Like so much received wisdom, that’s a load of bull. Although I never thought I’d end up writing mm/gay fiction, I must admit. Life certainly springs surprises. So how come that this is what I’m doing? Read on and find out…
Gay fiction, whether it was called that or not, has been around for a long, long time, but mm romance was a revelation. After one book, I was hooked.
I started off reading werewolf shifter books (yes, there really is such a sub-genre). Who knew that there were so many gay werewolves out there? I’ve not come across them here in the Home Counties, or at least not yet, but who knows what nightfall will bring. Shifter books, though, are like cupcakes: they’re fun, easy to consume and very moreish but before too long their lack of substance leaves one craving more solid fare. Moving forward in my mm education, I came across the likes of Josh Lanyon, KA Mitchell (love the Ohio and Baltimore series) and, banging the drum for a UK author, Jay Northcote. Each of these authors has his or her own distinct style. What they share is more than a nodding acquaintance with the English language, and the ability to write engaging narrative peopled by interesting and well developed characters that make you want to turn the page. I’ve now read probably hundreds of mm-themed books, some I’ve loved, and others not so much. As I read, and read some more, I thought maybe, perhaps, I could write in this genre, too.
Which is how Imperfect was born.
Imperfect is my first book. And, like its title, that’s what it is. Because writing is not easy. It is not a soft option. Even though I think that there are many books out there, of all genres, which most probably shouldn’t have seen the light of day, I have nonetheless developed a healthy respect for anybody who puts pen to paper or finger to keyboard.
But back to Imperfect… It emerged over the course of several months, back in 2013/14. I’d been made redundant and suddenly I had time on my hands. In between job hunting I spent time writing. The first draft was finished in September 2014, just days before I went back to work. After that I spent my time furiously revising, in a café at lunch-time and later at home, shut away in a spare room.
When I tell people that I write they are, naturally, interested to know what I write. I used to be shy about telling them. I’ve since got over myself. My somewhat coy response was that I wrote romance and then would mumble that it was mm. This would often be met by blank stares, which meant that I had to explain what mm was, which led to more mumbles and a red face (mine). At this point it’s worth mentioning a book called Man, Oh Man: Writing Quality M/M Fiction, by Josh Lanyon. It’s a fascinating read and should be compulsory for anybody considering writing in the genre. To paraphrase a point that’s raised early on in the book, Josh says that there are some who will regard you with suspicion when you tell them what you write, that they will see it as being subversive in some way. I think that’s true. It’s interesting to note people’s reaction when I tell them that I write mm-themed fiction. Most are fascinated and want to know more, others (fortunately few) are clearly not comfortable. And it’s not generational. Younger people, I have found, are often the biggest prudes, but maybe that’s more to do with lack of life experience. I don’t know.
From this flows the inevitable: you’re a woman so how can you write about gay men? If you follow this line of thought there would never be any historical fiction, sci-fi and fantasy, werewolves (gay or otherwise). Where do you get your material? is the next question. My answer to that is that it’s fiction, stories, made-up stuff. I have an imagination. I do my research. Research, whatever form it takes, is as important for this genre as for any other. If I were writing historical fiction, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that I would research what life was like in whichever period I was writing about? Some of my research has certainly been a revelation, but that’s a subject for a later post, I think.
Until next time.
A E Ryecart
This is my blog, where I'll keep you posted on the latest happenings, updates on my writing, previews and news.