06-18 Sarah Raplee – WHY PSYCHIC AGENTS?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Why You Should Read (and Love) Gay Romance by Anne Tenino

 Often when blogging for a site that doesn’t focus on LGBTQ fiction, I’m asked to discuss why I write gay romance. Not only do I not have an easy answer to the question of “why,” I definitively (in my mind) put the issue to bed almost two years ago 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


Diana McCollum said...

The closest I've come to reading gay romance is a friend, Marie Harte, writes some M/M and some M/M/F. I won one of her books that was M/M/F. I read the whole thing, but have never read any more. I quite agree with you that Love is Love, straight couples or gay couples. Personally, I prefer reading straight as I can relate to the story on a more personal level. Welcome to RTG, and good luck on your sales!!

Sarah Raplee said...

Awesome post, Anne! I love your sense of humor and your honesty. Thank you for Guesting at RTG!

Barbara Binns said...

I will admit one of my favorite stories of all time in a gay romance, Mexican Heat. I love the interaction between the two leads and how they complement each other. That's what I'm looking for in any romance, and I'll be taking a look at yours now that I know you.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

I agree, Anne. Love is love, and romance novels are all full of love whether they are straight or gay. Leaving to go follow you on social media now :-)