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Velma Nacella Young
Velma Nacella Young (1913–1997) was an American author. She wrote lesbian pulp fiction books, as well as poetry and novels after the 'golden age' of lesbian pulp fiction.
Feeling that social norms compelled her to find a husband, she married William Jerry Tate at the age of 26. They had a son, Marshall, and twins Jerry and James. Young described herself as both bisexual and a lesbian, she claimed that she only realised the full extent of her attraction to women when in her thirties. She did not attribute her failing marriage to her sexuality; her husband William was alcoholic, abusive, and financially unstable. Young had relationships with both men and women after her divorce.
During her marriage Young worked as a schoolteacher and a secretary while also selling poems, articles, and short stories to magazines that included 'Canadian Poetry Magazine', 'Good Housekeeping', ‘True Love’ and 'True Story'. In 1953 Beacon Books published Young's first novel, 'Hired Girl' (also published as 'The Lusty Land') under the name Valerie Taylor; it has no lesbian subject matter, but does explore other controversial sexual and political themes. For its publication Young received $500, which she used to pay for a divorce.
From 1957 to 1967, living in Chicago, Young wrote lesbian pulp fiction novels, for which she became well known. She explained her reasons for choosing the genre: 'I began writing gay novels around 1957. There was suddenly a plethora of them on sale in drugstores and bookstores... many written by men who had never knowingly spoken to a lesbian. Wish fulfilment stuff, pure erotic daydreaming. I wanted to make some money, of course, but I also thought that we should have some stories about real people.'
Young also published as Nacella Young, Francine Davenport, and Velma Tate. Her publishers included Naiad Press, Banned Books, Universal, Gold Medal Books, Womanpress, Ace and Midwood-Tower. She also contributed her work to the magazine ‘The Ladder’, the first nationally distributed lesbian publication, released by the Daughters of Bilitis (the first lesbian civil and political rights organisation in the United States).
She died on October 22, 1997 at the age of 84.
See also Ann Nelson Yarbourough De Armond Marchant and Barbara Grier.
'Valerie Taylor (novelist)', Wikipedia, retrieved 11 October 2014
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