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Author donates book profits to MassEquality

by Laura Kiritsy

Bay Windows

Monday November 12, 2007

As the mother of a gay son and a committed MassEquality volunteer, author Suzanne Brockmann has supported equal marriage rights by knocking on doors, making phone calls and braving the elements to campaign for pro-equality legislators. But she knew there was more she could be doing to support the cause.

"That's not my strength," Brockmann said of grassroots campaigning. "My strength is in writing. So it just really felt like, what can I do? I can write a book."

So Brockmann, a best-selling romance novelist with 43 titles to her credit, decided to pen a Holiday Novella - a popular subgenre of romance novels - and dedicate it to MassEquality. More importantly, she's donating all of her earnings from the book, titled All Through the Night, to the organization. The book, which only hit the shelves on Oct. 30, has already netted more than $250,000 for MassEquality, through Brockmann's advance and the sale of rights to an audio version of the book.

Not surprisingly, All Through the Night, which is the latest in Brockmann's "Troubleshooters" series of romantic thrillers, features the wedding of a same-sex couple: Recurring characters Jules, an FBI agent, and Hollywood heartthrob Robin, finally get hitched after a fraught story arc that Brockmann confessed she had hoped to continue for a bit longer. But just like love, Brockmann's characters can be unruly. "Robin mutinied," she explained of her foiled scheme to keep the lovers apart in her last book, Force of Nature. "You gotta let the characters drive the story. You can't force them to do something."

Brockmann, a Waltham resident, said she is thankful that she was able to write a fantasy story about a same-sex wedding that actually reflects reality. "It was a joy to write," she said of All Through the Night, which is set in Boston. "I love these characters." She noted that for many years she hesitated to put the character of Jules into a committed romance, as there was no promise of the "happily ever after" symbolized in romance novels by a wedding. Often she asked herself, "Am I going to really write a story for Jules and say, 'Oh well, you know what, Jules, you can't get married; you're gay,'" said Brockmann. "I just didn't want to do that. And when finally Massachusetts became the state where marriage was legal, the wheels started turning in my head. It all lined up perfectly."

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