Sunday, 8 November 2015

Do I Write Gay Romance?

It may be time for me to accept something about my writing.   Let’s just start with the beginning of the blurb from my last novel Salinor.
In Salinor a prophecy is about to come true but it is held in secrets. Identities have been hidden and no one is who they appear to be. this is the world Leo and Danais have found themselves in. They are not who they thought they where; their friends and family are leading double lives; nothing is as it seems. 
So the above is the first paragraph.  Sadly, I used the wrong were, but as yet no one has pointed this out to me.  I wrote and edited my own blurb so clearly I missed that.  But I digress, what do you say does this have at all to do with GLBT, specifically male/male romance.  Everything.  This is a fantasy novel, yes.  It is about the journey of self-discovery of quite a few cast members but I had to pick two for the blurb and these two won out.  Are they in a relationship, yes they are.  Does this little paragraph say this?  Well of course it doesn’t.  Romance or relationships in general are the medium in which I choose to tell the stories that I write.  The stories themselves are always about something much bigger.
The characters finding out who they are, in this case a secret plot to save the world and the fact that both of my main characters where raised to believe they are someone they are not.  So they are self-discovering on a personal level, and on an outside level as well.  Plus, all of their friends had to pretend to be people they are not in order to help hide who, Leo and Danais, are.  So there’s also the sub plot of my side characters trying to balance revealing things without revealing things.  And through all of this the two are indeed in a relationship through the entire book.  Now I could’ve said this,
Leo was raised an orphan.  Privileged and wealthy but lives a tormented life of self-identity.  Struggling to figure out who he is without knowing where he came from has left him depressed, lonely and longing for love.  With two failed marriages behind him all seems lost.  Until a change encounter with a peasant boy, Danais, changes everything.  After saving him from the clutches of evil a bond is formed that turns his world upside down.  Has he finally found love, or will this just be another failed attempted to figure out who he is.  Will he forever feel he has no identity or will the love he has for Danais finally be the cure to set him free from depression.
Yes, I could’ve wrote that.  And remember that would only be the first paragraph.  There are three.  Not much longer so I probably would’ve split one paragraph into two but that’s not the point.  The point is what does any of that above have to do with my story.  What about the plot to save the realm?  What about the secret identities hidden?  What about the fact that Leo and Danais may not even really be who they are?  And furthermore, no mention of the secret prophecy at all.  There is no allusion at all to the fact that this is a fantasy novel and an epic 600 plus page journey is about to be had.  Yet, it’s all absolutely accurate.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say this is a romance novel.  On the flip side though, it is a serious fantasy novel, it’s also a coming of age story, a bit of action and mystery, and crosses over adult, young adult and new adult fiction, in amounts large enough that I have to mention all three.  But it’s obvious, gay male leads and all, that I don’t fit this LGBT novel writing niche. 
In order to fall in here I have to overtly come right out and say that there is a relationship going on which will mislead the people into thinking that is what the book is about and they’ll be expecting all the hyper romance stuff that all romance straight or otherwise has.  You won’t find that in my books.  Because the romance is usually specifically used to help the characters find out things they need to know to further themselves in the grand plot of my book.  It’s almost never just there to advance the relationship.  Chances are if there’s a fight or relationship turmoil it’s directly related to some sort of thing outside of the relationship either male lead will need to further advance my plot.  Yet again, I’d be telling a massive lie if I said they weren’t romance novels.  They are.  All of my books are.  I just go about it differently.
The goal, was to write books like all the other people out there.  Sydney Sheldon, Stephen King, Agatha Christi, George R. R. Martin, Jeffery Deaver, James Patterson, Tony Morrison, Nora J. Roberts, the list is endless.  But the goal was to write a book written by any mainstream artist and make whatever romances appeared in those books gay ones.  The type of book where if I made one of the leads straight it pretty much be just like all the straight books.  A book that clearly had a relationship as its base but only as an avenue to drive the main goal of the novel.  This is why none of my blurbs ever read like M/M romance.  Regardless of the fact that they are.  Also why no GLBT fiction blog to date has taken me on for a review, and I’ve hit up lots.  Basically I have to sell the relationship and not the story.  Could you imagine if every blurb for HP spoke about the relationship blooming between harry and Ginny, or the one that shouldn’t have happened between Ron and Hermione, I’m still routing for Krum quiddich star and school genius, win.  Or if game of thrones, oh I just cant continue down this route.  If all these mainstream books blurbed the romances and not the other stuff would they be what they are? 
I guess I’m just bitter.  I feel I’ve failed at writing the type of gay fiction I actually want to read.  Which is the type of books I like to read.  Just swap out the woman for another male and write.  Without any of the must haves of doing so.  Is it possible.  Does it work?  I haven’t got a clue.  Only straight people, both male and female have read my books.  Most of them love them.  The others, well they either have no opinion or hate them.  Which is to be expected.  So theoretically I did what I set out to do.  Write male lead books that everyone could read that weren’t so gay they were only for lovers of M/M fiction.   I’m noticing most of this crew is female through research.  Who knew?  Still I guess I can consider success made on that front.
So am I ever going to start structuring my blurbs to sell the romance.  Hell no.  The bigger picture will always win out, and if I never even a teeny bit break into the GLBT fiction area, oh well.  It is what it is.  I guess I just didn’t think it through that I’d have to make that kind of choice.  That I would have to literally say here’s my gay book read it.  Apparently being a gay author who only had male leads who aren’t straight, and usually aren’t one hundred percent gay either, accept for one.  That was in my comedy novel and a lot of jokes came out of his finding girls totally nonsexual J.  Still having done and being all of this, I will have to accept it’s not enough.  Am I okay with that?  I don’t know really.  What I do know is I’m not about to change my approach.  Maybe one day a gay fiction blogger will take a leap of faith and read one of my novels.  What’s the worst that could happen.  I’ll fall flat on my ass.  It wouldn’t be the first one-star review and I’m more than positive it won’t be the last either.
And in case you missed it.  Yes, I write gay fiction designed for the masses.  And I have this same issue with being black, but that’s a whole other blog and this is about my gayness so it will have to wait.

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