There’s nothing better than discovering a new-to-you author, right readers? We know Anna Zabo agrees. Zabo, a non-binary romance author, is always looking for new writers who share their passion for inclusive love stories. To celebrate the release of their new novel Reverb, which follows the blossoming love between a queer trans man bodyguard and the pansexual rock goddess he’s assigned to protect, Zabo put together a list of their favorite non-binary romance authors. Make room on your TBR shelves, readers: You’re going to need it.
When I first realized I was non-binary, I started to search out other authors who were also non-binary. There are a lot. This list really only scratches the surface of the wonderful authors out there, both within the romance genre and outside of it.
It’s no great secret that I adore Kris Ripper’s works. I picked up the first of zir Scientific Method series, Catalyst, because a friend thought I might like it—and then proceeded to read through the rest of the series almost without sleeping. Those books were almost tailor-made for me: queer, kinky, polyamorous, with lots of family, both found and not, and characters exploring their identities. I was hooked, and have been since. Some people say these books aren’t really romance, and that may be true for individual books, but I think the Scientific Method series taken as a whole has one of the best polyam romantic arcs I’ve ever read. Yup. That’s a hill I will happily defend. My biggest warning is that ze has one heck of a large backlist! I’m not through it yet.
If you love a darker contemporary paranormal story with witches, then Brooklyn Ray is the author for you. I’ve very much enjoyed their Port Lewis Witches series, from the atmospheric setting to the trans rep to the different and deep magical take on the paranormal genre. The portrayal of witchcraft is rooted in reality, as are the lives of the 20-something characters in the books. It’s all about finding your place, your talents, and each other in a world that doesn’t always want to give up its secrets easily.
Speaking of paranormal on the dark side, I first found Jordan L. Hawk through Widdershins, the first book in their wonderful Whyborne & Griffin series. This one has a historical setting, Victorian America, and has a very Lovecraftian feel—without all the racism and homophobia of Lovecraft, thank goodness! Many of their books are historical paranormal, but they do write paranormal books set in contemporary times, too.
Racheline, with Erin McRae, writes lovely contemporary novels, and I particularly enjoyed The Art of Three, which is a sweet polyam romance between a well-known married couple and a young male actor. One of the aspects I greatly liked about that book was that it’s a low-heat romance, which I don’t see as much of in polyam romances. Maltese is also very outspoken for queer rights, especially in the romance genre, and is someone who makes me think. All around, her writing is outstanding.
Bonus: May Peterson
May doesn’t have a book out yet, but I am so excited about the premise of her debut novel, Lord of the Last Heartbeat: It’s a fantasy novel about an immortal lord and a magically gifted opera singer. They meet in a country devastated by a war of sorcery and shapeshifters, in which a decades-old curse ravages the afterlives of a generation of ghosts. I can’t wait to get my hands on that! She’s also a strong voice on Twitter for trans femmes, especially those in publishing and the romance genre.
One final piece of advice I’d give if you’re looking to read more diversely and inclusively is ask who writes in a particular genre or has a book with a particular trope you like, especially on Twitter. It’s one of the things I do to help close the gaps in some of my own reading.
Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think. Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. They can be easily plied with coffee. Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.