Wellingborough-born writer bringing LGBTQ+ characters into the limelight
'Retrospect - The Hidden Life of Mac Scott’ is predominately a psychological romance thriller
A Wellingborough-born writer frustrated by the lack of realistic LGBTQ+ characters in literature has just published the first in a psychological romance thriller trilogy.
Aimi Hutchinson-Forton, writing under the name of AJ Hutchinson-Forton, had been struggling to cope with the first national lockdown and as a way of helping took to her keyboard.
She has now completed 'Retrospect - The Hidden Life of Mac Scott’ a psychological romance thriller with a lesbian main character.
The feat is all the more impressive as she left the formal school system in Year 8, eventually passing her GCSEs, and has now gone on to study English literature and creative writing.
Aimi, 33, who now lives in Earls Barton, said: "Retrospect was born in the first lockdown. Like everyone, I was struggling with it and one day I decided to start writing.
"I free wrote with no plan and soon fell into a storyline. There is no other way to explain it than that. It just happened. Soon, I fell in love with the world and characters I was creating and it was the perfect escape.
"I never expected that when friends and family read my story that they would enjoy it and encourage me to keep writing.
"By October 2020, the first draft of my manuscript was complete and I was totally captivated by the world of writing."
Aimi was so inspired by the experience she enrolled with the Open University to begin studying for a BA in English literature and creative writing.
A full-time carer for her mum, Aimi moved to Earls Barton shortly after marrying her wife in July 2019.
She said: "I attended Wrenn Secondary School - however, due to severe anxiety issues, I actually left school in Year 8 never to return.
"I missed my education, then my GCSEs were taken in at home, sat in my dining room with the headteacher watching over me.
"Somehow I managed to pass them. When you consider that, it really is madness that I ended up becoming a published writer.
"My debut novel is full of spine tingling action and goosebump inspiring moments.
"The story centres on a strong lesbian main character but it is no coming out story.
"It's a thriller with twists and turns - it's LGBTQ+ theme is only one part of the narrative.
"It is my mission to bring queer characters into the limelight with realism.
"Although things have improved a great deal over the years, there is still a massive gap in LGBTQ+ representation in books, film and TV.
"As a member of this community, I know how frustrating that lack of representation is.
"Of the stories that are out there, it’s a common thing that there is no happy ending.
"The lesbian/gay character won’t 'get the girl', or they won’t survive till the end of the movie, or they will lose their family in their 'coming out’ story or simply - they will be represented in a stereotypical, inaccurate way.
"I am working to change that. When I think about what compelled me to write the book, it started as an escape but now - what compels me is writing the books that I myself have always dreamt of reading.
"Stories with LGBTQ+ characters get the happy ending, stories where they are the hero - not just added for diversity statistics."
The novel is the first book of a trilogy, with book two, ‘Retrospect - The Salvation of Mac Scott’ to be released this summer.
The stories centre on the mystery around McKenna Scott, the eponymous hero and her search for answers after going missing for two years.
Aimi said: "When my novel was published it was a dream come true. I can no longer see myself doing anything else and I don’t intend to.
"I guess you could call me an accidental author.
"While lockdown has been a challenge for everyone, myself included, it has also been a gift to me, a chance to figure out what I was always meant to do."