Thursday, August 23, 2012
I didn’t deliberately set out to become a writer of M/M paranormal romance fiction. When the grade-school teachers asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, I didn’t stand in front of the class and announce, “I want to write stories about two or more hawt men falling in love with each other, complete with explicit sex.” (Imagine if I had, though. I’d probably still be in detention.)
I ended up in this subgenre the way I ended up in a lot of my day jobs, and the same way I ended up as a romance writer in general: I just kind of fell into it. I always wanted to be a writer—that much was a deliberate choice—but I always thought I’d make my name in science fiction and fantasy. Somehow I drifted into romance, specifically paranormal romance. It was the same thing I’d been writing, just with hot bits.
Many people believe the whole M/M genre grew out of slash fan fiction, which began with Kirk/Spock back in the 1970s. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series contains elements of M/M, F/F and ménage in a science fantasy setting. The leap from one genre to the other wasn’t that wide of a jump.
However, I started with traditional M/F, or as traditional as that gets with werewolves and vampires involved. My slide into same-sex debauchery began with a publisher’s call for novellas involving angels and/or demons. I came up with an idea of a demon and an angel competing for a human woman. Except, as the plot moved along, they became less interested in the woman and more and more drawn to each other. Oops. Oh well, what the hell. And that’s how Bad Boys came to be, and how I wrote my first M/M.
Not that I planned on making M/M my career choice. I’d had an idea, I had fun writing it, now we move on to the next. “The next” turned out to be Belonging. The inciting idea was basically “a brothel intended for vampires,” so the leads were a prostitute and the vampire customer she falls in love with. Yes, I did say “she.” That book started life as M/F. Then I discovered Supernatural. Jared and Jensen were just so pretty and had so much on-screen chemistry, they inspired me to give my hooker a sex change. The she became a he, the book became M/M, and I found myself writing in a whole new category.
And it ain’t over yet! I have a list of M/F stories I’d like to get to someday, but I also have a growing list of M/M plots, including an idea for a series. Those dang horny boys just won’t go away.
I think I’ve finally figured out why.
I like men. They’re cute. They’re fun. They can change overhead light bulbs without needing a ladder and open stubborn jars. They may not have much sense, but at least they’re trainable. Then there are the other obvious pluses, which I won’t go into here. We all have our own top-ten lists.
As a writer, it’s my duty to create a male lead a female reader would gladly take home to meet the parents. What do I like in a man? What turns me on? What draws me in? I take all my favorite physical, mental and emotional traits and pour them into one drop-dead-gorgeous man-package. Over and over, I create my ideal mate, my perfect man—
And turn him over to someone else. Some undeserving bitch.
There’s the one big drawback to being a writer of romance. The leads have to fall in love with each other and live happily ever after. Terrific for you two, but what about me? I’m not my heroines. They’re all younger and tougher and prettier and a whole lot thinner than I am. I keep coming up with variations on my perfect boyfriend, then have to watch him ride off into the sunset with another woman, the skanky tramp bimbo whore.
Ah, but then we’ve got M/M. I get to create two perfect men, and I get to keep them. Two drool-worthy, be-still-my-heart hunkalicious males, making out on the page with tender abandon and no rival women in sight. I get my paranormal fix, my romance fix, and my guy fix. Show me the downside to any of that.
I’m not alone in this mindset. There are M/M fans out there who won’t read a ménage if there’s a woman involved. A reviewer who read Legacy expressed initial trepidation because she hadn’t wanted to see a woman come between Wallace and Jeremy. I hadn’t either, but the idea hit and I ran with it. I guess it worked out. It gave me the chance to write about the Preacher, with his smoldering eyes and single-minded intensity. I’ll get to his story eventually. He ends up with another woman. I appear to be addicted to self-punishment.
As you can see, I’m not giving up on M/F entirely. I’m willing to concede some of my female leads are worthy of the men I give them. Fine, Amber/Ashley/Brittany, you can have Todd/Brent/Mitchell. I’m keeping Adam and Donner. They’re werewolves, they’re naked, they’re hungry for each other and they’re mine.
All of a sudden I’m in the mood to reread my favorite Spenser books by Robert B. Parker. Then I can picture Robert Urich and Avery Brooks solving crimes together. I’ll just skip the scenes with Spenser’s girlfriend Susan in them. Those two men … yummy yum yum.