on my blog.
So naturally, when I was told I could choose any topic I liked for Romancing the Genres, the first one I thought of was Why I Write About Two Men Falling in Love.
Sigh. I’m really good at self-sabotage, I guess.
Eventually, through a long, convoluted dialogue which I won’t bore you with, I decided to address a different set of “why” questions: Why do people love gay romance? Why should someone who’s never read one want to give one a try?
The simplest answer is “love is love,” which can also be read as “romance is romance.” For the more complex answer, I’ll use the popular roller coaster analogy (i.e., equating the journey of two people falling in love to an emotional carnival ride).
As with a real-life roller coaster, the emotional one is most exciting when the highest peaks are reached after climbing up from the lowest valleys, and the loop-de-loops are truly death-defying. In romance novel terms, this means the author makes it as difficult as possible for the couple to get together and stay together. We throw up seemingly insurmountable barriers so that, when the couple overcomes them, the resulting surges of happiness, joy, hope, love, etc. are made even stronger in contrast. We make characters suffer so that they (and we) are more grateful when it ends.
In other words, best-loved romance novels evoke the most intense “feels.”
Gay romances take readers on exactly the same emotional roller coaster as straight romances do. I’d even argue that LGBTQ love stories have a built-in advantage because gay protagonists come with an inherent road block (no backstory needed).
For all the progress made recently in LGBTQ rights, prejudices still exist. There are still people who will publicly say they don’t think same-sex couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples. Regardless of how the issue is treated in the story itself—in quite a few of my novels, the characters have supportive families and communities—we begin reading these stories knowing that there are people out there who think men loving men and women loving women is just plain wrong. When we reach the end, the characters have not only overcome the plot hurdles they’ve had to jump, but they’ve overcome the societal hurdle that actually exists.
That’s what makes it so much more rewarding when love wins anyway. When reading romance, we already know it’s going to end with two people in love and happy, just as we know the roller coaster will eventually stop and let the riders exit. In both cases, the experience is all about the excitement of the journey. ~ Anne Tenino
Catalyzed by her discovery of LGBTQ romance, Anne Tenino left the lucrative fields of art history, non-profit fundraising, and domestic engineering to follow her dream of become a starving romance author. For good or ill, her snarky, silly, quasi-British sense of humor came along for the ride.
Anne applies her particular blend of romance, comedy and gay protagonists to contemporary, scifi and paranormal tales. Her works have won awards, she’s been featured in RT Book Reviews, and has achieved bestseller status on Amazon’s gay romance list.
Born and raised in Oregon, Anne lives in Portland with her husband and two kids, who have all taken a sacred oath to never read her books. She can usually be found at her computer, procrastinating. You can find out more about her works at http://annetenino.com