You see, I write all-male erotic romance books. To me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s what I like, it’s what I’m comfortable with, so you could say, it is a part of who I am. So far, so good. Now here’s the crux. I live in a very rural area. Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about: it took our local newspaper until last week to pick up on the success of Fifty Shades of Grey (You know, that book). The article summed up the story line in brief and, rather shamefacedly, explained a little about BDSM and a bit more about e-books, making it sound as though either was rather obscure and not altogether morally acceptable – just what I imagine the mini-skirt to have been considered as back in the days.
In other words, these are things and inclinations that exist somewhere out there, but not in this little quiet corner of the world. Needless to say, that this is the same attitude homosexuality is perceived with. Discreet looks, a whisper behind a shamefully raised hand, but not something that is accepted as just another flavour of life.
This short newspaper article reminded me all over again of what it’s like to write – and read – MM erotic romance in such an environment. I’m using an e-book reader obviously, so no-one knows what I’m up to behind the sleek black cover of that little reading device. Mind you, it’s not as though I’d be able to just walk into a bookstore around here and buy a print book of that genre. I’m not sure how people would react if I ordered one. Hmm, might be worth a try, just to see.
Well, anyway, I’d been reading those books for a few months before I wrote the first of my own, and contrary to what I expected, submitting to a publisher and exposing that part of myself to the eyes of complete strangers, was blissfully easy. It still is. But telling my family about what it is exactly that I’m writing about? Friends? Phew. That is a different matter entirely and yes, this is where I’m beginning to draw the parallel to what it must be like for a queer person to come out. It's also a moment that all of my characters have been through at some point in their lives, although the matter of coming out has, until recently, never been much of a topic in my stories. It may be a smite naïve, but I don’t perceive homosexuality – or queerness – as anything other than just a way to live, so I’m finding it hard to relate to the issues some people still seem to have with it.
I have finally tackled that topic in Harlequin, which deals with a closet case. It releases today and you can find out more about it at the bottom of this post, but before you rush off to look at it, I’d love for you to linger and share your thoughts on this topic. Since you’re reading this, chances are that you enjoy the MM genre, too. What’s in it for you? How do you handle your… inclination to reading that kind of books? Do you hide behind the neutral cover of your e-book reader or would you be happy sitting on the bus or underground, or say, in your doctor’s waiting room holding a print copy in your hand with two (or more) sparsely dressed hunks on the cover? What are your thoughts as readers and how do other authors deal with this?
Harlequin - Out today on www.bookstrand.com/harlequin-sage-marlowe
They're an unlikely couple—Harley Sinclair, pilot and openly gay, likes fast cars, easy boys, and late nights. Quinn Lancaster, lawyer and deep in the closet, likes his life quiet with just that little bit of extra spice that engaging in a ménage with his wife, Miranda, and Harley adds. Neither of them can admit that there might be more to this affair than just indecently hot sex.
A lie soon breaks them apart, but when Miranda dies in an accident, Harley and Quinn are reunited by an even more unlikely couple—twin sons with different fathers. While Harley is willing to commit to the responsibility of having a family, Quinn's fear that accepting Harley at his side will destroy everything he has worked for keeps them apart. But when Harley makes the ultimate sacrifice, Quinn realizes that sometimes, what appears to be the worst case isn’t quite so bad after all…
[Siren Allure ManLove: Erotic Alternative Romance, M/M, with M/F and M/M/F elements, HEA]
This title is offered at a 15% discount. Offer ends midnight CST, August 4th.