Today, I’m featuring something a bit different: an essay by an author who writes male-male romance books. Stephanie was polite enough to not think I was crazy or rude when I ventured to ask her, “what on earth makes you write m-m romance??” What I found out: like me, she loves the challenge of writing something different. Please welcome Stephanie Abbott to Lizzyland!
Why I write M/M Romance
by Stephanie Abbott
I get this question a lot. Partly because in the “real world” not everyone is aware that M/M romance exists. To these folks, a romance is always between an unmarried M/F couple. They’ve never glimpsed a paperback featuring two gorgeous males in the mass market section at Walmart or Target! And when these denizens of the “real world” learn about the genre, they tend to assume it’s written by men for men. No chicks allowed. Yet here I am, female, gay, and writing my own m/m offerings. The next question is always, why?
Because writing m/m romance lets me escape my own life and live an altogether different one. Let’s face it, being female comes with its own unique set of issues. If I’m writing to escape, to enjoy myself while creating something new, I know the female side of romance a little too well. Besides, in real life, I’m blessed to be living out my own HEA with the woman of my dreams. When I tell a story, I want to express new things and experience them vicariously. In Something Different, it was fun for me to “become” an unhappily married father of two who simply cannot endure the status quo for one more minute. At the same time, I got to step into a second completely alien life – a young male hustler who knows he won’t be pretty enough to stay on the game forever.
Because it’s sexy. Maybe it’s just me, but m/m romance creates some gorgeous imagery. The muscled bodies, the high cheekbones, the huge – um, talent. There’s a frisson of pain, danger, and domination. Top or bottom? True love or pure lust? A romance for the ages or an exercise in quick, dirty desire? Sometimes when I say this, talking with my hands as I do when I’m excited, people give me a certain look. Then they say, “Um, if you’re gay, you shouldn’t like the idea of two men together.” Nonsense. Plenty of straight people adore it, after all. As far as I know, there’s no human sexuality handbook that lays out in exquisite detail what each of can – and should – find sexy.
Because it’s a challenge. In Something Different, the protagonist, Michael, starts out as everything I’m not – compulsively neat, shy, rigidly logical and afraid to speak up for himself. But the more deeply Michael becomes involved with the rent boy, James, the more Michael’s cool intellectualism helps him cope. Imagining how Michael – not me! – would react to each new situation was a wonderful creative exercise.
In Protection, I decided the protagonist would be a double murderer. Also the survivor of an abusive home life and a devout Catholic, too. For the record, I’m not a murderer, my family wasn’t abusive and I’m not particularly religious. But imagining those traits was easy compared to deciding how a blue collar man in the 1930s would talk, behave, and conduct himself as he falls in love with another male. I did more period research on emotional attitudes of the time than on prison life – and I did a lot on prison life. But writing both books was a labor of love, worth every minute. So there’s my answer in a word. Why do I write m/m romance? Love.
Unhappily married Michael Maguire decides to do something different. Setting out to hire a female prostitute, Michael instead finds blue-eyed, beautiful James Campbell. Tempted in ways he never imagined, Michael embarks on a sexual adventure with a rent boy from London’s East End. No form of pleasure is off the table. Not even love…
When Gabriel MacKenna enters Wentworth Prison in 1931, he promises himself two things: never to be buggered and never to turn prison queer. Tough, smart, and ruthless in a fight, he quickly makes a name for himself inside. But Gabriel is serving two life sentences. And life is a very long time.
Enter Joey Cooper. Trained at Oxford as a physician, the young doctor is innocent of prison culture and too handsome for his own good. Joey cannot hope to survive Wentworth without protection. And protection is just what Gabriel MacKenna offers. At a price…
Purchase from: Amazon.
S.A. Reid is a pseudonym for Stephanie Abbott, a writer of fantasy adventures. Her first book, a reincarnation romance called PAST LIVES #1: RACHEL is now available.
Stephanie also writes cozy mysteries like ICE BLUE and BLUE MURDER (coming Spring 2012) under the pen name Emma Jameson. And as S.A. Reid she writes adult romances like SOMETHING DIFFERENT, PROTECTION, and SOULLESS (coming Spring 2012).