A Bear on Books on…
Can a Man Write Romance?
I read a little. Okay, okay, that’s not quite true. I read a lot. Anything from science fiction/fantasy to serial killer books to humor to – surprise, surprise – romance. Especially gay romance.
In fact, you could say I’m getting to be a minor expert in the genre. I have about, oh, twelve hundred m/m books on my Kindle that I’ve finished. Everything from shifters to mysteries to space operas to romance to flash fic. And I found a little something to like in almost all of them. I can count on one hand the number I wish I could wash from my brain. One in particular…shudder
Anyway, there are a few things the really good ones have in common. Characters I care about. Realistic situations, appropriate for the characters. Now, this can be shifters, scifi/fantasy/horror too – the realism is specific to the world in which the book is set. Good, crisp, interesting dialogue and story telling.
I may be one of three who will say this, but unless the editing is egregious, I won’t let it get in the way of my enjoyment. No book I’ve ever read is perfect – there’s a flaw somewhere. But if the story grabs me, a few missteps won’t break the spell.
And I think I’ve said this before, but it bears (ha – he said “bear”) repeating. I don’t pay attention to the name of the author unless it’s someone I know already and love. Give me an
Amy Lane or Sue Brown or Lee Brazil book
and I’m happier than Porky in poop.
Think about it.
So I don’t know going in most times if it’s a man or woman, someone white, black, Hispanic, Asian, young, old, deaf, blind or whatever that is writing. And I don’t care. If when I finish, I’m moved, I’ll read more and maybe look up the author to see if I can find out a little something about the person behind the talent.
This is a long way around to get to my point, maybe, but that’s how I operate. Does it matter if it’s a man or woman who wrote the story? A resounding “Hell No”!
First, I guess, we have to define a Romance. To me, a Romance is a story where there are (usually) two main characters who meet, fall in love and end up together. There may or may not be intervening circumstances that keep them apart, interfere with their happiness, or break them up temporarily. Here, we mean, boy meets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy back and lives happily ever after.
With that as a working definition, I can name twenty good – no, excellent – romance authors off the top of my head. And quite a few of them men.
Lee Brazil (shut up – I’ve read “Loving Jacob” and “The Librarian” and “Loving Eden” and you get the point). Damon Suede. TJ Klune. John Goode. Rick Reed. Xavier Axelson. Derek Adams. Jake Mactire. Eric Arvin. Scotty Cade. William Neale.
Need I go on?
Men feel emotions just as deeply as women. We just don’t necessarily always show them or put them on paper. But it’s a gross injustice to men AND women to think only a woman can write a romantic scene. Or that only a man can write a good action thriller.
We do each other such a disservice when we take the focus off the books and worry about the hand that wrote them. Do we worry about the gender of an artist whose sculpture we admire? The painting that moves us? The movie that makes us cry sitting there in the dark?
Art, of whatever kind, is about the WORK, not the artist.
So, yeah, men can write Romance. Do a damned fine job of it, too. Thank God. Gives me more to read and enjoy.