Or, How Jane Austen Inspired My Gay Romance
One thing Saint Jane did brilliantly in all her novels was absurd humour and painfully human characters. She exposed the frailty of human ego. She made you cringe at painfully awkward proposals while you rooted for her heroines to find their true love.
When I wrote After the Scrum, my first Gay Romance, I used her approach to characters and humour. The story is filled with irreverent humour. I used my observations of human nature as an autistic to form many of the slightly zany villagers of Looe. It certainly made for lively characters.
I hope my beloved Saint Jane would approve.
The other way Austen’s novels have shaped my writing is in showing the path of love is rarely smooth sailing. You only have to look at the tribulations of Anne Elliot in Persuasion (my favourite of her novels). The Wanderer and The Caretaker, in particular, show how matters of the heart can be equal parts pleasure and pain.
When I first considered this post, I’d wanted to write about why readers should dip their toes in the Gay Romance genre—and my novels of said genre. As you can see, I got a bit distracted. A lot distracted.
The thing is if you love absurd humour, witty banter, and love stories, you’ll enjoy my novels.
If you love great romances, you’ll enjoy the Gay Romance genre.
The love is the same—it’s just two men snogging.
And it’s good snogging as well.
I thought I’d talk about the three books that made me fall in love with reading–and also made me enamoured with the idea of writing. I don’t know about other writers, but for me, there were definitely specific moments where I felt the tug of what to create. The first shouldn’t be shock for anyone who knows me and knows what I love to read:
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Austen’s ability to create sympathetic characters who tugged at the heart is almost unmatched. She made people human, for better or worse. She depicted all of our best and worst traits. Balancing out her torn apart lovers, making them never too perfect, but always a couple you rooted for.
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
It’s the first ‘big’ book I remember reading on my own. By the time I was ten, I’d probably read it twenty times. It was also the first experience I had with a story taking me into another world. I distinctly remember wanting to try it for myself (I wrote a book about bears. Profound stuff. LMAO).
And last but not least…The Rogue series by Jo Beverly.
As I don’t write historical, it might seem odd that a regency romance inspired me to write love stories. It’s not so much the era, but the drama, angst, and thrill of a couple coming together. Jo Beverly did it magnificently with all of her Rogues, with humour as well.
What books inspired you to write?
One of my new TV obsessions is a show on the History channel called The Selection. It’s about a group of civilians who are being put through a squashed down version of the training that Navy Seals, Rangers, etc. all have to go through. It is, I think, an eye-opening experience for people to see the hell that it can be.
I expected to be entertained–I didn’t anticipate hearing a few really profound life lessons. Thought I’d share a few things that have stayed on my mind, rolling around up there, inspiring not only me as a person–but my muse, as well.
- Know your motivation for doing what you do–make it deep and important.
- Your mind will give up before your body.
- The hard shit in life? It’s temporary. Get through it–don’t give up.
- Do your best, even if you fail, you’ll have done everything you can.
- Failing isn’t the same as quitting. When you fail, you can try again. When you quit, you’ve given up on yourself before you even have a chance to see what you’re capable of.
Have you watched The Selection? If not, what have you seen/read that’s inspired you recently?
The music I’ve been listening to while writing Natasha:
Trouble by P!nk
Some Nights by Fun.
I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons
Awake My Soul by Mumford & Sons
Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys
My Life by TLC
Demons by Imagine Dragons
Stubborn Love by The Lumineers
Miss Independent by Kelly Clarkson
Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
Walk Away by Kelly Clarkson
Mercy by Duffy
Right to Be Wrong by Joss Stone
Devil’s Backbone by The Civil Wars
Hell on Heels by Pistol Annies
Dealing With the Devil by Imelda May
Mayhem by Imelda May
Trouble by Ray LaMontagne
Hard to Handle by The Black Crowes
Fire by Babyface
England by The National
Love the Way You Lie by Eminem
Killing in the Name b Rage Against the Machine
Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong by the Spin Doctors
Wing by Birdy
Have a Little Faith in me by John Hiatt
Skinny Love by Birdy
Not Over You by Gavin DeGraw
Ivy started life as a very fascinating dream that I had two or three years ago. I’d been playing a lot of Splinter Cell and watching Strike Back. And I had this amazing dream one night about a young woman being rescued by two incredibly hot special ops men.
It plagued me for a year that it would make a great story. I finally decided last year to make it my NaNoWriMo novel. For the first time in a long time, I actually managed to finish NaNo. A few friends read the story and encouraged me to edit it, intensively and consider dipping my feet into the ocean of indie publishing.
Now, I have no idea how my rather simple dream morphed into a complicated intriguing tale of a widowed photographer who finds herself caught up in a complex web of shifters, terrorists and human traffickers. But, I’m sure Ivy, the main character, will forgive me, eventually.
For the writers out there, where did your great idea spring from? And for readers, what’s the oddest dream that you’ve ever had?
It never strikes at a convenient time, does it? The muse in charge of new ideas is a fickle creature even on a good day. It never seems to bring inspiration when I really need it.
No, it waits for inconvenient moments when I can’t possible get to a piece of paper and a pen.
I’ve had ideas in the shower or while I’m driving in traffic or when I’m in the middle of cutting up raw chicken for dinner.
Not really moments when I can drop everything to get the elusive nugget of an idea down on paper before it drifts away from me. I think I should invest in very small notebooks that I can wear around my neck.
Or one of those little voice recorders, that wouldn’t work that well in a shower though.
What’s the strangest place that inspiration has ever struck you?