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Thursday, August 4, 2011

SHOULD STRAIGHTS WRITE GAY? by Adele Dubois

--CONTEST ALERT!--

As a straight, long-time married woman, I confess I’ve never had a yen to read male/male erotic romances, nor the inclination to write them. Maybe that’s because I grew up around the theatre—in a world that included my parents’ gay male friends and protégés. In my twenties, I lived in a gay community in the city, and later owned a business with a large gay clientele. Our circle was passionate about the theatre, books and art and we talked endlessly about those interests. As adults, we chatted and joked about sex too, but rarely exchanged the intimate details of our personal lives. I dated my men and they dated theirs, and that was that.

To this day, I cannot form gay male characters in my head without conjuring real images of old friends and acquaintances. Creating male/male erotic stories would be like trying to imagine my brothers naked. No can do.

When I accepted the challenge to write lesbian vampire erotic fiction for the upcoming GIRLS WHO BITE anthology, a different set of issues emerged. What did I know about  the lesbian lifestyle? Only what I’d read or imagined. While I’ve had a great deal of contact with gay men, I’ve had little contact with gay women. What qualified me to write a lesbian tale? Could I create a convincing story? Should straights write gay?

As I plotted “The Crystal Altar” I discovered the answers. Apart from the sex scene choreography, story construction remained the same. In fiction, richly detailed characters convey emotions shared by all people. Everyone on earth has the need for connection. It’s the universal experience that binds us.

Once I was no longer intimidated by the same sex challenge, the writing flowed. “The Crystal Altar” short story, and my protagonists Morgan and Rosa, sprang to life. Their labels fell away. My heroines became two people with the same problems everyone in love faces. They also just happen to encounter vampires while resolving their relationship issues. Their fight for survival ultimately delivers their Happily Ever After.

Writing “The Crystal Altar” was, by far, the most fun I’ve had writing erotic romance. Who knew? I really hope that men and women, gay and straight, will be open to reading the GIRLS WHO BITE anthology, edited by Delilah Devlin for Cleis Press. The book releases September 13, 2011. This author sure had a blast with her story. Next challenge, lesbian shapeshifters!

Okay, so here's my question--primarily for straight women, but I'd like to hear from everyone. Will girl on girl erotic romance find a supportive mainstream audience like the male/male market has? Publishers are watching the trends and waiting for reader response. What do you say? Be honest. There is no right or wrong answer.

The person who provides the answer that stikes my fancy will win a FREE download of my contemporary erotic romance DESERT FEVER. An excerpt can be found at www.adeledubois.com/

Thanks for reading and playing!
Best--Adele Dubois



"The Crystal Altar" by Adele Dubois
An ancient crystalline cavern becomes the setting for a most unusual birthday party...

Pre-order your copy of GIRLS WHO BITE at Amazon! Click GWB photo to Buy link.

20 comments:

Tina Donahue said...

Congrats on writing outside your comfort zone, Adele. Girls Who Bite sounds great - the cover is amazing!

Liz said...

sounds amazing! I wrote my first m/f/m (a novel no less) which got picked up by Rebel but was committed to researching the best in the genre, including m/m to make my scenes ring true. But other than "choreography" as you so brilliantly put it, an emotional connection is just that, no matter who it is between.
thanks for the great post
Liz

Adele Dubois said...

Tina--Thanks for the congrats. I must admit I'm excited about this project and "The Crystal Altar short story.

Liz--So glad you enjoyed the post. It seems you understood, too, what I was trying to say. Thanks for commenting!

Best--Adele

Ann Jacobs said...

Hi Adele-- No, I don't think lesbian erotic romance will find the size audience that M/m has found among straight women. That said, I admire you for stepping outside your comfort zone. The farthest I've strayed is to occasional menage action--and one, brief male-on-male scene in a BDSM contemporary. You're right, the emotional interaction's the same--but I have trouble choreographing action I can't embrace.

Paisley Smith said...

Having already had the opportunity at a sneak peek of Crystal Altar, I can attest that it had a realistic lesbian feel. Character motivation and conflict are going to be the same whether you're writing same sex or hetero romances. Hey, can Stephen King (hopefully not a werewolf) write werewolves? I think so. We as authors are blessed with imaginations to tell myriad stories about varied and interesting characters. Congrats on the release of GWB (I feel like I'm in great company!!) and Crystal Altar!!

Katalina said...

Adele, I know whatever you write will be exciting, sensual and well plotted.
When I write bi-sexual or Gay characters I try never to lose sight of the person inside. When love is present-it works.
Your upcoming anthology "Girls who Bite" sounds great!
XXOO Kat

Adele Dubois said...

Ann--I fear you're right about the F/F subgenre struggling to gain a straight female audience, but I can't understand why. It's not such a leap when compared to reading M/M. To each their own, tbs.

Paisley--So glad to know I pulled off a convincing story. Many thanks for that. I'm in the best of company with you, Delilah, Myla, Vivi Anna, Christine, Delphine and the others in GWB. Smooches!

Kat--Big hugs and smooches for being so nice. Thank you! And, yes, it's all about the person inside.

Best--Adele

flchen1 said...

Wow, Adele--I have to admit that m/m and f/f aren't my first choice when it comes to reading. But I've seen what a huge draw m/m certainly is, and I can see the possibility that f/f will see a similar surge. I think as Liz said, it's really the emotions that make a romance, no matter the gender of the parties involved. When you hit those right, readers will be hooked, whether or not they might otherwise relate. Because everyone understands the desire for love :)

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

Great post, and I seriously don't see why a straight person can't write gay romance. Love and lust happens whether your gay or not, and writing erotic romance is an art form that is created in the writers imagination. Author who have the ability to create their art and put it in books are IMHO are pure in their type of art form.
Authors have the ability to create magic that can be shared with the readers, and to me that is a powerful creative force. When words can stir a readers heart, mind and emotions, and the reader actually feels what the writer is trying to express why does it matter if the author is straight or gay? It seriously never crosses my mind because I'm in the moment of reading the story, and not even thinking about the author's sexual leanings. I'm living in the moment.

There are many authors whose books I have read and I didn't know the the sex of the author until much later because that's how wonderful their writing is.
Does that make sense? I sure hope it does..lol

I have Girls Who Bite on my wish list already, and can't wait to read it.

Thanks you great post, and asking questions I hadn't honestly thought about. Excellent points...*S*


Darcy

pommawolf @hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I see no reason that a straight person couldn't write gay fiction. We all need love and feel desire. I personally love reading m/m romances and have read them by authors who are both gay and straight. The only problems that I've come across are sometimes straight authors tend to go for the stereo types a little too much, seeming to forget that we are all individuals and there is no one size fits all. All that being said, pertaining to the question of wether or not f/f will ever become as popular with us hetero women as much as m/m..... well, personally I can't see it. I just don't find f/f as appealing as m/m. No offense intended to anyone, f/f just isn't my cup of tea.

Pati jpm6966@aol.com

Heather S said...

I see no reason that straight authors shouldn't write gay/lesbian stories. It might even get through to the general public that these people are not "freaks" and that same sex relationships can be as beautiful as hetero ones. There is a market out there for everyone, for curiosity or otherwise. I applaude you for having the creativity to reach beyond yourself and create a story involving two females. You are so talented that this shouldn't surprise me. Good luck with it!

Adele Dubois said...

Fedora--You're so right that everyone understands the desire for love.

Darcy--Thanks so much for putting GIRLS WHO BITE on your wish list! Yes, you made a great deal of sense with the points you made. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Pati--No offense taken. In fact, I've heard that before. The F/F market is very new and there's resistence to the subgenre. However, maybe once readers get used to the idea, they'll realize F/F stories can be fresh and fun. We'll see.

Heather--You made my day with your kind comments about my writing. Thank you.

Thanks to all for visiting and posting today!

Best--Adele

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I think anything a writer puts their imagination to is possible. If the characters are believable and they make an emotional connection, any writer can write in any genre including m/m or f/f.
I can be interested in any story that is well written and contains deep, genuine emotion.
A very provocative blog Adele.

Adele Dubois said...

Sarah--"Provocative". I love that word. Thanks for your comments and for stopping by.

Best--Adele

Fiona McGier said...

I prefer to write and read hetero erotic romance, because that is what I imagine all of the time. I can see how M/M would be popular with women because we find men so damn sexy, that it's not much of a stretch for us to imagine falling in love with a man, even if you are a man.

But most hetero women are not as bi-curious as the TV shows (and porn) would have you think. So I don't think it will be as popular.

I could be wrong, but that's my HO.
But I still wish you luck with this latest challenge you seem to be rising up to face so strongly.

Michael said...

Hi Adele,

This is a great topic.

I really don't see why straight people can't write hetero m/m or f/f. As some of the readers have already said, its about what the author feels. Its two people in love. The equipment may be different from your own but everyone is entitled to write what they want.

Being a mostly hetero woman, I find love between people sexy. Period. Right now, I'm so into m/m, reading and writing that hetero has not caught my eye lately. I know eventually, I'll get to a point where I'll desire to read and write it on the regular again, when I dunno.

If you have well thought out characters, do the research and the desire to step out your comfort zone do it.

Its the same argument with writing interracial, or historical, all you need to do is research it to the best of your ability.

Again, the old comparison... the writers like Stephen King, did he murder someone to write it so well? Is Anne Rice an Vampire? I think the answers are no. Like I said, as long as you do your footwork and have a good story to be told, write what you want.

Off soapbox

Best of luck in sales. :D

S.Lira aka Michael Mandrake Rawiya BLMorticia

Adele Dubois said...

Fiona--Thanks for weighing-in. I think you're probably right that a segment of female readers will never accept F/F as a subgenre. Others may wonder about it and discover they like the occasional choice of something different. Time will tell.

Michael--It's fun to explore new subgenres, I agree. It's also true that a well-written story can suceed where a poorly constructed story cannot. Thanks for your comment!

Best--Adele

Mara said...

You pose a very interesting question - one that I've pondered many times and wondered about when I read M/M erotica, especially when written by a woman. Straight or gay, what would a female know about a M/M relationship, let alone sex.
The answer that I've come up with is that any writer worth the ink on the page and are interested in writing on any subject that they would have to do research (think historical romance) will be just as successful at writing outide their usually genre. Simply put, if the writer is any good, like a good actor, they will be able to write in any genre they chose to.

I've read some of the best and worst M/M erotica written by women. The good ones always make me think "wow!', how did they know how to write that if they're women? Now, whether a gay man would read it and find it plausible is another issue altogether. For me, many of the M/M books are very sexy and definitely can get me all hot and bothered and I'm a straight woman.

On the other hand, I generally do not enjoy F/F erotica, altough I have made some exceptions for stories that are amazingly well-written. In general, lesbian stories jut don't turn me on and even though I just said that I'm a striaght woman, there was a time where I would have said I was bi - so it isn't like I was never turned on my women. I think it has to do with the fact that most M/M stories the male characters are gorgeous and sexy, just like in hetero books.
Anyway, let me know what you think and thanks for the giveaway!
Mara
marajbrandon AT gmail DOT com

Adele Dubois said...

Mara--Your comment echoes the sentiments I've heard from other women, so you're not alone. It will be interesting to see what happens with the subgenre. It may take time to mainstream or that may never happen. We'll see.

Thanks for participating in the discussion!

Best--Adele

Adele Dubois said...

Many thanks to everyone who stopped by to read my article and participate in the discussion.

Contest winner is Darcy!

Darcy, will you please contact me using the Contact form on my website at www.adeledubois.com/ to claim your prize. Thank you!