Why Get Serious?
by Annabeth Albert
Content Warning: This blog discusses characters with a backstory of surviving assault. The book itself includes mention of past assault, but does not include flashbacks or scenes of assault.
Thank you so much for having me today! I’m celebrating the re-release of my novella LEVEL UP which is loosely connected to my #gaymer universe and was originally in the EXPOSED anthology with some other great authors. Landon, our hero, is a genius physics professor and the book centers around his decision to pose nude for a charity calendar featuring rising stars in their professions. While much of the book is light and fun with some of my favorite banter of all the heroes in this universe, I also tackle a more serious topic—male survivors of sexual assault.
I didn’t so much choose to include this aspect of the book as much as that when I opened my heart and mind to Landon as a hero, he shared his past with me, and I knew I’d need to stay true to what he revealed to me. So I did tons of research, talked with survivors, learned and listened. And still I really worried about including mention of Landon’s past, but ultimately I knew that I had to write the book that Landon both demanded and deserved.
I also wanted to show his healing process, and let Bailey, his co-hero, be a part of that process without having a magic cure-all. Again, I listened to Landon about who he was and what he needed, and Bailey took shape as a character in his own right. I love, love, love their dynamic together. And I love that Bailey really sees ALL of Landon—he’s not just his past. He’s a gamer, a video game collector, a new home owner, a cat lover, a genius physicist, a Harry Potter junkie (with the tattoo to prove it!), dedicated professor and advocate for his students, bisexual, and has a wicked sense of humor and playful streak.
I really appreciate the courage of the brave survivors of all genders who have publicly shared their stories as well as those who privately answered my questions and helped me with this project. Landon and Bailey and their journey are very special to me. To those out there who may identify with Landon, you are loved. Your stories matter. To other writers out there thinking of tackling this subject matter, I can’t stress enough how valuable multiple sensitivity readers can be. I learned so much by listening to careful feedback from amazing readers.
Thank you again for having me today! I hope you enjoy LEVEL UP! Continue reading