Posted On May 15, 2013 by Print This Post

Making History with Geoff Knight

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
Geoffrey Knight

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Geoff Knight and Ethan Day

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.

SelfPreservation_bk_cvr 2Yes, 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 bookStraightWomenCoverfinal 2 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).

ABettingMan_SGDBut 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 forThePearl_cvr 2 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.

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Bio:

WildeCityPress_logoWelcome 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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18 Responses to “Making History with Geoff Knight”

  1. I love hearing this story, Geoff! You and Ethan are both amazing guys and I’m lucky to know you both!! Can’t wait to see Wilde City’s success!

    Posted by Poppy Dennison | May 15, 2013, 5:47 am
  2. Awesome interview Geoffrey! So excited about this new endeavour of yours. I’m sure you & Ethan will succeed & do great things. As a voracious reader, I’m happy there’s a new publisher out there. Best wishes to you & your team! I’m happy to see gay fiction & gay romance becoming more mainstream, available & wonderfully acceptable! The fans & coverage at the Romantic Times Magazine Conference proves that.

    Posted by Mary G | May 15, 2013, 6:08 am
  3. Hi Geoff,

    I love the fact that women reading books changes the world. Good luck with Wilde City.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | May 15, 2013, 6:26 am
  4. Morning Geoff…

    Women changing the world….=) Gotta love that!

    Best of luck with your publishing company!

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | May 15, 2013, 8:58 am
  5. Geoff – Thanks you so much for being here with use today.

    I wonder where you hope to be in a year with Wilde City Press?

    And . . . how did you come up with the name . . . i think I know but . . .

    Robin

    Posted by Robin Covington | May 15, 2013, 1:26 pm
    • Hey Robin, thanks so much for having me here today. Hopefully in a year’s time we’ll still be publishing some of the best gay fiction on the planet (I think we’re lucky to have started doing that already, thanks to our amazing authors!) As for the name, wow that was a real rollercoaster ride. Finding a name that the trademarks office would approve was SOOOO difficult. We went through dozens of options after quickly realizing it had to be unique (to be get approved) but still something simple enough for people to remember. We eventually got to a stage where we made a list of gay iconic people and characters (everything from mythical to modern) and then we decided we wanted to build a destination for people to come. And so Wilde (as in Oscar) and City came together! And thankfully the trademarks office liked it too LOL :)

      Posted by Geoffrey Knight | May 15, 2013, 5:10 pm
  6. Hi Geoff,

    Forty or so years ago, the majority of lesbian romances were written by men. In order to get past the censors, the wayward heroine always came to her senses and found love with a man. I’m happy to see that the HEA has evolved and the readership for gay romances continues to grow. Best of luck on your new venture!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | May 15, 2013, 6:30 pm
  7. Thanks for a fascinating post, Geoff! It’s hard to remember that not so long ago any kind of erotic romance was considered somewhat shocking, and the idea of gay romance being practically mainstream would have been inconceivable when I was young. I’m so glad things have changed. I hope books like these make it easier for people who are afraid to come out of the closet.

    Congratulations on coming up with a name that is both memorable and iconic. Best of luck with this venture!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | May 15, 2013, 8:02 pm
    • Thanks for the kind words, Becke! And you make a great point about gay fiction hopefully making it easier for young people to come out. I think every little step in art or entertainment (or even politics) that features gay life or gay characters makes that difficult step a tiny bit easier. It gives hope. Suzanne Brockmann wrote a wonderful introduction to my book Straight Women which she titled “Re-defining Normal”. When we all finally realise that being gay is as normal as anything else in life, then nobody will ever have to come out of the closet again. Won’t that be amazing!

      Posted by Geoffrey Knight | May 15, 2013, 8:33 pm
      • I love Suzanne Brockmann’s books and I love the way she has paved a path for so many other writers. I know so many gay kids who had a rough time, and now they are hopefully finding people more accepting. I think fiction is impacting real life in a big way.

        Posted by Becke Martin Davis | May 15, 2013, 10:03 pm

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