QUEER. TARTAN. GLASGOW. ROMCOM.
This cheeky debut novel by Ely Percy is the first of a trilogy of queer works set in the heart of Glasgow – the largest city in Scotland, its most diverse and hella gay. It observes Glasgow from an unapologetically pink-tinged angle.
If you have a soft spot for the dramatic, f/f romance, local storytelling and appreciate a good chuckle – this is the book for you. Vicky Romeo plus Joolz owns its history with a relish that spills over into an exuberantly camp parody.
And you know what? It feels great.
It's a plucky, on-the-nose, heart-mending comedy about a bunch of queer folks trying to find their way and going about life where not a single queer person dies.
The early noughties was a transitioning period for LGBTQI rights and queer expression in the UK – too close for comfort to the 20th century, yet we were slowly but surely coming out of the closet and into the spotlight. Ely recreates 2001 with a tenderness that leaves you longing to explore the landscape and with a precision that leaves no room for illusion and toxic nostalgia.
The novel's focal point is a gay bar, a segregated world that most folk aren’t exposed to – but this is Vicky Romeo's ordinary world. Ely captures a perfect snapshot of this locum, of what it was like to be Scottish, working-class, queer and figuring shit out in that period of queer history.
When Joolz, an outsider in many ways (femme, middle class and new to the scene), arrives – our unreliable narrator's world is disrupted. At its heart it’s the story of Vicky – a working-class, butch lesbian trying to figure shit out. And how she, flailing, falls in love with Joolz – a femme not to be messed with. The characters go about their lives, follow their passions, face challenges and lead a messy existence.
Intrigued? Want to give it a try? You can read the first chapter here.
Vicky Romeo plus Joolz has universal themes like coming of age and the search for identity, but it also skewers specific queer-centric themes like biphobia and femmephobia that would appeal to LGBTQIA readers.
It's full of complex, flawed, sometimes ignorant human beings that are constantly learning and adapting to their changing environment. These characters have been hurt, burnt, battered and shunned – they make a space for themselves, but guess what? It too has divisions.
Times were tough.
Some places were considered 'safe' for some folk but not for many others.
Being 'gay'* didn't and still doesn't make you a saint or excuse your prejudices.
There is still a lot more work to be done.
This story will make your heart strings twinge, your skin prickle with recognition, and it will definitely give you a fair share of hearty chuckles.
But most importantly, it will leave you wanting more and wondering why aren't there more like it out there?!
* lesbian, straight, bisexual, pansexual, queer, transgender, etc. We all face and harbour prejudice.
Ely Percy is a Scottish fiction writer, a memoirist and an epistolarian. Their first work Cracked: Recovering From Traumatic Brain Injury (JKP, 2002) took the form of both a creative and an academic text; they graduated with distinction from Glasgow University’s MPhil in Creative Writing in 2004, and since then their work has appeared in many reputable literary journals (e.g. The Edinburgh Review, The Scotsman Orange, New Writing Scotland, Causeway). Over the last fifteen years, Percy has facilitated countless writing workshops, they’ve been writer-in-residence in a prison, they’ve edited a lesbian publication and they’ve worked as a community librarian in an LGBT centre. Find out more about Ely and their work here.
Making books is expensive, making a beautiful book even more so: from buying ISBNs to getting copies of the book off the press and into your hands, costs add up. A large portion of funds is allocated to printing and distribution. Since we are doing our own distribution, this cost includes packaging and shipping
Bits and bobs: approximately £50 pounds to print some funky stuff to accompany your pledges. More on this as the campaign progresses.
It is a well known fact that people love books. Most are more than happy to part with their money to obtain them. Some understand the rights of authors and are happy to contribute to their financial wellbeing. Few realise just how much work goes into putting it all together – we know first hand just how much time and effort goes into making one.
Everyone who has put work towards this book receives compensation, we firmly believe this is a standard that should be upheld industry-wide. This makes our total costs higher, but for a worthy and essential reason.
Knight Errant Press CIC does not make a profit from this or any other Kickstarter. The money is used strictly to cover operational and production costs and should the funding surpass its goal the surplus is always put towards stretch goals and further development of the press and future projects.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE GO OVER THE FUNDING GOAL?
If we earn above our goal during our campaign we will print additional copies of the book and set money aside for events across UK.
ABOUT KNIGHT ERRANT PRESS
WE'RE HERE KEEPING IT QUEER.
We are a small press and our goal is to amplify and give power and agency to voices from the margins.
Knight Errant was founded in March 2017. We are based in Scotland. We facilitate accessible creative writing workshops throughout Scotland and publish queer, fierce and relevant tales. You can find out more about us here.
We've published a few kick-ass books and some beautiful art to accompany them in the past year, check them out:
Las year we funded our first anthology through Kickstarter (see above). We are thankful to our supporters from the bottom of our hearts. You are the best. Thank you.
Our recent work is pretty damn fine:
Here we are (talking about a different book, Ely is in this one too):
We hope we've captured your attention! :) Thanks for reading this far~
Risks and challenges
Editing and producing a good-quality book is a challenging quest: beyond the initial planning and commissioning for the concept – there is copy-editing, typesetting, proofreading, cover design, marketing and all the little bits in between to be done.
The primary challenge here is to meet our funding goal so that we can print and share Ely's story with you! The better we do here, the more copies we can get out in the world to spread the message about Ely's work and our press far and wide.
The book itself is half-way through production. We still need some time to tinker away at it. Most tasks are done in-house by Knight Errant, as well as the distribution, for as long as it is feasible. We have chosen a tried and trusted local UK book printer, so the physical product will be manufactured to a professional standard that we can trust.
Should this Kickstarter not succeed – we try again, we try something different, reconsider our marketing approach and presentation.
Time is against us: we're launching this Kickstarter at a tricky time of the year! Folks are still in a post-holiday slump sludge.
- (21 days)