Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Male Romance Writer, Without Apologies

First, I'd like to thank our lovely and gracious hostess for having me here today. I'm scheduled on the 20th of each month here, so I'm really excited about this opportunity! (And praying that my first isn't also my last!)

I offer something for every taste!
When I first started writing sixteen years ago, I didn't think for one minute that I would ever get within fifty MILES of writing romance, erotic or otherwise. My speed was more urban fantasy/horror/suspense. If there happened to be an erotic or romantic overtone, wonderful, but that was never the ultimate aim.  I wrote "guy stuff:" Sex, violence, sex, rock and roll, sex, and did I happen to mention sex?

What changed my mind was, as with so many other writing tales, more or less an accident.

One little contest later, I got to thinking about trying my hand at romance in earnest. If I hadn't won that particular contest, who knows what I'd be doing now? I tabled the idea for a few months, because I was in a big push to finish my first novel, Shadowphoenix: Requiem. Once that was done, I waited for the next contest to start and riffed off my second entry.

That one split first with a story about a mermaid, and I started to get serious about the idea of writing romance on a regular basis. After all, winning two contests with erotic romance seemed to imply that I had a certain flair for the genre. But where to start?
Yeah. It looks EXACTLY like that...


I'm a voracious, insatiable devourer of books. If a book is lying in my field of vision for more than, say, three seconds, and I haven't already read it, I start to get symptoms reminiscent of nicotine withdrawal. (A subject I can speak on with a certain amount of authority, having now been a smoker longer than not. It's depressing  when you suddenly realize you're older than you thought you were!) I start to twitch, I get short of breath, and sooner or later, the only thing that's going to make the shakes and the darting eyes go away is getting my fix. Books or smokes, to me it's same/same: my body's addicted to nicotine, but my mind's addicted to books.

So I'd read a romance book or two (thousand!) in my time. The biggest problem I had with the genre was the fact that so many of them seemed to be the exact same story, rewritten with different names and set in different places and times, but same old same old same old. *Yawn*

How to say "Please Stomp My Grass" In Five Languages!
When I decided to turn my hand to erotic romance, I also decided to kick convention to the curb. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a "Keep Off The Grass" sign, because I read that as "Please Trample My Lawn." So all the "shalt-nots" of romance went into a big, scary wood chipper. The only convention that I kept was the obligatory Happily Ever After, because I like a happy ending as much as the next guy. Everything else became up for grabs. Why? Because I wanted to write romance stories that guys could read and appreciate just as much as women. Lots of violence, sex, thought-provoking plots, all of it overlain with an emotional context that men and women could both appreciate.
I'm a male romance writer, and I make no apologies for it. Because, hey, it seems to be working!

I promised that this wouldn't be a promo blog, so I'm not going to leave an excerpt or any of that today. If, however, you'd like to know more about me or my work, I'm also blogging at http://www.nobleauthors.blogspot.com today, as well as my own blog at www.jswayne.wordpress.com. I always appreciate fan mail, rants, or raves, and you can get a hold of me at jswayne702@yahoo.com.

Thanks for letting me come hang out with y'all today. It's been a lot of fun!

Until next time,

Best,

J.S. Wayne

13 comments:

DA Kentner said...

Always interesting to learn more about how your devious mind works, JS. =)

J.S. Wayne said...

Thanks, David!
I'm glad YOU know how my mind works. Now, can ya break it down for ME? LOL
Devious...yeah, that about sums it up. And that's one of my BETTER qualities!
Thanks for coming by! :)

Brita Addams said...

Hi J.S.
Great post. Always love learning more about my fellow writers. You know how I love your Angel stories!

Hugs,
Brita

J.S. Wayne said...

Hi, Brita!
You make me blush! I'm glad you enjoyed the post, and I hope you like Angels Cry when it comes out too!
(((Brita)))
J.S.

Billi Jean said...

J.S. --Neat post! Loved hearing the guy romance writer POV. For a few weeks, I've been hearing chit chat about guys writing romance and wondered at the concern/even acknowledgement of whether a guy or a woman wrote the romance novel you're reading. I was a little taken aback by the talk -- some saying they'd never read a romance by a guy, others in the middle, not many of the 'who cares' camp! Maybe I'm more like you -- if a book is near me I have to read it -- or at least skim that first page. LOL. So, male, female -- doesn't matter to me -- as long as they hook me on page one. ;)

Loved the post!!!

Best,

billi jean

DA Kentner said...

I've participated in a couple of those "men have no business writing romance" conversations.

It all comes down to this: Prejudice and bias exists in our society on many levels. To expect discrimination not to exist in reading choices is sticking our head in the sand.

There are women who believe men shouldn't write romance. There are men who believe women shouldn't write gay fiction. There are women who believe men shouldn't write lesbian fiction. There are men who won't read action/adventure if the author is a woman. There are people who believe an author of one race should not write characters of another race.

Surprisingly, no one seems to argue about who can write horror novels. Apparently it's widely accepted we all know how to scare the shit out of each other.

The bottom line is, ignorance denies a lot of people the joy of reading some outstanding stories.

Tabitha Blake said...

I don't really care if the book is wrote by a man or a woman. I just expect a great story. If you can give me that then I'm hooked. Heck now days with all the pen names who's to say if it is a male or female writing it. Thats the trend if you are a male writing romance you just take on a female pen name or vice versa. But for me it doesn't really matter. Who's to say you can't write romance because of gender. That is just stupid stupid people that don't have a clue and are very judgmental. Glad to have you aboard! Great blog by the way! You will fit in here just fine.

Brenda said...

I too am sick of the same old, same old when it comes to romance novels. I've been a reader of romance stories for years, and with each one I read, I think: didn't I just read this story, or one almost exactly the same?

Sheri Fredricks said...

Hi J.S.~ LOVED your first post here at NN. Welcome aboard. If your writing reflects any of the humor and wittiness this blog did, then I can hardly wait to read your work. A male romance writer? Why the hell not!

J.S. Wayne said...

@ Billi Jean: Thanks for coming by! I really think that the gender of the writer matters less than whether they've really got something to say. Hopefully, this little experiment will prove that men and women really AREN'T that different, when you get right down to it.

@David: I agree entirely.
In one way, it's true that a man and a woman cannot write the same thing the same way, simply because of different wiring in the head. That's not a value judgment, but a simple statement of fact.
My romance might not be entirely traditional, but to my way of thinking, that's a good thing. I like the idea of giving my readers something just a little different.My hope is that it'll prove to be different enough that when a guy "accidentally" picks up one of my stories, he'll get a few pages in and ask "Why the HELL am I not reading this stuff more often!?!"

@Tabitha: Thank you again for having me here! I agree with you: the color, gender, or orientation of the hand holding the pen should be a completely irrelevant factor. Sadly, our society hasn't quite gotten to that level yet, but I still hold out hope that it will.
Can't wait for next month! :D

J.S. Wayne said...

@ Brenda: That's always been one of my biggest qualms with romance. There's a formula, and it's safe, which is why so many writers go with the formula.
Thankfully, I have a hell of a wood chipper! The only things you can expect from one of my romances are:
There is a CHANCE of a happy ending, but I guarantee nothing.
Expect the unexpected. If you don't reach a certain part of the story and stare in slack-mouthed horror, then I haven't done my job!
It's ALWAYS going to be HOT!
Thank you so much for commenting!

@ Sheri: Thank you so much!
As it happens, I'm not entirely unique. A few very talented authors I know personally are also male romance writers, and they write a spectrum that covers straight, lesbian, gay, and menage. Including the inimitable David Kentner (above)!
When you read my work, I sincerely hope you enjoy it!

Tabitha Blake said...

Just bought your two angel books. Can't wait to read them! They look like they are going to be great reads! I love books about angels.

J.S. Wayne said...

Hi, Tabitha!
My apologies for not checking back sooner. I've been seeing shiny things all SQUIRREL!
*ahem* Sorry about that.
Anyway, I sincerely hope you enjoy them. Can't wait to hear your thoughts!