Welcome to the GayRomLit 2017 Blog Tour! We’re so pleased to have Supporting Author Alyson Pearce joining us today as our guest in the countdown to the big event. Whether you’re attending or not, I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Alyson a bit better!
From Reader to Author
Growing up, I hated romances. My mother and sister loved them, though, so I was force-fed a diet of cheesy Hallmark movies and Nicholas Sparks. If you had told me then that one day I would be a romance writer, I would have laughed at you. But as fate would have it, I spent one summer with my grandmother. Before she retired, my grandmother was a librarian, and she hoarded books the way a dragon hoards gold and jewels. Lucky for me, I love reading. In the basement of her house, I found baskets full of romance novels. And I devoured them. As it turned out, not all romance was the same. Sure, the basic structure was, but they weren’t at all what I had been subjected to when I was younger. I found myself hooked, especially on historical romance.
Years later, I discovered the magical world of M/M FanFiction and that pulled me in equally as much. I started wondering if there were any way of combining the original romance I loved with the gay couples I read FanFiction about. Turns out, the answer was yes. In 2012, I read my first M/M romance, The Gentleman and the Rogue. Much like the romances I had found in my Grandmother’s basement, I read every single M/M historical romance I could find, and then expanded to M/M romance in general. Then NaNoWriMo happened.
I’d been writing ever since I was five, short stories that grew into novels, and in 2013, I decided to sit down and write one of those M/M historical romance novels that I loved so much. Since I had read every one that existed at the time, that was the only logical thing to do next. So I did. I wrote 50,000 words on a manuscript and then put it in a drawer for the next three years. Last March, I got it out again. I knew I had quite a bit I wanted to do on it, so I edited and re-wrote and polished, and eventually it turned into a Real Book, The Viscount and the Artist. I hit ‘publish’ on 26 August, 2016.
My first con was the UK Meet, a week after publication. When other, Legitimate Authors, asked if I was an author, reader, or blogger, I would say that I was technically an author. I felt I hadn’t earned the right. By some stroke of luck, I managed to meet other newbies on the first night – Helen Juliet and Ruby Moone – and we banded together to form our own little group. After that, I threw myself into every event and meetup I could, from last September to my last meetup in London, in February. Then it was time to go home.
Initially, I had gone to London on a student visa. The Viscount and the Artist had been my practical project, and publishing it filled both a graduation requirement and a dream I’d had since I was five. Leaving London was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. The community that I had been able to be a part of and be around was lost. I live in Kentucky now, and there aren’t exactly an abundance of LGBT romance authors around the area. I knew that GRL would be one of the few chances I would have feel that sense of connection again. Helen and I counted down the minutes together, and as soon as they became available, we bought tickets.
GRL will be my first con in the States, and the first con where I’ll be a Legitimate Author. With that comes both excitement and terror. By the time GRL rolls around, I’ll have two books published, with another in the post-writing-pre-publication stages. I’ll feel more like a proper author, more deserving of a place at the table. GRL will also be an amazing opportunity for me to see some of the people I miss the most from London, meet some of my writing idols, and make new friends. Every time I see my confirmation email in my inbox, I’m reminded that I get to be a part of this amazing, supportive community. At the same time, I’m apprehensive. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed in crowds, and being among authors I admire only makes me realize just how far I have to go before I reach that level.
But there’s one more reason I’m so desperate to go to GRL, and that’s for the readers. Five years ago, I was a reader. I had a dream to write M/M romance, but I never thought that would be a reality as soon as it was. After all, I’m still quite young (I’m only twenty-four.) What I want more than anything is to connect with those readers who might want to write, but feel they don’t have it in them to actually produce a novel; the readers who read and write FanFiction; the readers who have the same dream that I had back in 2012. And if I can convince anyone that they, too, can write a novel, I’ll consider that a successful con.
About the Author
Alyson Pearce is an American transplant currently living in London, where she works full time in publishing and as an author of M/M romances. She fell in love with romances after discovering her grandmother’s library and hasn’t looked back. As a member of the LGBT community, she believes that everyone deserves their chance at a happily ever after. In her spare time, Alyson enjoys cooking, reading, and shouting at contestants on Chopped. The Viscount and the Artist is her first novel.
About GayRomLit Retreat
GayRomLit is an annual retreat that brings together the people who create and celebrate LGBT romance for a one-of-a-kind, must-attend gathering of dynamic, informal, and diverse fun.
Each year, the retreat rotates to a new city and hosts tons of events from raucous parties to mellow tête á têtes while still maintaining a spirit of familiarity. GRL is the place to connect with old friends, find family you didn’t know you had, and meet with both newly published and established authors in the gay romance genre.
This year’s retreat will be held in Denver, Colorado on October 19-22, 2017 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center.
For more information or to register, please visit Our Website.