Writing Gay Romances - 4 FAQ
By Romance Author Kelli A. Wilkins
Catch Up with Kelli:
My name is Kelli Wilkins and I write romances. My books cover nearly every genre and vary in heat level from mild to super-spicy. People have different reactions when they learn what I write. (Sometimes they gasp and pretend to be horrified, and then ask me if I “act out” my love scenes at home!)
But when people find out that I write gay romances—that really gets them going! “Why would you write one of those? You’re not a man or gay.” (Here’s my turn to gasp and act surprised. Really? You’re kidding!) I generally respond with: “Why shouldn’t I write gay romances? I wrote a vampire romance, and I’ve never been a vampire.” (That usually quiets people down for a while.)
I get a lot of questions about “why” or “how” I write gay romances. Here are the top four, along with my answers.
You’ve written lots of straight romances. Why write gay romances?
Why not? 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 I wrote A Secret Match and Killer in Wolf’s Clothing I trusted my instincts and wrote the story that was in my head. Although both books are contemporary gay romances, they’re very different.
In A Secret Match, 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. The characters in Killer in Wolf's Clothing are comfortable with their sexuality, but have other issues to deal with. This super-hot paranormal/shifter is a fun look at the werewolf legend and blends romance, mystery, danger, humor, and sizzling love scenes.
How do you write the gay love scenes?
I approach a same-sex love scene the same way I would if I was writing about a hetero couple. When I write a straight romance, about half of the scenes are written from a male point of view. So I have experience “thinking” about scenes from a male perspective anyway.
Peter thinks about the girl he loves, fantasizes about making love to her, he kisses her, they touch, and… There’s not much difference in writing a story from two male points of view. Writing a love scene isn’t only about the gender or the anatomy of the characters—it’s about creating a believable, intimate scene where two people express their love for each other.
Each character in each book is unique, so the love scenes are always approached from different directions. Everett and Josh’s first kiss (in A Secret Match) was a tender and sweet moment, while the first time readers meet Deke (from Killer in Wolf’s Clothing) they realize he’s anything but shy.
What’s the hardest part about writing a gay romance?
The answer to this is quite surprising, and no, it has nothing to do with bedroom activities. The hardest part about writing a same-sex romance or love scene is: pronouns.
As I’m writing, I’ll dash off something like: “He ran his hand down his chest and…” Wait, what? He ran his own hand down his own chest? No… I have to pay extra close attention when revising or editing a same-sex scene. Too many “his” references and the reader doesn’t know who is doing what. Better to say: “He ran his hand down Kevin’s chest and...”
Are you concerned about “what people will think” about you writing gay romances?
Not in the least. People will think whatever they want. I realize that not everyone wants to read the same type of romance, and that’s fine. But if readers are turned off to me as an author just because I write gay romances… well, that’s too bad, see ya.
When I wrote my first gay romance, I considered “what people would think” about the book and me writing it—for about three seconds. Then I reminded myself that I’m a writer, and I create the characters and scenes that make up the book.
I don’t worry about what people might think of me writing about two male characters kissing, going to bed, or making dinner. Basically, the story needs to be told, and I’m the one telling it. As a writer, I’ve made up all sorts of things: an erotic Bigfoot story, a historical Viking tale, detailed ménage scenes (in all combinations), and a first-person vampire love story.
Writers need to turn off their internal editors and forge ahead with the story as it should be (and needs to be) told. If we constantly worried about what grandma would think about our writing, or if we were afraid to open up and let the characters (and the story) take us into the bedroom, we’d never write anything except G-rated fables.
I once read a blog where a woman was “confessing” to writing an erotic romance, even though she couldn’t tell anyone about it and wouldn’t “dare” put her real name on the story. I got to wondering…why? Why hide your writing? And if you’re “ashamed” to be writing in a particular genre, why invest the time and energy into something you’re not going to stand behind?
Now more than ever, I’m just as proud of my gay romances as I am of my straight romances. Why? Because I’m a romance writer—and in my books, everyone deserves to be in love and live happily-ever-after with whatever partner they choose.
And that’s the way it should be… in fiction and in real life.
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 romances span many genres and heat levels.
In 2016 Kelli is re-releasing her romances previously published by Amber Quill Press. Visit her website and blog for a full title list, book summaries, and other information as it becomes available.
Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative non-fiction guide based on her 15 years of experience as a writer. It’s filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.
If you like to be scared, check out Kelli’s horror ebooks: Dead Til Dawn and Kropsy’s Curse.
Visit her Website to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter HERE.
Catch Up with Kelli: