Which is probably not a shock to anyone who comes here regularly! :)
So what's with the declaration of the obvious, you might wonder. Over the weekend I went camping with some friends; it was a big group kind of thing. I knew the people I went with, but the others were totally new to me, so I did a lot of introducing of myself and it's fairly normal for people to ask what you do for a living.
I write gay romance.
A few eyebrows went up, but overall I was in a pretty liberal group so it wasn't much of a big deal, but that got me thinking (always dangerous!)
Often when I'm asked what I do, I simply say "I write" or "I write romance". To be honest, the reason is twofold. The obvious part is that there are discussions I don't necessarily want to get into with the more closed minded conservative types. The other part is "why make differentiate?" Isn't it ALL romance?
Because I don't write het. romance. I don't typically even read het. romance. It just doesn't interest me, even when it's really well written. Kind of the same way that while I respect the authors who do it well, the horror genre doesn't typically interest me (although there are a few exceptions). Hard science fiction doesn't interest me. Contemporary urban fantasy has lost its appeal over the years. I'm sure you have your own list of things you love to read and stuff you just kind of go "meh" to because it isn't your thing. And that's awesome! If we all liked the same stuff it would be a dead dull world.
But... coming back around to "I write gay romance" this weekend got me thinking. Is it better to say simply that I write romance (because I do, gosh darn it and I want all romance to be created--or at least received--equally) or is it better to call attention to the fact that I write in this specific sub-genre where boy meets boy?
By calling attention to it, am I saying m/m romance isn't the same as het. romance? I'm sure Nora Roberts doesn't say "Hi, I write heterosexual romances". She most likely says "I'm a romance novelist". Why should I be any different? Romance is romance, right? Or am I being oversensitive because I grew up on PSAs like this one?
Or, conversely, should I call attention to the fact that romance novels comes in every shape and size and color and gender (just like real people)? More than once when the subject of exactly what kind of romance I write has come up, the person I was talking to was totally amazed that such a thing as gay romance even exists. Do people actually read that? Why yes, we do. My husband will be the first person to tell you just how much of it I read because he sees my Amazon bill every month!
Calling attention to the genre means the risk of uncomfortable conversations and certainly there's a time to pick and choose when to have those, but this weekend got me wondering whether I was doing my genre (and therefore myself) a disservice by quietly saying "I write romance". If what I want is to be able to walk into a bookstore someday and see my books on the shelves, then more people need to know we exist.
I'm curious what y'all think; please leave a comment below.
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