We all know what an amazing time this is to be an author. Endless opportunities, numerous options . . . it is all good. Geoff Knight and Ethan Day are embracing this time for change and stepping out in a new venture: Wilde City Press. I invited Geoff here to tell us why he decided to step out and embrace the possibility.
Making History Now… One Gay Romance at a Time
How often do we say to ourselves that generations from now, people will look back in shock and dismay that once upon a time gay rights weren’t equal rights? They’ll wonder why things were not balanced or fair or safe for some, why people were treated as second class citizens just because of their sexual orientation, and why so many of us—on both sides of the debate—got so angry. Which is probably why so many of us love gay romance. Because when it comes to the struggles of finding yourself and overcoming adversary, every romance novel has its hero or heroes, and every ending is a happy one.
Some call it escapism. Some frown upon it and think we’re running away from our problems and hiding in the pages of fiction. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Yes, reading gay romance may be something we love to do—a treat, a relaxing break, a guilty pleasure—but it’s more than simply escapism. In fact, it’s the opposite, because reading gay romance is slowly but surely turning our world into the kind of world we want to read about. We are slowly but surely doing our part to turn fiction into reality. More and more Happily Ever Afters are becoming real around the world and gay romance is helping to do it. We are making history now, just because of the books we love to read and write. That’s a big statement, I know, so allow me to elaborate.
I did not begin my novel-writing career in the romance genre. I started in the world of gay adventure. I wrote several Indiana Jones-style stories where the lead characters were unstoppable, seemingly indestructible… and gay. After all, gay men are just as heroic and capable and brave as heterosexual men, some might say even moreso given the courage often needed to overcome the discrimination and hurt that is sometimes a sad reality of the world we live in. But as I started writing different genres, I was introduced to the world of m/m romance. I was immediately surprised (and happily so) by several things, mainly how many m/m fans were out there, and moreso because of the fact that the vasy majority of m/m readers were straight females.
It was something that prompted me last year to put together a non-fiction book titled Why Straight Women Love Gay Romance, edited by Kris Jacen and published through MLR Press. I interviewed 32 women from 9 countries and 4 continents (the United States, mainland China and Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Iceland, England and Ireland) who were avid m/m romance readers. I asked them how they became fans, why they read it, who knows they read gay male romance and who doesn’t, have they themselves been discriminated against because of what they choose to read, do their straight male partners know, has it changed their sex life, and so on. The responses were varied and fascinating, especially taking into account the differing cultural and social environments in which these women live. Many people who already read m/m romance asked why I felt the need to write such a book; I read comments on blogs saying ‘this question has been asked a thousand times before, don’t we already know the answer?’ Perhaps within the industry we do… that many readers of romance wanted something new and different to read that still fell under the guidelines and structure of a romance story. But the point is, I didn’t write the book for people within the industry. I wrote it for people who had no idea gay romance existed. I wrote it for people who might like to dip their toes into what was previously deemed forbidden waters. I wrote it for readers who might have thought they were strange reading m/m, unaware that there were so many others like them out there (I received MANY letters from readers thanking me for letting them know they weren’t alone).
But the real surprise for me in putting this book together was the realisation that these women were changing the world, in their own small ways, because of what they enjoyed reading. Many of these women had never personally known a gay man in their lives, they had no first-hand contact with gay life or culture, and yet suddenly—because of their attachment to the gay characters in their favorite books—these women were reprimanding their husbands for the occasional homophobic slur. They were teaching their kids to treat gay people with respect. These soccer moms and housewives and single parents were suddenly joining PFLAG groups and attending rallies and marching in Gay Pride parades. They were spreading tolerance and acceptance and speaking out for equality, something that had never really crossed their minds before. They were surprising their friends and families. They were taking their love of gay romance novels and turning it into something good, something powerful, something very, very real.
These women are making history, right now!
As a result of this amazing movement—this army of straight women fighting for equal rights—the optimist, the idealist, that crazy, exciteable kid inside me now believes there can never be enough gay romance in the world today. This is why fellow author Ethan Day and I decided to form Wilde City Press, a publishing company dedicated to not just gay male romance, but all gay male fiction. We want to encourage fans of mainstream gay fiction to discover the world of gay romance… likewise we see the potential of fans of gay romance delving into other genres focusing on the loves and triumphs of gay men. We truly believe that the more gay romance—and gay fiction in general—there is written and read in the world, the more the world is likely to become a place where everyone is equal…
… a place where each of us deserves our Happily Ever After.
Hey – you’ve got a brand new publisher here to answer questions . . . go for it!
Author Dee J. Adams talks bout perseverance on Friday.
Welcome to Wilde City, a metropolis of male fiction brimming with the best in Gay Male Romance, Gay Male Erotica and Gay Male Mainstream books; a place inhabited by the most talented writers in the industry whose page-turning tales will make you laugh, cry and beg for more!
From stories of romance and desire, to thrills and spills, you’ll experience all the fun and fantasy, all the suspense and steaminess, of a city that only sleeps when you do.
You’ll find stories of Gay Romance on just about every corner of Wilde City. Look out for those lingering gazes between strangers as they pass by on the Boulevard of Hopeless Romantics, or book a table at Wilde City’s Gay Rainbow Room and watch someone’s fingers brush against the hand of a man longing to be kissed. Yes, in a city this big, romance is everywhere.
But many other gay worlds exist within Wilde City. Walk through the cobblestone alleys of the Old Docklands and you’re sure to stumble across something that will chill you to the bone. Venture through the haunted mansions of the old Parisian Quarter and you might catch a glimpse of a handsome ghost, or powerful werewolf, or a vampire hungry for your blood. Or perhaps you’d prefer a laugh with the gay characters you’ll meet on Vaudeville Avenue as they bumble their way through life looking for Mr. Right… or Mr. Right Now! Or buy yourself a ticket to gay adventure atop Wilde City’s Empire Tower and board the Wilde World Airship for an action-packed trip of a lifetime!
Then again, if you’ve come to Wilde City for action of a different kind, welcome to a city teeming with Gay Erotica. You’ll find sex in almost every back alley and respectable dive in Wilde City’s notoriously naughty Pink Light District. Or for something that’s sure to turn you on, visit Mr. Charlie Harding’s exclusive black-label sex soiree, ‘Charlie Harding Presents’… because why not get the best in Gay Erotica from the Expert!
It’s time to go Wilde… this City is calling!
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