*** Special Feature - July 2015 ***
An Inside Look at… A Secret Match
by Romance Author Kelli A. Wilkins
by Romance Author Kelli A. Wilkins
Today I’m sharing an “inside look” at the making of my latest gay romance, A Secret Match.
It’s a contemporary novella set in the world of professional wrestling.
Before we get started, let me answer the question lots of folks may be asking: “Why do you write gay romances? You’re not a man or gay.” I generally respond with: “Why shouldn’t I? I wrote a vampire romance, and I’ve never been a vampire.”
But seriously, I’m a writer. And as a writer, I write whatever romance book comes to me, whether it’s a contemporary, historical, paranormal, or gay romance. My stories are about people who meet, fall in love, and overcome obstacles to be with each other. This basic philosophy applies whether the characters are same-sex, different sex, or space alien and earth girl. Love is love and romance is romance. I’m not married to one specific genre or heat level. I go where the story and the characters take me.
When A Secret Match came out, a friend asked me: “How do you write a gay romance?” I replied: “The same way I write my other romances. I write the story that’s in my head.” For me, writing a M/M romance is no different than writing a romance in any other genre. All the elements of telling any good story: an interesting plot, characters readers care about, sensory details and descriptions, etc., are the same.
So, how did A Secret Match come about? I’ve been a wrestling fan my whole life and A Secret Match is a follow-up (of sorts) to my other wrestling romance, A Perfect Match. That book is about a straight couple (Vin and Danni) and Everett (the main character from A Secret Match) is a secondary character (and Vin’s best friend).
I loved writing for Ev— he’s one of those characters who tries to run away with the book. I always thought “one day” I’ll give him a story of his own, but I didn’t have a clue as to what the plot would be. I put thoughts of him aside and wrote other books. Then, one morning as I was driving to work, he popped into my head with a four-line book summary. Within an hour, I had the whole story in my head and I started writing.
A big part of the storyline centers around Everett dealing (or rather, not dealing) with his sexuality and his (un)willingness to be open about who he really is. Ev’s longtime partner, Josh, is tired of being kept in his “walk-in closet” and wants Ev to come out (at least to his friends and family) but Everett is concerned about losing his job. Will fans accept a gay wrestler? How will his boss react? Part of him wants to keep everything just as it is because that’s safe. But another part of him longs to stop hiding the truth.
When I wrote the book, I focused on Ev’s anguish over being caught between two worlds: his job (where his wrestling persona is a horny womanizer) and his secret, private life with Josh. Everett can’t balance the two and worries about what the other wrestlers would think of him coming out.
As Ev tells Vin as they discuss the issue of gay athletes in sports: “Sure, gay athletes are out there, but a gay baseball player doesn’t have the type of physical contact with other guys like we do. Does he grab other men when he’s all sweaty and crawl on top of them to cover them for a pin? No. There are all sorts of issues—changing in the locker room, showering together… Can you imagine some of the things that would go through the guys’ heads when I tried to put a hold on them? You think they wouldn’t freak out when I touched them if they knew?”
Vin’s reply: “You won’t know if you never take the risk.”
And risk Ev does. After he comes out (twice, in fact—I loved writing those scenes!), he discovers a different side to himself, embraces who he is, and even faces down intolerant fans and homophobic coworkers.
I enjoyed showing Everett on his journey of self-acceptance. He’s a bit of a cocky wise-ass, and definitely a fun character to write for. I was glad to give Ev and Josh the happy-ever-after ending they rightly deserve (and some hot love scenes!), because no matter what, love is love, and that’s all that matters.
I hope you’ll check out the book. (It’s received several excellent reviews.) In the meantime, here’s the summary, a spicy excerpt, and purchase links.
Kelli A. Wilkins
A Secret Match
Everett Kinkade is a world-famous professional wrestler and the sexy heartthrob of millions of adoring female fans. But Ev has a secret he doesn’t dare share with anyone. He’s gay.
After years of being Ev’s secret lover, Josh is tired of hiding in the shadows and wants Ev to openly acknowledge their relationship. Coming out is the last thing Ev wants and fears it will ruin his career.
One night in a moment of truth, Everett outs himself on live TV. There’s no going back, and his announcement sparks a firestorm of problems – both personally and professionally. He’s forced to come to grips with who he really is while facing down a tag team out to destroy him.
Torn between living a lie and losing the man he loves, Ev has risked everything… can he find a balance between his career and his heart?
“Maybe we’ll take a swim later,” Ev said as he closed the bedroom door and picked the box off the nightstand. “This is for you.”
“A present? For me?” Josh smiled as he took the box.
“Well, technically it’s for both of us.” Ev bowed his head. “I thought…we might…you know. Oh, just open it,” he finished in a rush.
Josh unwrapped the box. It held a bottle of lube, condoms, and a sample pack of flavored lotions. “This is sweet.”
“I didn’t get anything kinky. I wasn’t sure if you’re into that or what…”
“I like to play around, but that can wait for another time.” He pulled Ev close for a kiss and felt him quiver. “Are you okay?”
Everett glanced into his eyes. “Yeah, I want to do this, but…it’s been a long time.”
He kissed Ev and slid his hands down his wide back, caressing him through his shirt. The scent of Ev’s citrus and sage cologne made his heart beat faster.
“Don’t worry about a thing. Relax. You’re safe with me. I’ll take care of everything.” He kissed Ev again, and a quiver ran up his spine as Everett slipped his tongue into his mouth. Josh cupped Ev’s tight buttocks through his jeans, pressing their lower bodies together. They lost themselves in the embrace, touching and stroking each other.
“Let me make love to you the way you deserve. Now strip for me, Muscles,” Josh teased. “Everything but the pants.”
Everett took off his shirt and kicked off his shoes and socks. Josh grinned at the sight of Ev’s wide, tan chest and his flat belly. He stepped closer, trailing his hand down Ev’s six-pack abs. “Nice.”
Josh gathered Ev in his arms and nuzzled his neck, planting tiny kisses from his neck to his chest muscles. He kissed Everett’s pecs, then swirled his tongue around his left nipple. He spent the next few minutes licking and kissing Ev everywhere, slowly making his way down his stomach…
Order your copy of A Secret Match here:
About the Author
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books.
Her newest book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction was released in February 2015. This fun and informative non-fiction guide is based on her 15 years of experience as a writer, and is available exclusively on Amazon.
Kelli published three romances in 2014: Dangerous Indenture (a spicy historical/mystery), Wilderness Bride (a tender historical/Western/adventure), and A Secret Match (a gay contemporary set in the world of professional wrestling). Her romances span many genres and heat levels and yet she’s also been known to scare readers with a horror story. In 2014, her horror fiction appeared in Moon Shadows, Wrapped in White, and Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine.
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PDF copy of either A Secret Match or Dangerous Indenture - Winner's Choice. Open Internationally.