Heigh-ho, readers! Madeline here, ready to play a little show & tell with m/m erotic romance author Kate McMurray. Kate’s books can be found at Loose Id–who publish the very “best m/m erotic romances in the biz”. (Click on photos links to buy books)
KATE McMURRAY: Some of my love for m/m is hard to describe—I just really like the genre. I stumbled upon it a number of years ago via a book review on a romance website and got totally hooked. One of the things I really love about m/m is that there are some books that really push the boundaries of romance, telling stories and exploring themes I hadn’t seen before.
I started off writing m/f romance—I still do sometimes, actually, although I’ve never tried to get any of those books published. That may change in the next year or two if I finish a manuscript, although the m/m stories are the ones that mostly occupy my imagination right now.
MADELINE IVA: What do you think straight female readers like about m/m romance that they can’t get with m/f?
KATE McMURRAY: The obvious answer is TWO heroes! So there’s that. I think also that the gender dynamics and the dynamics between the characters are different.
MADELINE IVA: Different how?
KATE McMURRAY: Some things are the same. There are plenty of alpha heroes hanging around in Gay Romancelandia, but you also see more characters who don’t adhere strictly to traditional gender roles or who are part of non-traditional families. This is a generalization, and there are plenty of authors who defy this, but I feel like the rules for traditionally published m/f romance are much stricter in terms of what readers want and what publishers are willing to put out there.
I also think that there’s just something really great about a happily ever after for the types of characters who have in the past been denied one. It’s hard not to feel a little giddy and excited about that.
MADELINE IVA: Maybe there is more poignancy for readers because of this? From what you’ve said in our emails it also sounds like m/m contemporary romances have built in barriers keeping hero and hero apart. Most m/f contemporary romances have strain at contriving the same kind of high-stakes tension.
At any rate, having read a little m/m romance in the past I’ve noticed things get, um, a little sticky? How do you research your novels? Do you tone the details down for readers at all?
KATE McMURRAY: My books fall more on the erotic side of the romance spectrum, but I’m not the sort of writer who likes to describe every hair and freckle. I started researching how to write sex scenes just from reading other m/m books, but also talking to (and sometimes asking embarrassing questions of) my more forthcoming gay friends, and, okay, I might have watched some porn. You know, for research. But I think also that there’s a fantasy element to all romance, and romance novel sex is, for the most part, a less messy affair than real life.
MADELINE IVA: True! There’s been some controversy over m/m romance lately. Some gay readers/authors claim that m/m sex “just isn’t like” the sex women erotic romance authors are portraying in books. What are gay folk saying is different about the m/m sex written by women?
KATE McMURRAY: I’m not sure there is a difference, aside from male authors writing from experience and female authors writing from their imaginations. I don’t think you can really stereotype. I mean, you could say that women are more sentimental and men more aggressive, but some of the sappiest, most sentimental romances I’ve read were written by men, and some of the raunchiest, most aggressive romances I’ve read were written by women. I think it really just varies by author. (One of my regular beta readers is a dude who keeps telling me I’m getting it mostly right, so there’s that.) There are some writers who put out stories that aren’t realistic, but I think that could be said of any genre.
MADELINE IVA: I think folks were claiming something like the characters in books written by women were often just women made into dudes, and like you’d said, that men are more aggressive, but at the same time I really like your answer. Also there was a huge controversy over a chapter of the Romance Writers of America when they dropped the m/m category from their romance writing competition. Care to comment?
KATE McMURRAY: You know, I think in some ways it was a good thing, because it got a conversation going about what constitutes “romance” and it forced RWA to make some changes. I’m a member of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT special interest chapter of RWA (I just became Vice President, actually) and we had a few writers join the chapter in solidarity, which was pretty exciting. We’re slowly affecting change both within RWA and outside of it, and I really think now that it’s only a matter of time before an LGBT book wins a RITA or a Golden Heart, for example.
MADELINE IVA: Excellent! If someone’s new to reading the m/m erotic romance genre, what books would you suggest they start with? Any in particular that you’ve written? Any others that you think they might like?
Finding Zach by Rowan Speedwell
Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy (not erotic, FYI; the sex scenes all fade to black, but it’s still a fantastic book)
St. Nacho’s by Z.A. Maxfield
Hot Head by Damon Suede
Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell
(Wow, that was hard to narrow down. There are dozens more really great books and authors to check out!)
For one of mine, Out in the Field, my baseball romance, seems to be the fan favorite, although all of my books are stand-alones, so it doesn’t matter which order you read them in. The new book, Show and Tell, is maybe the most out there of my books, with more fantasy elements than anything I’ve written before, although it’s set in New York and has what I think is a very New York sensibility.
MADELINE IVA: Thanks for chatting with us, Kate.
Readers, leave a comment to possibly win a epub copy of Show & Tell. If you want to find out more about Kate and her books, here’s her website: www.katemcmurray.com