Today I am so pleased to welcome Steve Milton to Joyfully Jay. Steve has come to talk to us about his latest release, The Big Comeback. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
The Wonders of Gay Romance
Writers of straight romance sometimes say that they feel sorry for us writers of gay romance. As the writers of hetero romance see it, their books have an automatic storehouse of plot development and conflict from the deep-seated difference between men and women. And, as far as they see it, either we don’t get that storehouse of gender conflict, or we have to create it ourselves by using “butch” and “femme” archetypes in same-sex relationships to substitute for men and women.
I, on the other hand, feel sorry for writers of straight romance, because they have so much less to work with. Think about it. In a gay romance, we have automatically all the external conflict of both characters living in a world where at the very, very least, some people don’t know that they’re gay, and almost certainly, some people don’t or wouldn’t accept homosexuality. That is automatic and guaranteed for us as writers of gay romance. It’s like writing a book on cheat mode!
And not only do we have the automatic conflict and uncertainty of two gay men in a predominantly hetero world, but when we write about young men in the stages of self-discovery — these are often my characters — we have to deal with the characters’ lack of knowledge and understanding even of their very own selves.
On top of all that, if all that delicious conflict and uncertainty and plot fodder were not enough, gay men usually don’t automatically know whether another man is gay, or whether he is being honest by implying he is straight. “I don’t know whether he knows that I know that he knows…” is a common situation in real gay life, and makes for some really interesting romance plots.
In my own books, I milk the gay male situation for all it’s worth! Or, put more politely, I depict all the uncertainties and conflicts of the gay male experience. It’s delicious. It’s fascinating.
My latest novel, The Big Comeback, is subtitled “A Novel About Bluffing” because it explores these kinds of uncertainties in depth. Bluffing — about sexual orientation and other things — is pervasive in the novel. Through it all, there’s not only romance, but self-realization, as a young man grows into his real gay identity. It’s wonderful stuff.
If you’re a gay romance writer, consider yourself lucky, because not only do we have such a wonderfully rich field of conflicts to describe, but the past decade has brought us about a century’s worth of social changes in attitudes toward homosexuality — and as with all interesting changes, the changes are neither universal nor universally accepted, so it gives us contemporary gay romance writers just that much wonderful stuff to mine.
The Big Comeback has an openly gay hip-hop artist who wasn’t able to be open about his orientation during his previous run of stardom, but is more comfortable doing so in 2017. My previous book, High School Reunion, includes a high school teacher who previously had to remain in the closet, but now can be openly gay in his profession. And yet both situations of openness and coming-out create conflict. Because that’s what makes life interesting.
Come join us in the world of gay romance, whether you’re a reader or a writer. There are a million fascinating layers of conflict, growth, deception, and self-realization just waiting for you to explore them in a gay romance novel.
“Nobody wants a has-been pop star.”
The record companies don’t return Alex’s calls since his fall from the pop charts. He’s only left with his laptop full of new song ideas for a big comeback, and Murray, his pathological liar of a manager-boyfriend. Alex holes up in a cheap hotel to take a break from Murray’s harangues and try to write music.
“This hotel guest looks really familiar.”
Luke is only twenty, but he was a fan of Alex’s music back in the day. Alex checks in at the hotel where Luke works, and Luke thinks he looks familiar. Their friendship develops quickly, although they assume each other to be straight, and Alex can’t be sure that Luke is for real, while Luke is afraid to ask Alex whether he’s the pop star he remembers.
Through crooked music industry deceptions, brainstorming beach walks, and the small joys of Christmas and New Year, Alex and Luke find their way to the big comeback.
Buy link: Amazon
Steve Milton writes gay romances with sweet love, good humor, and hot sex. His stories tend toward the sweet and sexy, with not much angst and definitely no downers. Steve crafts feel-good stories with complex characters and interesting settings. He is a South Florida native, and when he’s not writing, he likes cats, cars, music, and coffee.
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The Big Comeback sounds like a fascinating read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Steve, and congratulations on the new book.