By George T. Nicola, GLAPN
Many of us remember a time when it was almost impossible to find literature that positively reflected our experiences as LGBTQ people. So we certainly welcome those in our community whose published writings now reflect the reality of our lives.
Oregon native Karelia Stetz-Waters has amazingly published four lesbian themed novels. One of these released in 2014, Forgive Me If I Told You This Before, semiautobiographically recounts the life of a teenager girl coming out in small town Oregon during the notoriously anti-gay 1992 Ballot Measure 9. The book is an annual Lambda Literary Award finalist in the LGBT Children’s/Young Adult category. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 1, 2015 in New York City. (http://www.lambdaliterary.org/awards/)
Karelia says that her romance novel, Something True, was the first female/female romance to be picked up by the Forever Yours imprint at Grand Central Publishing. Her agent said that a lesbian romance was “unprecedented” in the mainstream romance industry, so it was quite a groundbreaker. A complete list of Karelia’s writings can be found at http://kareliastetzwaters.com/books/.
For the last eight years, Karelia has lived with her partner (now her wife) in Albany, Oregon near Karelia’s childhood home. There she is a full time instructor at Linn Benton Community College. In that position, she has taught writing classes ranging from pre-college level writing to advanced technical writing. She has also taught poetry, fiction, and the literature of continental Africa.
Karelia is English Department Chair, serving as a liaison between students, faculty, and administration. Thanks to Karelia, the love that once dared not speak its name now has an eloquent literary voice in Oregon.