Posted On August 3, 2016 by Print This Post

#AwkwardNotAwkward: Why I Couldn’t Wait to Write a Gay Sex Scene with my Gay Son by Ed Gaffney and Jason T. Gaffney

It’s always fun when the Brockmann-Gaffney family comes to visit! Ed and Suzanne, Jason and Melanie have created a literary and performing arts dynasty. Together and individually, they have brought us books, plays and movies.  I never know what to expect when they step outside the box, but I’m always glad I came along for the ride. Ed and Jason join us today, and Melanie will be here on Friday. 

Although many of you might not know me, it’s likely that you have heard of my wife, New York Times Bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann. Suz and I have two adult kids: Melanie, who is a personal trainer down in Sarasota, Florida, and Jason, an actor/writer/producer, living in Los Angeles. Jace happens to be gay.
For many years, Suz and I have collaborated with Jason on a variety of projects, including an off-Broadway play named Looking for Billy Haines, and a couple of movies — The Perfect Wedding, a gay romantic comedy available on Netflix (which the three of us co-wrote and co-produced) and Russian Doll, a lesbian thriller (which the three of us co-produced, currently in post-production). Jace acted in all three.

Several months ago, Jason asked me if I’d be interested in writing a series of gay romantic comedy novellas. He had done some research, and he thought that there was a place for our story-telling voice in that market. I enthusiastically said yes.

When Suz heard about the idea, she loved it, and volunteered to create a publishing line for it (Suzanne Brockmann Presents). Very soon thereafter, we began working on Creating Clark, Book 1 of our California Comedy series of LGBTQ novellas.

Jason and Ed HRC shirts

Our process was this: Jace came up with a broad overview of a story and the two heroes. Next, Jace and I sketched out an outline for the book. Then, Jason began to write the first draft, and at the end of every day, he’d send to me that day’s output. My job was to polish what he’d written.

After we’d been working on the book for about a week, Suz came up to me and said, “You know, when you finish the book, if you do any interviews to promote it, you’d better be ready, because the first question everyone is going to ask is, What was it like to write a gay sex scene with your son?

I took Suz’s warning very seriously — she’d had tons of experience promoting over fifty novels. And because they were romance novels, Suz had faced the following oh so respectful, endlessly original, and always hilarious interview question over and over and over again: How do you do the research for your sex scenes?

So she knew that if Jace and I did any promotion, some bloggers were going to want to talk about something controversial – or better yet, scandalous. (Full disclosure: the topic for this blog was my idea, not Becke’s!) Something that would grab their readers’ attention, whether it was actually important or not. And what could be more controversial or scandalous than a straight man writing a gay love scene with his gay son?

Interestingly, when Suz gave me the warning, Jace and I hadn’t actually reached the part of the story where the heroes have sex, so I couldn’t answer the question, even if I’d wanted to. But it stayed in the back of my mind as we moved through the book. Not because I was worried about it, but because something about it was bugging me. Something more than the usual disrespect aimed at the romance genre.

And then shortly before Jace and I wrote the first love scene in the book, I realized that it was the assumption behind the question that was bothering me. In order for the question What was it like to write a gay love scene with your gay son? to be scandalous, two other things had to be scandalous: communication between a straight man and his gay son, and gay sex itself.

And I reject both propositions. Confidently and proudly. There’s nothing wrong in any way with intelligent communication about sex between mature individuals, especially between a father and a son. And if the topic happens to be gay sex, that doesn’t change things in the least.

Sure, American society and culture teaches us that sex is something private. I was raised in this society and culture, and the private nature of sex is very much a part of my worldview. But I believe that what has happened is that many people have wrongly conflated private with shameful, and so books with sex scenes somehow make the writers (and readers) of such stories targets of humiliation. Hence, the never-ending fascination with how romance writers “do their research.” Yuk yuk yuk.

But when you add homosexuality into the equation, then you’ve got a whole new ballgame, so to speak. Because despite the recent advances that our country has made with respect to equal marriage rights, homophobia is still alive and very dangerous in our world. And one of its poisonous tentacles is the implication that heterosexual sex is “normal,” and homosexual sex is, well, fill in the blank with your favorite negative word/phrase. (Mine is an abomination. So righteous, and yet so bouncy.)

So when I read through Jason’s first draft of the love scene between Clark and Hunter, the two heroes of Creating Clark, I was proud and excited to get to work.

Not because I knew anything about gay sex – I left those details up to Jace. (Spoiler alert – erections are everywhere!) I was eager to write the love scene because it was a chance for Jace and me to put our little story up there with other fictional works in which things like gay sex were portrayed just as they are in real life.

And for me, that’s one of the real privileges of being a part of a creative team. Whenever anyone tells a story, they have an opportunity to present some aspect of the world in a way that it isn’t, but should be. Or, they can show us the truth about something ignored or misunderstood. (I’m thinking about things like the first interracial kiss on television in the original Star Trek series, or several years before Barack Obama, when an African American was portrayed as the U.S. President in the television series 24.)

And because I was writing the book with Jace, the fact that it included a gay sex scene gave me an extra bonus. It was one more opportunity for me, as his dad, to communicate to him – albeit indirectly — that I firmly believe all parts of his life, including sex, are to be celebrated, not shamed or denigrated.

(I’ve been concerned about being a good father to Jace for years. I wrote about it recently for The Huffington Post in this blog.)

So to anyone looking for a controversy or a scandal in the story of the straight dad co-writing an m/m sex scene with his gay son, I am sorry to disappoint you. What was it like for me to write it? It made me feel educated. It made me feel happy. It made me feel proud.

And it made me wonder when the world is going to realize that sex between two consenting adults, gay or straight, is neither controversial nor scandalous. It is human.

***

What is one of your favorite fictional stories (book, play, TV show or movie) that contains an aspect of the world as it should be, or that helped explain an aspect of the world that had been ignored or misunderstood?

Join us on Friday as we continue our Brockmann-Gaffney Get Together. Melanie Brockmann Gaffney will be our guest blogger on August 5.

***

Bio:

Jason T Gaffney Headshot 6

Jason T. Gaffney is waiting for the sound of the Tardis to ring out, calling him and his husband Matt to travel through space and time. Until then, he enjoys storytelling. This comes naturally to him as the son of New York Times bestseller Suzanne Brockmann and Edgar Award nominated author Ed Gaffney (who is now Jason’s writing partner). Even Jason’s sister, Melanie Brockmann, has penned several books. (This family, right?)

Jason began his storytelling journey as an actor, when he realized—at age seven—that being on stage gives you the best seat in the house. Since then, he hasn’t looked back. He recently expanded his acting playground by turning to film, where he co-wrote and starred in the award-winning LGBTQ feature-length movie, The Perfect Wedding, a sweet boy-meets-boy rom-com. Watch for his appearance in the LGBTQ thriller, Russian Doll.

Recognizing that he hit the jackpot with his equality-minded family, Jason hopes to change the world so that no LGBTQ kid ever needs to fear coming out or loving the person they love. He decided the best way to help make change happen was to write stories set in a world where LGBTQ people are not only accepted but respected, valued, and loved. He plans to keep acting and writing and trying to make the world smile for millennia to come.

Find Jason on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/JasonTGaffney, follow him on Twitter @JasonTGaffney, and visit his website at www.JasonTGaffney.com to find out more about upcoming releases and appearances.

Ed HRC

Before he began his career as a writer, Ed Gaffney spent the better part of two decades working as a (secretly hilarious) lawyer, most often as a court-appointed, criminal appeals attorney. Thanks to the help and support of his wife, New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann, Ed began writing critically acclaimed legal thrillers (his latest, Enemy Combatant, was nominated for an EDGAR Award). He then turned exclusively to collaboration with family members, and has since co-produced and co-written with Suz (and occasionally with their son, Jason T. Gaffney) the stage play Looking for Billy Haines, which ran off-Broadway for 10 weeks in 2010, the award-winning LGBT romantic comedy The Perfect Wedding, and the lesbian thriller, Russian Doll, which Ed also directed.
Most recently, Ed has been working with Jace on his California Comedy series of LGBTQ romantic comedy novellas. He especially loves the comedy in romantic comedies, and the equality in writing books where love is love, and love always wins.

A long-time LGBTQ-rights activist and ally, Ed served on the board of MassEquality, the organization that helped win marriage rights in his home state of Massachusetts.

Follow Ed on Twitter @EdGaffney2 and visit his website at www.Edgaffney.com to find out more about upcoming releases and appearances.

Creating Clark: Suzanne Brockmann Presents: A California Comedy #1

by Jason T. Gaffney with Ed Gaffney

Creating Clark Gaffney cover

When a handsome actor gives a nerdy friend a Cinderella makeover to help him catch the attention of an attractive man, their lessons in love go a bit too far, threatening their longtime friendship.

Suzanne Brockmann Presents a new series of category romance novellas set in Southern California, written by Jason T. Gaffney with Ed Gaffney. Short, spicy, and funny, the California Comedy series puts the comedy in rom-com.

Beantown West owner Clark Benson has completely made-over the sweet little coffee shop he’d inherited from his grandfather, turning it into a thriving local SoCal business. But his social life remains a hot mess. When he can’t even get up the nerve to talk to an attractive man who’s caught his eye, he turns to a longtime friend for help.

Actor Hunter Westbrook’s handsome face, hot body, and smooth charm have brought him a bounty of quick hookups throughout his short life. But lately the heat of the moment turns rapidly into a morning of regrets, and he’s just embarked on a Year of No to figure out exactly who or what it is that he wants.

When his nerdy friend Clark asks him to be his personal fairy godmother, Hunter reluctantly takes on the challenge. He gives Clark a full Cinderella makeover—from manscaping to new wardrobe to laughter-filled lessons on how to flirt with hot guys. But when those lessons in love go too far, neither Hunter nor Clark is willing to admit that their perfect Prince Charming has been right there, all along… (About 33,000 words or 150 pages)

A Match For Mike is coming soon! Check back for more details!

Check out Jason’s Amazon Author page here!

CREATING CLARK IS NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON, NOOK,KOBO, GOOGLEPLAY!

Available soon on iBooks, and in paperback and hardcover from NookPress.

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14 Responses to “#AwkwardNotAwkward: Why I Couldn’t Wait to Write a Gay Sex Scene with my Gay Son by Ed Gaffney and Jason T. Gaffney”

  1. Ed and Jason – Thanks so much for joining us today!

    I love how open and supportive your family is! I know a lot of romance writers who have said they’ll never let their parents read their books. I can relate!

    On the other hand, my daughter has read some godawful early drafts of stories I’ve started and even though some scenes were pretty explicit, she came through unscathed. Not sure if it’s a generational thing or if we just have really awesome kids! 😉

    I’m glad CREATING CLARK is available in paperback now, since I haven’t replaced my fried Nook yet.

    Do you have a timeline for the release of A MATCH FOR MIKE yet?

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | August 3, 2016, 1:22 am
    • Hi Becke!

      Thanks for having us! I’m excited to be here today!

      I agree that the younger generations are more accepting of what sex is, a beautiful way of sharing deep personal intimacy with another consenting adult.

      I was always confused as a kid as to why families were ok with watching someone’s head get graphically blown off in a gun fight, rather than see a body part such as a butt (which everyone has) in a romantic scene. (I still am confused by this when I see it btw.)

      I think we’re moving forward into a world that is more open and is way more acceptable that sex isn’t something to be ashamed of, but should be celebrated!

      Hugs,

      JTG

      Posted by Jason T. Gaffney | August 3, 2016, 9:35 am
  2. Hi Becke!

    I completely believe that attitudes about sex, sexual orientation, all kinds of things are evolving all the time. I think (hope!) for the better! 🙂

    Jason and I are working on A MATCH FOR MIKE right now. We don’t have a deadline, but we’re hoping that within a month, it will be on sale!

    -Ed

    Posted by Ed Gaffney | August 3, 2016, 8:17 am
  3. Sorry if you mentioned this already – I seem to be a little word blind this morning. Do you anticipate the California Comedies being a trilogy or an open-ended series?

    Also, was your decision to write together influenced by Suzanne and Melanie’s experiences as co-authors? (I’m hoping there will be more books like NIGHT SKY and WILD SKY!))

    I enjoyed the peek of CREATING CLARK at the back of READY TO ROLL. I think my (paperback) copy is due to arrive today or tomorrow!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | August 3, 2016, 10:00 am
  4. When Jace came up with the idea, he was thinking about an open ended series — he loves funny stories about love. So we’ll write as many as we can come up with!

    I think Jace and me decision to write together was less about Mel and Suz’s experience, and more about the fact that we’d done it before, and enjoyed it so much. Also, although the idea was Jason’s, he didn’t have much experience writing in narrative form — he’d written plays and screenplays almost exclusively. So he thought it would make sense to include someone on the project who had written books before. (The fact that I share Jace’s sense of humor didn’t hurt!)

    🙂

    Posted by Ed Gaffney | August 3, 2016, 10:14 am
    • I totally second what my dad said about how we work well together.

      After Russian Doll was over we worked very closely for a few months on the editing process for the film. I knew we could work well before that, but after that process which can provide a lot of stress, the fact that I still wanted to work with him (and he still wanted to work with me) let me know that we were a perfect fit!

      After all it’s hard to collaborate with people, but when you add the fact that you’re family too… That could be a problem for many people.

      One of the things I like best about collaborating with my dad is the fact that we’re able to leave our egos at the door and really work on making the best project that we can create.

      Posted by Jason T. Gaffney | August 3, 2016, 10:43 am
  5. Jason – Do you think it helped or hindered that you have experience as a screenwriter/playwright? I’ve heard it can be a difficult reverse process – going from writing novels to writing screenplays – but I imagine it could be helpful to mentally block out scenes when you’re writing.

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | August 3, 2016, 10:59 am
    • I’m glad you asked that question!

      I actually tried to write the books with the idea that they could be turned into films someday. I did that for several reasons, including that I love making films, but also to help make the writing process easier.

      I found that by treating the book like a screenplay it helped me to visualize the story. I looked at the world thinking how would I direct this? What would I want my audience to see?

      By trying to not just be the writer but also being the director I was able to put in way more of the small details that really can bring a story to life. After all, in a screenplay we rarely ever get to hear exactly what is going on in a character’s head. But when it comes out in film we can see based on how the actor face looked, the inflection of their voice, etc. which was guided by direction, what they really are thinking.

      The formats between screenplays and books are so different, and yet the goal for the outcome is the same.

      Posted by Jason T. Gaffney | August 3, 2016, 11:32 am
  6. I have so enjoyed reading your stories. I am now reading Creating Clark. Love it. I find it nice to know that you grew up the way you did. I have sometimes had my insecurities about”coming out”. I finally did and my family support stunned me. I thought they would hate me but they showed me how much they love me. That it was OK for me too love 2 men. I was stunned but I have to say Thanks. You and your family helped me realize it’s okay to be me. Thank you. God bless

    Posted by Michelle | August 3, 2016, 6:29 pm
  7. Yay – my copy has arrived!

    Michelle – I’m so glad your family was there for you. Both of my kids have friends who either haven’t come out to their families yet or did, and had a rough time. Thankfully, the one who had the hardest time initially now has his mother’s support. We’re going to his wedding in a few months, so things are definitely looking up for him now! 🙂

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | August 6, 2016, 5:45 pm

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