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Truth in Fiction

By Kayt Peck

Abolitionists opposed slavery from the moment the slave ships first arrived in the Americas, even before the colonies dreamed of becoming a separate nation. For over a century, they told the facts of such an inhuman practice, and they preached the ultimate wrong of one person claiming the right to own another. Yet, for most people, those facts were not “true,” they weren’t real, until Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote and published Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Novelists must entertain, but they can, intentionally or unintentionally, do so much more. I feel the weight of that since publication of my ranch-based lesbian fiction in Good Water and Prairie Fire. I lived the first half of my life on a Texas ranch, a life I largely walked away from when I came out as lesbian. Since the release of my novels featuring lesbians on the ranch, the folks I knew from that ranch world have surprised me. These conservative, frequently devout Christian people are reading my novels. What’s more, they love them. For many, perhaps for the first time ever, lesbians are people rather than just an idea. They understand because they see truth in fiction.

I love it when one of my books “crosses over” into being read and enjoyed by a general audience. After all, a good story is a good story -- straight, gay, lesbian, transgendered, or, in the case of Watership Down, rabbits. Fiction can be a bridge between opposing worlds.

Kayt C. Peck lived the ranch life as a child and young adult and knows the smell, feel, hardships and gratifications of life on the range. The hard-work and determination needed to survive on a Texas farm and ranch helped her as she began a life-long career as a writer that has included working as a journalist, a public-affairs officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and as a grants expert writing applications raising over $30 million for worthy domestic and even international organizations.