Hello, and welcome to another day on Author’s Speak. I’ve decided to spend some time talking about not only why I write, but why I write what I write.
Go ahead, say that ten times fast!
I thought I’d start with my chosen genre and branch out from there.
People ask why don’t you write serious/real books and how come romance? Some go a step farther and inquire why M/M romance or books with LGBTQ+ characters as leads?
Um…romance books are real and it’s a huge genre! There is something for everyone no matter if the characters are gay, straight or Martian.
Okay, I’m the first to admit most of my books aren’t serious in nature or horribly angsty, but not every book needs to be. More on the nitty gritty of that next month.
My initial response to why write LGBTQ+ characters, specifically gay men is simply: “I like it.” That’s sort of stating the obvious and doesn’t really offer much in the way of deep, thoughtful insight. However, I could almost see those reading my answer (the similar answers by other authors) sagely nodding their heads in agreement.
It’s like asking the reader, why do you read this genre? Gee, ‘cause they like it, silly, would be the universal answer. For me the real reason goes deeper.
Which brings me back to the question of why two men? Not two women or a man and woman?
Sooo….I’m out walking the dog one day, contemplating the affairs of my writing and while waiting on my cute canine companion to water some dead leaves I stumbled upon an epiphany about myself and why it is I enjoy reading and writing M/M romance. My answer goes much farther back to a time long before I became aware of gay romance or read that first story.
It’s because of my grandfather, who was, as far as I know, a completely straight, pretty conservative man. Interesting how things work out.
He also loved to read and watch television.
I was raised by this man, and lived in a predominantly male household. From the time I was a very little girl I was constantly telling a story and that evolved into writing them when I learned to string letters to words and words to sentences and sentences to paragraphs and…okay I can do this all day, you get the idea. As far back as I can remember this man told me I should be a writer.
Specifically, a mystery writer. That was his favorite genre.
My grandfather was a huge fan of reading the mystery, the more suspense and action the better. Throw in some political intrigue and he thought it was perfect. I grew up surrounded by books, literally hundreds that were in a basement library he built by hand. He was a woodworker by hobby, much like Todd Ruger, one of the main characters of my Sentries series. All my grandfather’s favorite books had a common theme of two men, detectives or cops or whatever that were partners and friends. Men who cared deeply for one another.
Enter the male bonding theme, two men with a connection, deep love and respect for one another was presented to me when I was so young I couldn’t even read.
In fact, I was immersed in it.
Grandpa did more than read, he loved sports, but a physical problem kept him from being very active, so he watched television. Often while reading. Another habit from Grandpa, I often read or write while watching TV. For years I watched football, baseball and basketball with him. In between there were shows that were the staple of the television industry at the time, Combat, Five O’Clock High, Rat Patrol, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Star Trek, Batman, the list goes on. They all had the commonality of men bonding, be they friends, fathers and sons, or brothers it didn’t matter. I was immersed from a very young age in stories where the central characters were men. Men who loved one another, even if it wasn’t in the romantic sense.
My favorite was Maverick. I’ll still watch that show when given the opportunity. Two brothers who every week found some mystery to solve, or wrong to put right or simply engaged in a good-guy/bad-guy chase down a deserted road and into a box canyon. From that show and those men I learned a love of a good (fictional of course) bar brawl, gun fight, chase, ghost story and an appreciation for taking a gamble in life. Times have changed and in the decades between Maverick and now there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of shows and books revolving around two men in some sort of close, loving relationship.
Okay, these guys weren’t in romantic relationships, but the groundwork for that next step was laid down and mapped out in my mind long ago and far away.
Is it really such a wonder that from there the leap to gay men and their close romantic relationships was made?
The main characters of my books are no different than the men of countless pieces of literature or viewing I grew up loving. They just have one more aspect to their lives and relationship: that of a soul bonded, mated, or married romantic couple. The heroes in my books have lovers as well as partners who are men. Men with a great deal of love and respect between them. Now, how could you not like that?
For women to read, write and enjoy all male romance isn’t so strange. So, here I am, many (we won’t discuss the actual number, but those of you who know the shows of which I speak can work it out I’m sure) years later, a woman whose first published novel was a paranormal action/adventure with a healthy dose of romance between two men.
It makes perfect sense really, when you think about it.
I, for one, couldn’t be happier or more proud that my first published novel revolves around a theme that I loved before I knew what it was: Men loving one another, how doesn’t matter. That my first novel, Marked Yours, and the books that have followed were not only about the close bond men share, but one that allows them to take that bonding into a romantic relationship.
To answer the question of why I wrote and published in the genre of M/M romance, well it’s simple really, it’s what I love, it’s what fascinates me and fires my imagination. It’s what I grew up learning to love and I want to offer a big thank you to those that created those books and shows then brought them to life for one little girl to appreciate the male bond.
From the brothers Maverick, Cartwright, Simon and Winchester, to the buddies Matt Dillon and Chester, Starsky and Hutch, Jim Ellison and Blair Sandberg, Peter Burke and Neal Caffery, and many others, I learned how deeply men bond and love one another and came to appreciate that bond. Mostly I owe them my heartfelt gratitude.
Really, is there any other genre steeped in such tradition for me, or that would feel so natural, to write in and explore? Was there ever a question of what would be the subject matter of my published novels? Hell, no!
There is plenty of action, love and general fighting of evil in all of my books.
Until next month,