people here. The best part is that they truly believe in sharing knowledge and helping each other. I’m constantly learning from others’ successes and I feel blessed to have this opportunity to grow.
5. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?
I have two websites. My main site in my author and advocacy platform: natalieperryauthor.com. My blog focuses on education and social justice issues specific to the LGBTQ community. My goal is to start discussions on difficult topics and answer questions about my experiences and our community.
I also have a travel blog: gadabouttheglobe.com, which is less active at this point as my main focus for the last year has been my book. I would like to get it back up and an running in the coming months.
6. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail?
I tend to be disciplined in my writing. My day job is in Project Management and those skills definitely help keep me on track with my writing goals. I self edit but also ask for input when I feel stuck. For my book, my family read each draft and gave feedback. I also had a group of beta readers review my first draft and later worked with a professional editor when I felt it was more polished. All of these steps were helpful for me, but I think the most important was working with a professional editor. I will continue to do so, especially for my large projects as they have a way of helping take my work to the next level.
7. Are you traditionally published or self-published?
I published through Red Cricket Press, a small partner-publisher. I’d always known that I didn’t want to publish this book traditionally. It’s too personal and I couldn’t give up being part of the major decisions. At the same time, I didn’t want to do everything myself. I still work full time and knew I didn’t have the time or effort to do it alone. Partner-publishing was a nice middle ground. The publisher has a team that does the copy/line edit, book cover, book layout, etc. But I was also still involved in the major decision making so that I was part of the overall process.
8. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?
My number one tip for fellow writers is: know your audience. Marketing and publicity is a lot of work and everyone has ideas and suggestions about what’s best. While I do some common marketing, such as social media, blogging, etc., most of my time is spent on networking. Much of my successful marketing comes from my associations through my advocacy work. I participate in many LGBTQ groups so that I’m always connecting with new people that might have an interest in my book. You have to go where your audience is and know how they absorb information.
9. What future projects can we look forward to?
I’m currently working on two other books, and I have a couple other ideas as well. The next year will mainly be focused on marking Dad #1, Dad #2 and getting more involved with public speaking. I’m still writing and working on my other ideas, but I don’t know yet which book will actually come next. I do know that I want to take more time to write the next one. I felt a sense of urgency with this my memoir, largely because of where our country is currently at. But I plan to move a little slower in the future so that I don’t burn out. I also want to write more poetry.
10. Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know? What passions drive your life?
My favorite quote from my book: “When we live in a country where we say everyone is treated equal, we don’t get to cherry pick who that applies to.”
And while not mine, I also strongly believe: “Love Makes a Family.”
Is there anything else you’d like to know about Natalie Perry?
Images courtesy of Natalie Perry, 2017. Please share responsibly.