And why I will never write a straight romance novel. Ever.
I am very specific about the kind of romance I write. I will only write LGBTQ* romance, or Queer* romance, simply because I don’t think there is enough of it. There are plenty of people who write heterosexual romance stories, and there are plenty of people who write LGBTQ* erotics, but there are not a lot of people who write LGBTQ* romance, and I am very specific about that, I write romance not erotica.
I don’t have an issue with erotica, and I don’t have an issue with books/movies/tv shows that are queer*, as long as those queer* characters are not portrayed in frustrating ways. However, I do find it slightly off-putting when I want to read a romance book, and I can only find LGBTQ* erotica. I don’t mind romance with sex scenes included, no matter how graphic those scenes are, I’m talking books that are front to back sex with very little plot. I want something with a good story and complex characters who make me feel things above the waist, not just below.
Gay characters, queer* characters, are so often cast as side-stories, background characters. They are given stereotypes and play to them in order to make straight audiences feel more comfortable with them. They are often treated as completely non-sexual beings in order to make straight people feel more comfortable. They are killed off, mistreated, ignored, and poorly written in quite a lot of media. I’m tired of that, most queer* people are tired of seeing ourselves that way in books, movies, and television programs. It’s not fair considering that straight characters are given beautiful, slow, well-thought out stories, and treated so very well (most of the time) by writers. Of course, there are ridiculous stories for them, as well, but more often than not, they get the better end of the stick.
That is why I choose to only write LGBTQ* romance when I am writing romance novels. I include sex, as long as those scenes are appropriate for my characters and their stories, but I try to create interesting plots and deep characters who tell real stories. I want to evoke emotion in my readers with my romantic tales. And I want to give more stories to the Queer* community, stories where they can see themselves and not feel alienated by the characters.
Currently my romance novels are adult contemporary (Fragile Love) and I am also working on a fantasy-romance series which will also be adult in its content (The Divide). However I have plans for some LGBTQ* YA novels, and LGBTQ* paranormal (YA) romance novels. I am excited to write those, simply because young queer* people need to see themselves in media so that they realise they are not alone, they are loved, and there is nothing wrong with them.
I think that’s acceptable, don’t you? If there are already hundreds, thousands, of stories for straight people to read and lose themselves in, why shouldn’t I focus on delivering more stories for my community, for queer* people to lose themselves in, and for anybody else who would like to read about new characters.
Now, what do I consider LGBTQ* romance?
Obviously, male/male and female/female stories are LGBTQ* stories. However, I also have stories planned with asexual characters, trans* characters, non-binary characters, and a polyamorous relationship between a bisexual girl, an asexual girl, and a heterosexual man. I believe all of these are stories that there are not enough of, if any.
This is only short, but I have been a bit busy today worldbuilding for The Divide. I’m having loads of fun with it so writing this slipped my mind slightly. However, I am pre-writing Saturday’s blog (since Saturday is my brother’s wedding), so it will be up on time and will hopefully be more in depth. In that blog post, I’ll be going a little more in depth in the differences between erotica and romance, and how to find your balance with erotic content and romantic content in a romance story.