Remember your creative writing assignments in elementary school when the teacher would let you write about any subject you wanted? Or public speaking, when you had to give a five-minute talk on…whatever you chose? The hardest part for me was always deciding what to write about. I faced the same dilemma when I started working on posts for this blog tour. By the time I reached the fourth post, I was feeling fresh out of ideas.
So I came here to The Novel Approach to read some other writers’ guest posts, to see what they’ve been writing about. And that got me thinking about how many women are writing gay romance, and about the question I get asked (invariably) when I start chatting with a friend or acquaintance about being a writer.
“So…why exactly do you write gay romance?”
The short answer is, because it’s also what I read.
My first experience with gay fiction of any kind, was the show Queer As Folk (the US version), which was on from 1999-2005. I started watching it because I was curious, and then I kept watching it because I was completely obsessed with it. I fell in love with Brian Kinney, in spite of his many flaws (and Gale Harold is still my #1 favourite actor/celeb crush of all time) and his relationship with Justin broke my heart repeatedly.
And then I met fanfiction.
The first fanfiction I ever read wasn’t QAF (although that’s out there, and I’ve definitely read it). It was Prison Break fanfic; I couldn’t stand the wait between Seasons 1 and 2, and started googling something, anything, to feed my addiction. And fanfic is what I found. It wasn’t slash fic; it was all het, but when I realized such a thing existed for one of my fandoms, it wasn’t much of a leap to find it for others. QAF fanfic was followed by Twilight fanfic, and that’s when my slash obsession truly took over my life.
When I first started reading Twific in early 2009 there weren’t a ton of m/m stories. I started writing (under the name starfish422) and I was fortunate that the amazing readers in that fandom were so kind to recommend my writing to their friends and followers. Some amazing authors started joining the ranks of m/m writing, and suddenly there was an explosion of m/m stories to read, some of them really compelling. The Star Trek fandom also saw a great surge in stories when the reboot story came out (and Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto were the new faces of Kirk & Spock, hnnnngh!!).
I do sometimes wonder why so many women are enthusiasts of the m/m romance genre. I can’t say that I’ve ever found a satisfactory answer to that; but maybe it’s because there isn’t one answer. Women have always been the majority consumers of romance novels, and it’s obvious that many of us, one way or another, have made our way to gay romance. Perhaps it’s the growing acceptance and realization that love = love. No matter what the reason is, I think we can all be grateful that there’s no lack of reading material suited to our interests these days. Companies like Dreamspinner, Riptide, Harmony Ink, and other niche publishers are featuring established authors as well as new talent, to the vast benefit of those of us who consume it voraciously. I’m especially glad that the broadening availability of LGBT fiction means that young men and women are more likely to see themselves reflected in what they read.
Many thanks to The Novel Approach for the opportunity to share this with you all.
Blurb: Amid the tumult of the Iowa Democratic primary, young but brilliant speechwriter Tom McAlindon meets Nathan Harris, the deputy campaign manager for an opposing candidate. Their acquaintance is strictly professional until an impetuous kiss on a cold winter night leads them into a secret romance. As their feelings deepen, both men struggle with the complications of keeping the relationship separate from their jobs and the inner workings of the campaigns.
But in the nation’s most high-stakes political game, no secret is truly safe. When an observer realizes their connection, Tom and Nate discover that striving for the best of both worlds has a much higher cost than they bargained for… and that love can’t survive while Nate is hiding the truth from Tom.
About the Author: Annie Kaye’s first ‘real’ job was a career in insurance. After fourteen years, the industry had wrung from her everything it could, leaving her desperate for a change that would allow her to flex her long-dormant creativity. She left her job and took several months off, planning to spend them on the couch in her yoga pants. Not six weeks had elapsed before she’d rediscovered a long-lost love: putting words to paper. Since 2009 she has written almost a million words of fiction, each piece bearing a common theme: love and relationships between gay men.
Balancing family, work, creative efforts, and community involvement – and trying to hit the gym once in a while – are all near the top of Annie’s to-do list. At her home in the woods of rural Ontario, Canada, she endeavours to carve out her writing space from amid the joyful noise created by her husband, their two children, one dog, one cat, and the woodpeckers who sharpen their beaks on her windowsills.