Gay Historical Romance
Why write it?
Because I think the subject is neglected, and highly fascinating. I admit that I came into the genre via the fanfiction route, and thereby started out writing erotica, but as I progress with my writing, I find that I’m far more interested in the history, the era, the background and the characters than I am about the sex scenes.
Many people think that all gay fiction has to be erotica, but that’s not true at all. It varies just as widely as does heterosexual fiction, and it’s a pity that that even has to be said. In fact some male writers of gay historical fiction, such as Vincent Virga, Max Pierce and Mark Probst, are far less explicit than some of their female writing peers.
The thing is that there is something for everyone; there may not be much of it out there as yet (My gay historical review site, Speak Its Name has a list of every title I can find and yet it only numbers in the low hundreds) but the list grows. There are books to be found of every heat level, from blistering sex scenes to a kiss and a fade-out, so don’t write it off just because you can’t handle the physical side. There’s more to it than that.
The story is what drives the writers. In the same way that heterosexual historical writers are inspired by events and characters, it’s exactly the same for gay historical writers. There have been gay men on the planet since Ug first looked at Ig and wondered why he too didn’t have a female living in his cave. Whilst there has not (yet) been any books written in the Neolithic age there are plenty of other eras to choose from: Regency, Victorian, Medieval, Elizabethan, Roman. Not many, true, but more each year.
Part of the fascination is the way that one can play with the characters. Writing the “courtship” of two males, in ages when it was highly dangerous and often lethal to be gay is interesting enough, but then their interaction is so much fun to play with. It is much easier for two gay men in times past to be seen in public together, for example – so there’s no worrying about chaperones, too many dances and subsequent ruined reputations in that respect. Their body language and oral language is vastly different from how a man and woman would converse in times past, too – all grist to a writer’s mill. It’s also easy to put them into adventurous situations together, on a ship of Nelson’s navy, in the army, crossing the prairies, or spying across continents.
So if you haven’t tried it, and think you might enjoy it, then why not give it a go? If there’s one thing better than a man in historical clothes, all those buttons and epaulets… then it’s two.