Milk Strikes a Chord in Author of GLBTQ Young Adult Fiction Series

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"Milk" inspires activism in Kim Wallace, author of GLBTQ fiction series Erik & Isabelle at Foresthill High

"This book series would have never been possible--in my imagination or reality--without the likes of Harvey Milk paving the way," teacher-turned-author Kim Wallace claims. "It's hard to believe that in my lifetime, gay and lesbian teachers faced the prospect of being legally fired simply because of their sexual orientation. What if I'd tried to publish a book series about GLBTQ youth then? I can only imagine the kind of witch hunt."

Wallace is the author of the immensely successful fiction series "Erik & Isabelle at Foresthill High" that chronicles four years in the lives of two gay and lesbian best friends as they navigate the halls of their high school as well as the winding roads of adolescent relationships. Over the course of each book, readers root the shy, quiet Erik on as he emerges from the closet and learns to accept his sexual identity all the while being swept up in Isabelle's wild ride through one romantic maelstrom after another.

In 2006, Erik & Isabelle Junior Year at Foresthill High was named one of five finalists for the Lambda Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction--a category boasting a record-breaking 17 nominations. "Back when I starting writing the series in 2000, I think there were fewer than twenty YA books ever published with gay or lesbian protagonists. I am thrilled to see that number magnify," Wallace states. "I've found that GLBTQ kids are often avid readers. And the ones that aren't sometimes realize they are when offered something that clicks."

After leaving a showing of the film Milk, something "clicked" in Wallace. "I felt terribly sad, proud, inspired, and provoked," she says. "After Prop 8 passed in California, I had to admit my complacency, my lack of activism. I assumed that people would 'do the right thing', in my opinion, and was stunned when I saw the numbers come in. I didn't campaign, I didn't share how Prop 8 would impact me personally; I just kept on living my life, hoping for the best. I think a good number of us did. That was my wake up call."

So Wallace decided to take action and do what she does best: educate. As a result, she slashed all of her inventory--Erik & Isabelle Freshman Year through Senior Year--to 50% off on both her website and "I don't want costs to prohibit people from having access to this series. I believe that the more we humanize gay people, the more the average person is likely to find compassion."

That is truly what drives this re-awakened activist: knowing that words can build bridges that might not otherwise be built. "Not just between students and books," she explains. "But also between people. At the heart of everything, it's about people. Harvey Milk knew that better than anyone."

The Erik & Isabelle at Foresthill High series can be purchased at or

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