By Romance Author Kelli A. Wilkins
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. (Usually 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 can write a gay romance. Here are the top four, along with my answers.
Why not? I’m a writer. And, as I 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 their 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.
My third gay romance, A Secret Match came out on August 31, 2014. (The other two are Four Days with Jack and Killer in Wolf’s Clothing), but I didn’t just “jump in” to writing M/M stories. The first same-sex (F/F) encounter I wrote appeared briefly (as part of a ménage experience) in Dalton’s Temptation. I went with it because it fit the characters and the storyline. The same thing happened in my erotic historical, A Midsummer Night’s Delights. I didn’t know that Julian or his wife had same-sex fantasies until I started writing. (Characters sometimes like to surprise us writers!) I trusted my instincts and wrote the story that was in my head. (That book has plenty of m/m and ménage scenes, and I wrote two sequels that are even hotter, A Midwinter Night’s Delights and Ultimate Night’s Delights.)
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. He thinks about the girl he loves, fantasizes about making love to her, they kiss and touch, and…there’s no difference in writing a story from two male points of view. Writing a love scene isn’t 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.
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! Yes, nasty thing, grammar! 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 we don’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. If readers are “turned off” to me as an author because I write gay romances… well, that’s too bad, see ya. I even explored the “what would people think” theme in A Secret Match and showed how Everett overcame his concerns.
When I wrote my first gay romance, Four Days with Jack, 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. Basically, the story needs to be told, and I’m the one telling it. 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.
Recently I 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?
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.
Kelli A. Wilkins
ABOUT KELLI A. WILKINS
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 90 short stories, 18 romance novels, and 4 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels. Her third gay romance, A Secret Match, was published in August. It is available in ebook and paperback formats. Read more about it here: http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/2022-A-Secret-Match.aspx
Kelli publishes a blog: (http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com) filled with excerpts, interviews, writing prompts, and whatever else pops into her head. She also writes a monthly newsletter, Kelli’s Quill, and posts on Facebook and Twitter. Kelli invites readers to visit her website, http://www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings.
Catch up with Kelli on the Web:
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Amber Quill Press Author page: http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/149-Kelli-A-Wilkins.aspx