I think pretty much everyone who writes anything gets asked "why?", but sometimes I feel like women who write gay romance (whether we're straight, bi like me, or lesbian) get asked that more often than anyone else in any other genre. Maybe that's because our genre is so...not exactly new, but it's a brave new world and a lot of people have never met a real life author, let alone who writes gay romance. (News flash: my job isn't all that glamorous!)
I don't mind an honest inquiry about my occupation (because it really isn't something people hear about every day) and I will either give the long version of the story or the sort one, depending on the person, my mood, and the situation. (Short version of the long version: blame Torchwood! I started penning Torchwood fanfiction and...well...it just sort of spiraled from there.)
But there's a big difference between honest curiosity ("huh, that's interesting, what got you started writing that?") and the nasty hairy eyeball that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. You know the one. Where someone starts in on the evils of women writing about two men in love. Yeah, that big ball of nasty.
No. I'm not going to revisit that here.
For anyone who cares, this is why I write gay romance (besides the whole Torchwood thing *G*).
I'm a romantic at heart. I love stories about love. (Okay, lust is good too and can be a great springboard into love.) I love stories about first love and rekindling old flames. I love stories with a deeper meaning (although I also thoroughly enjoy a good "beach read", it's just not the sort of thing I'm typically very good at writing. No matter how hard I try, I almost always end up going into deeper territory).
I love interesting and complex characters with interesting and complex lives because I believe we are all interesting and complex people with interesting and complex lives. I want to write as true to real life as I can.
I love--no, I require--a happy ending.
Okay, so happy endings don't always happen in real life, but being a romantic, I absolutely require them in my books. However, my happy endings may not end up with everything neatly tied up in a bow; life is messy. Not everybody is going to come around and embrace the protagonists; family members will walk away. Believe me, just like in real life, my characters are better off without those family members, anyway. Yes, it will hurt sometimes, but there it is: messy. Life. Real. (Even when one of them is a werewolf).
Above all, I write the characters and situations that speak to my heart and soul. Characters and situations that come from my heart and soul.
At the moment, those characters are men (some gay, some bi, some just figuring it out) and the situations are...well, they're situations anyone could find themselves in, because my inspiration comes from everywhere, all around me. Something I see when I'm walking the dog or running errands. A story someone relates (yes, there are hazards to being friends with a writer). A news clip. A painting in an art show. Writers are constantly playing "what if...?" in their heads.
Personally, I consider it either an odd coincidence or just a fluke of the way my Muse speaks to me that my main characters are gay/bi/questioning men and not some conspiracy to fetisize anybody, least of all people I call my friends and colleagues. Because seriously, who thinks like that?