Posted On November 21, 2011 by Print This Post

Sloan Parker – Write What You Know: A Woman Writing M/M Romance

I don’t remember how I found Sloan Parker but I vividly remember the minute I finished her book, MORE, and immediately clicked back to the beginning and started the book over again. She was my first introduction into M/M romance and erotica and I couldn’t have chosen a better place to start – her writing has set the bar.  Sloan, as well as the other talented cream of the M/M crop, take the classic tropes of romance fiction and give them a fresh twist that takes my breath away and teaches me something incredible about the craft every single time.

In addition, as a woman in the M/M genre, Sloan constantly tackles the question of whether she can really write about the gay male experience.  Whether you are writing about characters of a different gender, culture, race or species – her post has something for us all.

Write What You Know: A Woman Writing M/M Romance
“You’re a woman. How can you write about gay men?” It’s a question I get asked often.
The short answer: I’m not a gay man, but writing about people of both genders who are living different lives from mine comes with the job of author.
There has been much debate, both in and out of the m/m romance community, on whether the gender of the author matters. For some, it may. For others, it’s the story and the characters that are important, not the author behind the scenes. In either case, I don’t believe it’s anyone’s place to judge how another person selects books to read. Every reader has the right to choose based on whatever criteria are important and personal for them.
That said, I will admit it’s frustrating to know my work may be dismissed simply because of my gender and not the work itself.
The commonly stated advice of “write what you know” doesn’t always make for good fiction. If we only write what we have personal experience on, or about characters exactly like us, writers would be out of stories in no time. I’m certain my life experiences would bore the heck out of everyone except my mother. And even then, there are many things my mom wouldn’t want to know.
Writers are creative people. We couldn’t write within the strictest sense of “write what you know,” even if we wanted to.
To illustrate, here are a sampling of characters from the stories of several female friends who do not write m/m: a killer who uses a unique and mysterious method for offing his victims (which I can’t reveal since the book isn’t out yet), a secret team of werewolf shifters, an ex-spy on the run, a royal wedding complete with a prince and a reluctant princess, a single dad raising his teenage daughter alone, and a dead man who has a second chance at life.
None of those writers have direct experience with the sorts of lives their characters are living. But like all of us, they do know what it’s like to feel powerful, human emotions such as anger, happiness, despair, and love.
Emotions, especially in romantic fiction, are what drive the characters through the story. They help the reader invest in what is happening to these people.
It’s the part of “writing what you know” that works for me with any of my characters, male or female, gay or straight.
I’m not an expert on gay men, but I have learned a few other things that help when writing m/m erotic romance.
1) Focus on the character, not a label.
I strive to create men who do not adhere to one description of who gay men are, how they act, how they speak, what they like to do, drink, read, or watch on TV. I couldn’t sum up all gay men into one list of characteristics any more than I could all heterosexual men. I try to make my characters unique and real. To breathe life into them. Each man has specific experiences, families, friends, faults, strengths, hopes, and dreams that make him unique.

2) Draw from my own experiences and creativity, then research the rest.
With every erotic romance I write, I pull from a combination of life experiences, research, and creativity to get into the mindset of the characters, to correctly depict specific occupations, settings, and actions. A question I get asked a lot is how I know what I’m doing with the sex scenes. My own experiences and imagination help a lot. Research fills in the gaps. One thing I recommend to anyone who asks for tips on getting started writing the erotic elements in the m/m genre is to read personal sexual accounts or erotica written by men. And if you can, talk to men (both gay and straight) about their sex lives. Listen to the lingo, the descriptions, and what about the sex they focus on.

3) Don’t concentrate only on the actions of sex.
In erotic romance it’s essential to focus on the feelings of the characters, their need, lust, passion, and love. Even before the characters get to the falling-in-love stage, the sex can still be about what the point-of-view character is emotionally going through. Maybe he feels powerful in that moment, driven, on fire, alive. My male characters may not be good at talking about what they feel, or even identifying it. They may hide from their feelings. They may want to embrace them. In any case, they express those feelings in ways the readers can “see” because romantic fiction is very much about following the characters along on their emotional journeys.

4) Use what I love.
Loving men and the male body is something I have in common with my gay characters. When I’m writing from their perspectives, I focus on what moves me about men. Then I transfer that desire until it works for the character’s own preferences for the man he’s with. Digging deep into the character’s POV makes the scene more powerful than merely writing a series of actions (no matter how sexy those actions are).

5) Don’t worry about “getting it right.” Focus on making it powerful.
I’m beyond elated when I hear my stories have come across as authentic to some gay and bisexual men. I’m also certain there are gay men who would (or have) read my work and find that’s not true for them. As with any fiction, I’m never going to please all readers. Instead, I focus on being true to the characters as the men they are and making them real for the reader, making their story powerful.

***

What do you think about an author’s gender in terms of the main characters of any story? Do you want authors to have life experiences that coincide with the plot or characters they are writing about?

Amy Wilkins, Assistant Manager for Digital Content and Social Media for Harlequin gives you her 5 Top Tips for Writing a Compelling Book Blurb

***

One random commenter will win their preferred ebook format for Take Me Home, my upcoming m/m erotic romance. The winner will be sent the ebook on the book’s release day, December 13, 2011

Bio:
Sloan Parker has been writing and playing with fictional characters for years, but she finally found her true passion when she began telling stories about two men (or more) falling in love. Now she spends her writing life creating m/m erotic romances and romantic suspense. She loves to explore the lives of people who are growing as individuals while falling in love. Her novel MORE is the 2011 EPIC eBook Award Winner for Mystery, Suspense, and/or Adventure Erotic Romance and Winner of the 2010 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance.

You can visit Sloan at her website: www.sloanparker.com,  on Facebook and Twitter.

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79 Responses to “Sloan Parker – Write What You Know: A Woman Writing M/M Romance”

  1. Wonderful article, Sloan!

    Posted by Ellis Carrington | November 21, 2011, 5:09 am
  2. Sloan- Thank you so much for agreeing to my guest today. Excellent post!

    How do you come up with your ideas from our books? Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you write when the muse hits?

    Robin

    Posted by Robin Covington | November 21, 2011, 5:30 am
    • Robin, thank you so much for that lovely introduction. I’m touched and honored More was your introduction into m/m and that you think so highly of my writing. There’s no better compliment than to hear you immediately re-read it. Thank you again for inviting me to share today.

      I get ideas for stories from lots of places and at any time. From music, TV, people watching, real-life situations, articles, dreams, you name it. Two places where the best ideas pop into my head are the shower and the car. Something about water and driving just frees up my imagination and I start daydreaming. I’m at the point in my career where I try to write every day, whether the muse is playing along or not. It helps that I have a detailed outline for every story. Sometimes life and other commitments get in the way of that schedule, but even then, I do something for the business of writing every day.

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 9:55 am
  3. Hi Sloan,

    Welcome to RU!

    When writing M/M romance, who do you feel is your main audience? Men or women?

    Thanks for the great insight!

    Tracey

    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | November 21, 2011, 5:37 am
    • Thanks, Tracey. Great question. When I’m writing, I mainly focus on creating the kind of story I’d like to read, which means I’m trying to write for readers who enjoy emotional, dramatic storylines with in-depth characterizations, explicit sexual content, intensely romantic moments, and a happy ending. From the comments I’ve received and have seen online, there are readers of both genders who are looking for that type of story. However, m/m romance has a different “feel” to it than gay fiction or gay love stories. There are more female readers of this type of romantic fiction in general, so even within the m/m romance market, my experience and understanding is that the percentage of female readers is higher than male readers (although I have no hard numbers to back that up).

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 10:12 am
  4. Hi Sloan,

    Imagine if writers only wrote what they knew first hand? No more paranormal or historical or murder mysteries. The imagination and creativity of the author are the keys. Just have to know when and how to turn them.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | November 21, 2011, 7:02 am
    • Hi Mary Jo. Great comment! No paranormal or historical or murder mysteries…wouldn’t that be a sad world for fiction? Drawing on my imagination and creativity in the ways I do when I’m writing is the best part of being an author.

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 10:14 am
  5. Hi Sloan!
    I’ll never forget the first m/m romance I read. I’d met K.A. Mitchell at a writer’s conference. She was so nice. So naturally I hopped online to buy the book she was pushing at the time – not really paying attention to the content. At first I was shocked. But her excellent writing pulled me into the story, and like you said, a romance is a romance. I can’t say I read m/m often…but I’m certainly open to it, and am now looking forward to reading one of your books!

    Posted by Wendy S. Marcus | November 21, 2011, 8:43 am
    • Hi Wendy. What a great story. You definitely started with a fantastic author. I adore K.A.’s work. She sets the standard for quality writing in the genre. It’s lovely to hear that more and more readers are open to trying out m/m romances, and I love hearing how readers have found their way to the genre. If you do get a chance to check out my work, I sure hope you enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 10:17 am
  6. If readers won’t read your stories because of your gender, they’re doing themselves a disservice. I’ve read your stuff and you get it right!!

    Posted by Cassandra Carr | November 21, 2011, 9:13 am
  7. What?!? You mean all the paranormal authors I love aren’t actually werewolves, vampires, zombies, witches, etc.? What a harsh lesson to learn on a Monday morning. :)

    Sloan, what a great post and really great advice for authors of any genre of romance.

    Posted by Avery Flynn | November 21, 2011, 9:25 am
  8. Very powerful blog, Sloan – written from the heart, just like you write your books.

    Posted by Adriana Kraft | November 21, 2011, 9:25 am
  9. Morning Sloan!

    I believe as an author – you can write what you know for sure, but also write with your imagination! Do you think most of your buyers are women? I’ve read that M/M is the hottest thing out there!

    Thanks for posting with us today!

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | November 21, 2011, 9:40 am
    • Hi, Carrie. You’re welcome. Thank so much you for having me on the site today.

      I receive comments from both men and women about my stories. Some of the most touching have been from bisexual and gay men who read Breathe and were moved by Jay’s story of finding love with a man for the first time, something they hoped to find for themselves. That said, I would guess the majority of my readers are female, since more females tend to read romantic fiction in the way I write it, but I’d also guess I have more male readers than the average romance author of heterosexual romances. Again, this is all based on what I know of the genre and my own experience from interacting with my readers.

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 10:42 am
  10. Sloan, you are so right in everything you’ve said in your article.

    You’re such a fab writer and wish you so much success, sweetie!

    Posted by Sharita Lira | November 21, 2011, 10:00 am
  11. You are so right, the author’s gender has no bearing on what he/she writes. Nor does his/her experiences. Did people ask Tolkien about his acquaintance with hobbits? Did anyone badger Frank Herbert Baum for the location of those sand worms? Did people harass L. Frank Baum about the munchkins? No, because it’s imagination, people, and it’s fun. If you enjoy what you read, what do you care who wrote it?

    Great blog!

    Posted by Julie Hayes | November 21, 2011, 10:11 am
    • Hi Julie. Thank you very much for the comment and the support!

      I will say, since I’m writing about fictional characters who are a part of what is a very real community of people, I do worry that I will offend individual gay men with my writing because that’s certainly not my intent. I want to write stories that celebrate the love between same-sex characters. As a member of the LGBT community, I want to see more and more stories that showcase positive imagery of LGBT people and the love we feel for each other. As I’m sure the majority of straight women and many of the authors I know who are writing m/m wish to do as well. I hope gay men who are offended by women writing in this genre will begin to see that and not judge us too harshly. I hope they will come to see authors of m/m romances as the allies most are.

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 10:59 am
      • Exactly! We write m/m because we love the genre and we love our gay men. I try to write about men who just happen to be gay, and to showcase all their attributes (and maybe some of the vices lol)

        I’d be curious to know how many gay men are truly offended, or are there just a few more vocal ones that say they are?

        If a man wrote m/m, I doubt these same naysayers would question the author’s sexuality, be he gay or straight, making assumptions that they can’t make about as because we’re women and obviously not gay men.

        Btw, if you’re interested, I’d love to have you guest on my blog some time!

        Posted by Julie Hayes | November 21, 2011, 11:09 am
        • Not sure, Julie, but it does make me sad to see there’s anger and harsh comments directed at the genre over the issue of who is writing it. Of course, you can’t please everyone, and all people are entitled to their opinion, especially in the world of fiction. I think the key is to focus on the fact that M/M romance has an ever-growing following of fantastic and enthusiastic readers. I truly hope those readers (and many more) continue to find quality, enjoyable fiction to keep them coming back to the genre.

          I’d love to do a guest spot. You can email me at sloanparker.author @ gmail. com anytime. Thanks!

          Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 12:33 pm
          • Hey do I get a cut since I set up the opportunity for this connection? ; )

            Posted by Robin Covington | November 21, 2011, 3:07 pm
  12. Hi Sloan – thanks for your great suggestions!

    I don’t think it should be an issue that you are a woman writing M/M romance (or even M/M/M!). Most romance writers have, at least occasionally, written from the male POV – both dialogue and hot scenes. It doesn’t seem that big a stretch to take it a step further.

    Do we, as writers, have to personally experience everything we write about? Well, let’s put it this way. If that were the case, I know an awful lot of mystery writers who’d be in big trouble!!

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | November 21, 2011, 10:11 am
    • You’re welcome, Becke. So true about the point of view. Romance writers have been telling stories for years from the male POV. Some can write in deep POV and really make you believe you’re in that guy’s head. Others struggle with that. The same thing applies to the POV of any character, male or female. It’s all about the writer’s skill to sell whatever POV they are writing in. To make us believe we are going on a journey with that character–whoever that character is. Maybe the writer has never had the experience of being dumped by their husband or losing a child or having their spouse cheat on them or having a near-death experience. It doesn’t mean they can’t imagine what that experience would be like. And it doesn’t mean they should skip writing a fictional story about such an experience if their muse has presented them with the idea.

      Thanks for commenting, Becke!

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 11:14 am
  13. Sloan –

    Welcome to RU!

    I’m curious about what inspired you to begin writing M/M. I enjoy reading M/M, but don’t know that I’d be convincing writing it.

    And how do men react when you begin asking them about their sex lives? Inquiring minds want to know!

    Thanks so much for being here today!
    Kelsey

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | November 21, 2011, 10:45 am
    • Thanks, Kelsey! I’m so excited to be here.

      I started reading ebooks and m/m romances several years ago when I stumbled upon a free chapter of a book online. I had been writing romantic suspense for years but had never gotten very far with any of my manuscripts and had never thought anything I had written was ready for submission. I loved stories about gay men and women (in movies and TV shows), but too often the stories weren’t the happily-ever-after kind I was looking for. When I stumbled upon that first m/m romance, I started writing my own and haven’t looked back since. My writing and characters came alive in ways it never had before. I think when writers find the kinds of stories that draw them to the computer and keep them awake at night with ideas, then they’ve found their true passion. If you love m/m, I’d say try writing your own and see how it works out for you. Ten years ago, I would have never dreamed I’d be writing erotic romance, let alone romances about men loving men.

      As for the sex, I’ve honestly only had the nerve to talk with men who already shared personal info with me or who know what I write, and others who are also writers. They are the kinds of guys I knew beforehand would be open with me. If you explain that you’re researching something for your book, many non-writers are enamored with the idea of helping an author get something right for their story. For the sex, though, it can be easier to remain anonymous and read a variety of personal accounts rather than walk up to a guy you know and ask about his orgasms. *g*

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 11:44 am
  14. Great post, Sloan. You know I love you and your books and now I love your comments about writing too. Totally agree that you don’t have to be anything that you write, as long as you do some research and write it well.
    xo

    Posted by K-lee Klein | November 21, 2011, 12:58 pm
    • Thank you, K-lee, for your comments about the post and the kind words about my writing.

      Very true about good writing. I follow authors who can tell a story convincingly and as realistic as possible, while still remembering that they are writing romantic fiction, which is part fantasy, after all.

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 6:20 pm
  15. As a woman who enjoys reading and writing M/M romance, this interview was helpful and spot- on! Thanks for your intelligent, thoughtful, and sexy take on erotic romances.

    Posted by Nicole | November 21, 2011, 1:23 pm
  16. Great post, Sloan. I love your books. The most important thing for me is for the characters to feel real, and you manage that admirably. Can’t wait for your next release!

    Posted by Sasha | November 21, 2011, 1:24 pm
    • Aw, thanks, Sasha. It’s so nice to hear you find my characters real. I do try to build believable characters readers can fall in love with. Or at least that I fall in love with and then hope others will do the same. I hope you enjoy Take Me Home if you get a chance to check it out.

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 6:36 pm
  17. Wonderful post, Sloan. I have to agree with what was mentioned above, anyone who passes on your books because of gender is seriously missing out. I’ve read Breathe three times now and it gets better every time. So looking forward to Take Me Home! :-)

    Posted by L.C. Chase | November 21, 2011, 1:31 pm
    • Hi LC. Wow…thank you for saying that! I’m honored you’ve read Breathe more than once. I wasn’t sure if that story was going to be the kind of thing anyone would want to read again, so it’s really nice to hear that you enjoyed it enough to do so. Thanks for letting me know!

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 6:47 pm
  18. I loved this post. I really LOVED your answer. I found that I like better M/M romances written by women. I’ve tried both and I found it was easier for me when the author was a woman. Maybe it was just pure chance, but in my short experience as an M/M reader I found I could relate more easily with books written by women. I think it’s just because women writers know what women readers want/like better.Maybe? I feel like the right ‘target audience’ Or better said I don’t want to feel like I’m NOT the targeted audience ;)
    I had a hard time reading a gay romance written by a man. I kept thinking ‘should I know that?’ ‘is that so?’ Turned my pleasure reading into a scientific lesson. LOL Again like I said maybe it was just that particular book/author that didn’t work for me.
    So I don’t really care if the writer is a man or a woman as long as I don’t feel left out or not the intended audience

    I really don’t need the author to have real life experiences of what she/he’s talking about. Even more when it comes to sex scenes. I mean I just don’t wanna know that! LOL (I’ve been traumatized by an author who talked way too much of her own sex life *I was creeped out!*)

    Anyway. I cannot wait for Take Me Home!!!

    Posted by Anonymous | November 21, 2011, 1:46 pm
    • *headpalm* I forgot to log in before leaving my comment.

      Caroline.

      Posted by caroline A./ pattepoilue | November 21, 2011, 1:48 pm
    • Thanks, Caroline! Oh man, too much information can be a bad thing when you just want to get lost in the fantasy of the story and the characters. I think you’re right in that the kind of story they are writing and what sort of reader they are writing it for does matter. For me, I love romantic stories with likeable characters. I’ve read some female-written books that just weren’t romantic enough and didn’t work for me and some male-written ones that were fantastic. I would definitely recommend you give another m/m story written by a male author a try. You might find an author whose style of telling a story works for you. Have you tried anything by Ethan Day?

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 7:03 pm
      • Oh actually I do have an Ethan Day book! I think I’ll bump it up my TBR list!*g* I do love very romantic stories. =)

        Posted by caroline A./ pattepoilue | November 22, 2011, 10:39 am
        • Ethan’s a good choice to try. He does humor so well. That man just cracks me up.

          Another gay male author you could try is Damon Suede. I’m not sure how romantic Hot Head is since I haven’t read it yet but maybe Damon can chime in and let you know. I’ve heard such great things about it and it’s in the top 10 finals for Romance books at the Goodreads reader choice awards. And that’s ALL romances, not just m/m so definitely a well-liked story all around.

          Posted by Sloan Parker | November 22, 2011, 10:59 am
  19. Hi Sloan!

    I don’t think an author’s gender matters as long as their voice fits the genre.

    Some of my experiences find their way into the manuscript, but only if it fits the character.

    During the “pulp” fiction era in the late fifties and early sixties when mass market paperbacks were considered low brow, there were male authors writing lesbian love stories. Not sure if they were writing from experience, but to get past the censors, the heroine was saved by the love of a good man. Boy, times have changed!

    Thanks for being with us!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | November 21, 2011, 2:12 pm
    • Jen –

      That kind of thing makes me wonder if I should laugh or cry about it…

      K-

      Posted by Kelsey Browning | November 21, 2011, 5:28 pm
    • Hi Jennifer. That’s such a good point about the voice fitting the genre. Which I think goes along with reader expectations that Caroline was talking about in her comment above. I know that when I want to read an m/m romance, I am often looking for a strong voice and writing style with a romantic storyline, and when I find an author that can consistently deliver, they are on my auto-buy list, no matter the author’s gender. That’s sad about the lesbian love stories. Definitely glad times have changed!

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 7:15 pm
  20. What a wonderful post! I definitely agree – part of what makes writing so wonderful is the free reign we give to our imagination. I think passing up a book just because you don’t like the author’s gender is terrible; great authors, after all, come in all genders and orientations. What matters is the craft. Not the private life of the one doing the crafting. :)

    Posted by Beatrice | November 21, 2011, 2:30 pm
  21. Sloan – I know that some of our readers are not familiar with the M/M romance genre.

    If you don’t mind, other than your own fabulous books, what are some of the good M/M romance books you would recommend?

    Posted by Robin Covington | November 21, 2011, 3:09 pm
    • I’d love to share, Robin. Let’s see, here are some of the m/m romances I’ve enjoyed over the past few years (although I’m sure I’ll think of a ton later I’d wished I had included): the Adrien English Mysteries by Josh Lanyon, Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels, Knowing Caleb by Cameron Dane, the PsyCop series by Jordan Castillo Price, Ransom by Lee Rowan, Mexican Heat by Laura Baumbach and Josh Lanyon, Self Preservation by Ethan Day, Edward Unconditionally by Lynn Lorenz, Bound by Deception and the sequels by Ava March, As You Are by Ethan Day, Dangerous Ground by Josh Lanyon, The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks by Josh Lanyon, A Note In The Margin by Isabelle Rowan, 911 by Chris Owen, The Tin Star by JL Langley, The Englor Affair by JL Langley, Regularly Scheduled Life by K A Mitchell, Collision Course by K A Mitchell, Promises by Marie Sexton, Amor Prohibido by Ellis Carrington, Without Reservations by JL Langley. Oh man, I could keep going, but I’ll stop now.

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 9:21 pm
  22. Wonderful post Sloan and I love your tips! Like some others have mentioned, you were my intro to M/M. Breathe continues to haunt me :)

    I’ve never bought a book based on an author’s gender. The book’s genre…yes. As long as the author’s voice works for the genre, I’m good.

    I’ve always taken the adage “write what you know” from the emotional standpoint. We’ve all loved, hurt, suffered loss, experienced joy, etc. Perhaps the situation is different but the feelings aren’t.

    And I second Robin’s request, what other M/M romance books do you recommend?

    Posted by Raelyn Barclay | November 21, 2011, 3:55 pm
    • Hi Raelyn. Great comment about the emotional standpoint of “write what you know.” Sorry if you already told me, but I didn’t realize one of my stories was your first m/m read. I’m so honored. I hope you’ve found more books in the genre you enjoy. I responded to Robin’s post above with a sampling of my recommendations. I hope there’s something there you can check out. Thanks for the comment.

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 9:24 pm
  23. Great article Sloan…. Really looking forward to your new release… I have breathe on my ereader ready to go after barging in :-D

    Sarah S

    Sarahs7836(at)gmail(dot)com

    Posted by Sarah S | November 21, 2011, 6:05 pm
  24. And you write it so brilliantly too. Great insight into writing I just love to read it.

    Posted by Cynthia | November 21, 2011, 6:29 pm
  25. Great post! I have no issue with gender of an author, no matter what they’re writing. I’ll give a good-sounding story a try. It’s the characters, voice, emotion, and plot that keep me reading.

    If I had to rely upon personal experience to write some of my stories, I’d need to begin a life of crime :)

    Congrats on the release!

    Posted by Cathy Pegau | November 21, 2011, 6:34 pm
    • Thanks so much, Cathy. I sure hope you don’t head out for that life-of-crime experience any time soon. Don’t you love where your imagination can lead you with your writing? It’s such a great feeling to take a blank page/screen and fill it with characters and their story from just your own mind.

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 9:28 pm
  26. Sloan, this is a great article and you know I already love your work. It’s never been the gender of the author for me if I enjoy the authors work I will continue to go back and buy their books. I just love to read period and I’m so glad I have so much to choose from. Congrats on the new book coming out.

    Posted by Leaundra Ross | November 21, 2011, 7:09 pm
  27. I haven’t read any of your books yet. I am relatively new to m/m and still finding so many gems out there I did download a sample of Breath recently because the blurb caught my attention. Color me hooked! Can’t wait to get a chance to read it :)

    I think women do romance best. it is just the way we are hardwired. And I agree, it doesn’t matter the species or sex of the character. Love is love and sex is sex. A talented writer can make it real!

    Posted by SharonS | November 21, 2011, 7:11 pm
  28. Yay! So glad you’ve found the m/m genre, Sharon. Thanks for checking out Breathe. I hope you enjoy the rest if you get a chance to read it. I had such a great experience writing that story.

    Posted by Sloan Parker | November 21, 2011, 9:58 pm
  29. Sloan – thanks so much for being an amazing guest and a fantastic author!

    Everyone – thank you for loads of wonderful comments and questions!

    And the winner is . . . .Raelyn Barclay!

    email me at robincovingtonromance@yahoo.com and I’ll hook you up with Sloan.

    Posted by Robin Covington | November 22, 2011, 5:36 am
    • Robin, thank you again to you and Romance University for having me. And thanks to all who stopped by for the wonderful comments and the all the support for female writers of m/m romances. You all rock!

      Congratulations, Raelyn! I hope you enjoy reading my friends-to-lovers story Take Me Home.

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 22, 2011, 10:36 am
  30. Totally agree! No wonder you’re one of my favorite authors, Ms. P. A marvelous post!!

    Posted by Damon Suede | November 22, 2011, 7:13 am
    • Thanks so much, Damon. That’s so nice of you to say. Congratulations to you on Hot Head making it into the top 10 finals at the Goodreads Choice Awards!! So fantastic. I’m late to the party but I picked it up a few weeks ago and it’s burning a hole in my kindle. Can’t wait to read it. Good luck with the final round of voting!

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 22, 2011, 10:43 am
  31. Great article, Sloan. You know how much I love your stories, and even though you and I have discussed this before, it’s interesting to me to hear about your process.

    Posted by Constance Phillips | November 22, 2011, 8:55 am
  32. Some great points here that all make such good sense.Thanks Sloan

    Posted by Madeleine | November 22, 2011, 10:13 am
  33. Isn’t it about time that the idea of women writing M/M is got over? It’s no big deal, it never has been. It’s boring and pointless to string it out and out and out. Writers write what they want to write, they write what grabs their interest. Gender doesn’t come into it. As a writer you cannot be confined by gender or experience, you have to stretch into places beyond that. So many female writers of gay fic feel a need to justify what they do, screw it, just do it. Statements like “Loving men and the male body is something I have in common with my gay characters” annoy me no end, it’s bloody patronising and makes you sound like you’re sucking up. Write gay fic if that’s what you want to write and don’t feel a need to explain it.

    Posted by lizabeth | November 22, 2011, 5:15 pm
    • Hi Lizabeth. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I agree, no one should feel they need to defend what they’re writing. I hate to think there are writers who feel uncomfortable embracing whatever topic they wish to write about or writers who have to hide what they write from the people in their lives. I’m sure we’ve all heard about writers of het erotic romance having issues with their employers or fellow community members, such as Judy Mays. It’s all very sad.

      You don’t know me, but I’m not someone who feels the need to defend what I write and I certainly didn’t intend this post to sound patronizing. I’m extremely proud of what I’ve accomplished. But I could see how you might take this post that way. I was asked to talk about this subject and so I did so. Not in an effort to defend, but to discuss what may very well be something we don’t need to discuss any longer as you said, but I do get asked the question. I was probably asked about it more a year or so ago than now. The majority of people who ask are not looking for me to justify. They are seriously curious. They may not have ever heard of the m/m genre or woman writing m/m and want to know how and why I do what I do. I truly believe the majority of m/m romance readers (who are actively reading in the genre) feel the way the people who’ve commented here do, and I believe we are going to see more and more readers from the larger romance community giving m/m a try. That’s a fantastic sign of how far we’ve come in a lot of ways.

      Posted by Sloan Parker | November 23, 2011, 10:17 am
  34. Wonderful article ! All I can say is that if some people disregard your work because you’re a woman, they don’t know what they’re missing ! I’m looking forward to your next release !
    Finding you and your work was a random act of chance for me, but you brought the genre to a whole new level and I’ve read all I could lay my hand on more than once :-)

    Posted by Styve | November 23, 2011, 2:58 pm
  35. It’s not that women “shouldn’t” write M/M, it’s that women who write ONLY M/M obviously and undeniably do so from a place that fetishizes and co-opts gay men.

    Think about this situation…
    You have a white author who ONLY writes books about being black, the black experience, black people having sex with other black people. That and that alone is ALL they write.

    At some point, people are going to give them the side-eye. Not only can the author not speak with authority or legitimacy, but the privilege the author is exercising in exploiting the black identity would be taken as a slap in the face. No matter how well intended, the same exact thing is true for women who only write M/M.

    But, not only is it exploitative and problematic, it ends up not being realistic or convincing. (Which is probably why M/M written women is generally consumed by other women.) It’s akin to having gay porn directed by a straight women (and yes, there is some out there). Gay men by FAR dislike and shrug off the porn – because it is just bad. Bad bad bad. It is some straight woman’s idea as to what gay sex is or isn’t and while that might appeal to other straight women, it is laughable to gay men.

    Again, replace “gay” with “black.” Replace the gay identity with another. Why is it ok for self-proclaimed straight women to repeatedly co-opt and lay claim to a gay man’s identity when if they did it to any OTHER identity, it would be frowned upon. I mean, come on, some white woman writing about the black experience again and again and again. Especially about something as intimate as their sex lives?

    Yeah, wouldn’t happen. Wouldn’t be accepted.

    The question isn’t why do women write M/M but rather why do women feel they have the right?

    It’s called being privileged and not owning up to it. It’s called being exploitative but finding a way to excuse it. It doesn’t matter how good the intentions, it’s wrong, and if we were talking about any other identity people would NOT put up with it.

    Posted by Tommy T | May 21, 2013, 9:27 pm
    • Hello,

      I am Gay (and French) and I have never read any M/M books written by women. I have read many books by Joseph Hansen and I can really relate to his writing.

      I totally agree with the comment of Tommy T. Using the example of writing ONLY about the Black community when being White..ditto about writing only about the Jewish and/or Muslim Community when being Christian.

      The issue is not here only about the gender but about the sexual orientation. What would you say if a male author would write only about Lesbians and their sexual life? Maybe you would say and think that this man is just projecting his own sexual fantasy..and that would make sense to me.

      I would like to remind you of the great French novel “Histoire d’O”…written by a woman (had the man written the story, the impact would certainly have been different and looked down on.

      I just came upon this M/M genre as 2 books written by Patricia Logan have just been published in French and I made some research, realizing that this author is exploiting this “so called niche” hence I will not buy any of her books being Gay myself (I still wonder if many Gay guys read her books..?!)

      Homophobia is terrible and sad…on the other hand, loving “too much and in inappropriate way” the Gays is called in French “Homophilie”, it can also be a trap in which Gay guys are nevertheless stigmatized (having to fit in the mould created by straight people, i.e. Gays have so much taste! Why are the most handsome Men Gay? etc.)

      Posted by Patrick | February 9, 2014, 8:18 am

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