It is a familiar tale that artists often feel tugged between the compulsion to create and the pull of real-world responsibilities. Perhaps most notably, commitments to work, relationships, and daily living activities often leave little time left over to dive deeply into creative projects. Many headlines are emerging lately about how hard-hit the arts sector has been since the onset of the pandemic, which is undeniable, but what they may fail to capture is the burgeoning creative sparks emerging from just beneath the surface. Indeed, the forced lack of distractions caused by lockdown culture has led to fresh ideas and new works being incubated in quarantine.
Victoria-based author Leigh Jarrett is a prime example of this. Having recently moved to Victoria from Kelowna, she has used this time to dive deeply into an earlier work that she was compelled to revamp. The Age of Mycea, the first book in a trilogy, was begun a decade ago and even published. Because it was one of her earliest books, she was struck by a desire to update it for today using the skills she has developed as a writer since that time.
Self-described as an "unabashedly queer, quirky, and passionate author of LGBTQ+ Romantic Fiction", Jarrett has written in several genres, including Contemporary and Fantasy Romance, Young/New Adult Fiction (under pen name Sara J. Miller), and Hot Gay Erotica (under pen name Gavin E. Black). Her Fantasy Series, "Drakkar Coven", is brimming with "lust driven vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters." Having been bullied as a child for being 'different' proved to be formative in Jarrett's drive to express herself through her writing. Her books are richly populated with LGBTQ+ characters as a way of reflecting and paying homage to the diverse community in which she ultimately found her place and felt most at home. Perhaps unsurprisingly, her relationship with her characters is an intimate one. She says: "These characters have been with me for a really long time… I'm not writing a story. I'm writing their story. They're telling me what happened, and I'm just relaying it." For this reason, she feels a sense of responsibility to do their story justice and has a hard time letting the characters go once the book is complete.
The Age of Mycea will be released on Tuesday, March 23rd, at the Friends of Dorothy Lounge in Victoria. The book is classified as a Gay Fantasy Romance and is rated R and 18+ for containing sexual themes and mature content. It promises an epic narrative with "blood, conquest, and glory" coupled with a love story involving three powerful men: King Meshia, supreme ruler of the empire, Sebastian of Cardin, Commander of the Third Battalion, and Sebastian's Cardinian lover, Leo, a gifted healer.
For more information about the covid-careful in-person event on March 23rd, please visit "Age of Mycea" Release Party @FOD Victoria | Facebook. Call beforehand to reserve a table.
The event will also be streamed online here (registration required): "Age of Mycea" Release Party
For more information about Leigh Jarrett's work, please visit www.leighjarrett.com