Kelli A. Wilkins
How Do You Write a Gay Romance? The Answer is Simple…
Hi, my name is Kelli Wilkins, and I write gay (M/M) romances. I also write straight romances, historicals, paranormals, and just about any other romance genre you can think of. But I get a lot of questions about “why” or “how” I write gay romance. “Why would you write one of those? You’re not a man or gay.” I generally respond with: “Why shouldn’t I? I wrote a vampire romance, and I’m not a vampire.”
When my gay romance A Secret Match came out, a friend asked me: “How do you write a gay romance?” I replied: “The same way I wrote my historical Viking romance. I wrote the story that was in my head.”
And that’s how you write a gay romance. Just write the story. Let the characters tell you what happens and start typing. Writing a gay romance is really no different than writing a romance in any other genre, but some people get hung up on the idea of writing intimate love scenes, not understanding how the characters should act, or getting the story right—but that could happen when you’re writing any book, in any genre.
Let’s go back to English class for a minute. All good books (regardless of genre) need to have the same basic elements: a believable plot, interesting, fleshed-out characters the readers can root for (with histories and backstories), sensory details that pull the reader into the story, and good dialogue. These elements go into every romance (and everything else) I write, whether it’s an erotic historical/fantasy, straight paranormal, or gay contemporary. Once you get the basics down, you can just about write anything; mysteries, suspense, horror, and even children’s books.
But everyone has different comfort levels when writing (and reading) a romance. Some people are content with mild M/F romances, others like to spice things up and get a little wild with experimentation or ménage, and still others write straight, gay, ménage, or any combination. It’s probably safe to say that if you’re not comfortable reading M/M romances, you’re most likely not going to write one—and that’s fine. If writing a gay romance isn’t something you’re comfortable with and you can’t get inside your characters’ heads and write freely, you might want to stick to M/F romances.
The bottom line is: read and write whatever you want. I’ll do the same, and I’ll write whatever book comes to me, no matter what genre. My romances are about people who meet, fall in love, and overcome 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. That’s why I’m not married to one specific genre or heat level. I have no “control” over the characters who come to me, so I go where the story and the characters take me.
It’s interesting to note that some of my M/F romances (In Another World, A Deceptive Match, and Redemption from a Dark Past) include gay secondary characters. They’re important to the overall story and move the plot along, just like any other character—but they just happen to be gay.
As I’m writing, I focus on the story and tell it the way the characters live it. (It’s their story, after all!) I don’t worry about “what people might think” of me writing about two male characters kissing, going to bed, or making dinner. People will think whatever they want. If readers are “turned off” to me as an author because I write gay romances… well, too bad, see ya.
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 mystery, detailed ménage scenes (in all combinations), and a first-person vampire love story.
But what about the love scenes? Well, my “secret” to writing gay love scenes is: 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 the male point of view. So I have experience thinking 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.
So what’s the hardest part about writing a same-sex romance or love scene? The answer may surprise you—pronouns! (Yes, we’re back to English class again!) As I’m writing, I’ll dash off something like “He ran his hand down his stomach and….” Wait, what? He ran his own hand down his own stomach? I have to pay extra close attention when revising/editing a M/M scene. Too many “his” references and we don’t know who is doing what. Better to say: “He ran his hand down Steve’s stomach and...”
I enjoyed writing all of my books, and 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.
Here’s the book summary and links to A Secret Match. It’s my favorite M/M romance and is a great blend of drama, humor, and hot love scenes.
A SECRET MATCH
Everett Kinkade is a world-famous professional wrestler and the sexy heartthrob of millions of adoring female fans. But Ev has a secret he doesn’t dare share with anyone. He’s gay. After years of being Ev’s secret lover, Josh is tired of hiding in the shadows and wants Ev to openly acknowledge their relationship. Coming out is the last thing Ev wants and fears it will ruin his career. One night in a moment of truth, Everett outs himself on live TV. There’s no going back, and his announcement sparks a firestorm of problems—both personally and professionally. He’s forced to come to grips with who he really is while facing down a manipulative boss and a tag-team out to destroy him. Torn between living a lie and losing the man he loves, Ev has risked everything… can he find a balance between his career and his heart?
Order A Secret Match here:
All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/md6rZb
Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/a-secret-match
I welcome comments and questions from readers. Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media. You can read more “Behind the Scenes” blogs here: www.KelliWilkins.com/blog
I made a page for my gay romances: https://www.facebook.com/GayRomancesbyKelliAWilkins/
Happy Pride Month everyone!
Kelli A. Wilkins
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.
Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in early 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.
She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.
In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.
Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.