Before we dive into what I’m writing and how I’m writing it, I think it’s important to be upfront about the genre for which I’m writing. Or rather, the genre closest to what I’m writing. The more I write, the more clear it becomes that where I thought I’d end up – genre-wise – is not exactly where this book is heading.
Sort of. In a way.
On the surface, I would say that I’m writing a romance. Specifically, a male/male romance. As in two dudes, falling in love. Yep. You heard it here first.
For most of my life, I’ve written female/male romances. When I decided I wanted to write a male/male romance, I realized that I didn’t really know where to start. Love is love…but I’m a cis-gender female who’s only ever been in two relationships, one with a man and one with a woman. How am I supposed to write about something I’ve never personally experienced and never will?
And then it occurred to me, I was writing f/m romance long before I was in an actual relationship. Some things are instinctive, sure. But how did I learn to write the relationship dynamic before I was ever a part of one? I read romance novels. A lot of them. I taught myself how to write relationships based on the books I read. I know what you’re thinking. Arguably, romance novels are the second worst representations of real life relationships (I think we all know what the first is). But they’re not all bad.
So about a year ago, when I decided to start down this path, I started searching the internet for ‘best m/m romance novels’ and ‘best gay romance novels’. It was disappointing how few results those initial searches generated. But there were a few best-of lists, along with a few novels/author names that kept cropping up.
Since then, I’ve read a handful of m/m romances and feel that I’ve built a decent foundation with which to work. And I’d like to give credit – and recommendations for a few favorites – where they are due.
1.) Illumination by Rowan Speedwell– My very first m/m romance novel. And what an awesome introduction it was! Adam practically stumbles upon Miles by accident and their love story kept me glued to my e-reader until I finished it. From this one, I learned how mental illness/past trauma can affect a person’s future relationships, and how the past can be overcome.
2.) Willow Bend by Ally Blue– I had this book for six months before I could finish it because it was so heart-wrenching at times. I don’t know who needed who more, Paul or Cory. All I know is that I needed them to end up together. From this one, I learned that in order to make a happy present and future, you have to let go of the past.
3.) Strong Enough by Melanie Harlow and David Romanov– This is the most recent read on this list. And by far, the most frustrating. I cannot tell you how many times I yelled at Derek through my e-reader screen. I know he had to figure it out in his own time, but I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t proud of Maxim when he finally stood up for himself. From this one, I learned how hard overcoming your past and preconceived notions – even those about yourself – can be.
I highly HIGHLY recommend those three books, not only for someone interested in writing in this genre, but for anyone who enjoys a good love story. They would also probably be a good primer if you’re interested in reading my book when it’s finished, just to prepare yourself if you’ve never read this genre before.
All that said, consider this my disclaimer. Trust me, the last thing I want to do is put people off of my book before it’s even finished. But the whole point of doing this is for me to be open and honest and finally fulfill a dream. If this isn’t your flavor – or one you’d be willing to give a chance – maybe my work won’t be for you. No hard feelings.