by Romance Author Kelli A. Wilkins
My name is Kelli Wilkins and I write romances. My books cover nearly every genre and vary in heat level from mild to super-spicy. People have different reactions when they learn what I write. (Sometimes they gasp and pretend to be horrified, and then ask me if I “act out” my love scenes at home. Uh, no. I write fiction—that means I make stuff up!)
But when people find out that I write gay romances—that really gets them going! “Why would you write one of those? You’re not a man or gay.” (Here’s my turn to gasp and act surprised. Really? You’re kidding!) I generally respond with: “Why shouldn’t I write gay romances? I wrote a vampire romance, and I’ve never been a vampire.” (That usually quiets people down for a while.)
I get a lot of questions about “why” or “how” I write gay romances. Here are the top four, along with my answers.
#1: You’ve written lots of straight romances. Why write gay romances?
Why not? I’m a writer. And as a writer, I write whatever romance book comes to me, whether it’s a contemporary, historical, paranormal, or gay romance. My stories are about people who meet, fall in love, and overcome obstacles to be with each other.
This basic philosophy applies whether the characters are same-sex, different sex, or space alien and earth girl. Love is love and romance is romance. I’m not married to one specific genre or heat level. I go where the story and the characters take me.
When I wrote Four Days with Jack, A Secret Match, and Killer in Wolf’s Clothing I trusted my instincts and wrote the story that was in my head. Although all three books are contemporary gay romances, they’re very different.
In A Secret Match, a big part of the storyline centers around Everett dealing (or rather, not dealing) with his sexuality, and his (un)willingness to be open about who he really is. Ev has been in a committed relationship for years and is afraid that if he doesn’t come out, he’ll lose the love of his life. He’s also worried about his career. How will the world view a gay wrestler? Will there be backlash if he comes out?
Conversely, David, from Four Days with Jack, has never come to terms with his sexuality. He’s been lying to himself for years about his orientation and hiding his true desires. David has always loved his gay best friend (Jack) and has fantasized about being his lover, but he lacked the courage to admit his feelings—until now.
The main characters in Killer in Wolf’s Clothing are comfortable with their sexuality, but have other issues to deal with (like shapeshifting and a serial killer). This super-hot paranormal is a fun look at the werewolf legend and blends romance, mystery, danger, humor, and sizzling love scenes.
#2: How do you write the gay love scenes?
I approach a same-sex love scene the same way I would if I was writing about a hetero couple. When I write a straight romance, about half of the scenes are written from a male point of view. So I have experience thinking about scenes from a male perspective anyway.
There’s not much difference in writing a story from two male points of view. Writing a love scene isn’t only about the gender or the anatomy of the characters—it’s about creating a believable, intimate scene where two people express their love for each other.
Each character in each book is unique, so the love scenes are always approached from different directions. In Four Days with Jack, David is introduced to a world of new experiences. Everett and Josh’s first kiss in A Secret Match was a tender and sweet moment; while the first time readers meet Deke from Killer in Wolf’s Clothing they realize he’s anything but shy.
#3: What’s the hardest part about writing a gay romance?
The answer to this is quite surprising, and no, it has nothing to do with bedroom activities. The hardest part about writing a same-sex romance or love scene is pronouns.
As I’m writing, I’ll dash off something like: “He ran his hand down his chest and…” Wait, what? He ran his own hand down his own chest? No… I have to pay extra close attention when revising or editing a same-sex scene. Too many “his” references and the reader doesn’t know who is doing what. Better to say: “He ran his hand down Kevin’s chest and…”
#4: Are you concerned about what people will think about you writing gay romances?
Not in the least. People will think whatever they want. I realize that not everyone wants to read the same type of romance. Some readers love historicals, others only read contemporaries or paranormals, and that’s fine. But if readers are turned off to me as an author just because I write gay romances… well, that’s too bad, see ya.
When I wrote my first gay romance, I considered “what people would think” about the book and me writing it—for about three seconds. Then I reminded myself that I’m a writer, and I create the characters and scenes that make up the book.
I don’t worry about what people might think of me writing about two male characters kissing, going to bed, or making dinner. Basically, the story needs to be told, and I’m the one telling it. As a writer, I’ve made up all sorts of things: an erotic Bigfoot story, a historical Viking tale, detailed ménage scenes (in all combinations), and a first-person vampire love story.
Writers need to turn off their internal editors and forge ahead with the story as it should be (and needs to be) told. If we constantly worried about what grandma would think about our writing, or if we were afraid to open up and let the characters (and the story) take us into the bedroom, we’d never write anything except G-rated fables.
I once read a blog where a woman was “confessing” to writing an erotic romance, even though she couldn’t tell anyone about it and wouldn’t “dare” put her real name on the story. I got to wondering…why? Why hide your writing? And if you’re “ashamed” to be writing in a particular genre, why invest the time and energy into something you’re not going to stand behind?
Now more than ever, I’m just as proud/PRIDEful of my gay romances as I am of my straight romances. Why? Because I’m a romance writer—and in my books, everyone deserves to be in love and live happily-ever-after with whatever partner they choose.
And that’s the way it should be… in fiction and in real life. Here’s the book summary to my first gay romance, Four Days with Jack. I hope you’ll check it out. I fell in love with the characters, and I hope readers will too. It’s got a good blend of humor, drama, and plenty of sizzling love scenes!
Enjoy & Happy Reading!
Kelli A. Wilkins
FOUR DAYS WITH JACK
When David invited his best friend on vacation, he never expected them to fall in love…
Spending four days in a tropical paradise with Jack is a dream come true. For years, David has lived a lie and denied his romantic feelings for Jack. Now that they’re together in an isolated Caribbean resort, he finally admits what he really wants—to be Jack’s lover.
Jack has been in love with David for years and is encouraged by his desire to explore a sexual relationship. He’s more than willing to introduce David to the life he has always fantasized about. Their sizzling nighttime encounters confirm David’s long-hidden cravings, but what will happen when they leave the resort?
Will David come out and start a new life with Jack? Or will he go back to his old ways and risk losing the best friend he ever had?
Order Four Days with Jack here:
All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bo6Rap
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
Her historical romance, Dangerous Indenture, was released in March 2019. This full-length novel is set in Pennsylvania Colony and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense. Look for another historical romance, The Viking’s Witch, coming in July.
She published the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.
Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.
If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.
Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins and iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins to view her photos.