Day 5 Summer Devon – Dangerous Love, Rich Conflict

August 5th spotlights LGBTQ romance and invites you to read content from three popular authors within the genre.

Mining History: Forbidden Love

I enjoy romance, I adore historical romance, and I’m wild for historical m/m romance especially Regency and Victorian Gentleman and Roguesettings. Over the years I’ve asked other people—and myself– why we appreciate the genre.

The standard reason readers enjoy m/m: if you’re the sort of person who fantasizes about men, and read romance to fall a little in love with someone — why not fall in love with two someones?

I’ve read that historicals set in those eras are falling out of favor, but I’m still encountering plenty of fresh and fun escapist treasures.

Why historicals? Readers enter those worlds knowing the tropes and rules, but despite their familiarity, the world is always reinvented with fresh takes by authors—world building can be a joy.

And even the old rules can add new spice.

There is the built in risk of the taboo that the same-sex lovers faced. There’s an automatic danger for two men who are in love—risking your life for an illegal love means a conflict into every one of those stories—and any sort of threat adds spice to a plot. As Ava March wrote, “When it comes to writing a m/m Regency-set romance, the whole ‘could get hanged if word got out’ thing is something that authors can’t ignore.” As she points out, a happily ever after ending is much harder to craft for those lovers.

Since we’re talking plot, a story with only that external conflict can have a been-there done-that feel to it for me–unless the author is fabulous. The same goes for the hero who is full of self-hatred for his proclivities. (Obviously many stories contain those elements but when the whole plot revolves around them, I feel as if I’m treading worn territory. I suppose it’s the m/m version of the governess falls for the aloof nobleman trope. Unless the author gives it a twist or makes the characters memorable, the story can feel far too familiar.)

Historical settings have other inherent conflicts that can make for richer results. Erastes, an author of m/m historical romance, once said, “It’s very interesting…when the class of the protagonists isn’t equal, even a little bit, it can create a conflict that simply wouldn’t be an issue in contemporary fiction.”

When you write historical m/m you can actually avoid another issue other historical writers—the ones who write heterosexual romance–have to get around. It’s easier for your protagonists to actually meet and spend time together. To be historically accurate, nearly all female characters would operate in a separate part of society, and in a much smaller world than the males. If you have two heroes, they can go out and do almost anything and be thrown together and experience freedom out in a public all of those poor heroines have to fight to experience.

The beautiful clothes, the interesting settings, the societal strictures and the allure of forbidden love all contribute to a wealth of potential stories. I’m still having fun reading, and writing them.

Recommendations:

I could go on for pages as to great LGBTQ romance writers, but since the theme of my post is historical fiction, I’ll say KJ Charles and Alex Beecroft are both great reads.

Want to read more RARM content from prominent LGBQT authors? Find some here.


 

Questions For The Author:

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

I went up in a hot-air balloon once. This was hardly the stuff of legends, although I did have a great time. The most inspiring thing I’ve done is have kids. Parenting is one of the most common human experiences possible, but it’s fairly Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

I think I began writing because I’m a fairly terrible speaker. I’m one of those people who can’t tell a joke and writing allowed me to organize my thoughts. I wrote articles—both hard news and feature pieces—for years. During that time, I also wrote some literary short stories. One day I found a romance someone left on a bus. I gobbled that thing down and thought “That’s fun! That’s easy! I can write that”. I was entirely wrong—it wasn’t simple–but by that time I was addicted to reading romances and I loved the process of writing them too.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

I think I began writing because I’m a fairly terrible speaker. I’m one of those people who can’t tell a joke and writing allowed me to organize my thoughts. I wrote articles—both hard news and feature pieces—for years. During that time, I also wrote some literary short stories. One day I found a romance someone left on a bus. I gobbled that thing down and thought “That’s fun! That’s easy! I can write that”. I was entirely wrong—it wasn’t simple–but by that time I was addicted to reading romances and I loved the process of writing them too.

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

There was that Harlequin category book someone left on bus, but I can’t recall its title. The first book I remember finishing on my own was A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett and the excitement of sitting, reading a book on my own, was a revelation.

Drawing: Summer is donating one signed copy of The Gentleman’s Keeper to U.S. readers (entry form below) and a copy of The Gentleman’s Madness to international readers (international readers enter here).

 


glamshot

Summer Devon is the alter ego of Kate Rothwell who also writes under her own name. Summer writes romances of all sorts, including some historical m/m books with Bonnie Dee.

She is an award-winning author, published with Kensington, Samhain, Simon and Schuster, Ellora’s Cave, Total-e-bound, Liquid Silver, Loose Id, Carina Publishing and on her own.

This picture is ten years old. Take away some of the hair, add some wrinkles and reading glasses and you’ve got a more current version of Summer/Kate.

 

Buy Summer’s Books: 

availableon-amazon  availableon-nookavailableon-kobo

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • angryreader

    I have recommended your novels to a young friend. I am interested to see if he likes them.

  • Hannah B

    Hi Summer, I enjoyed your post and have added you to my TBR list. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Grace

    Kate’s work has given me appreciation for m/m romance. Her historicals are absolutely delicious and full of sass. Well worth a try!

  • Kathi Robb Harris

    I will for sure be reading this. outside my comfort zone but sounds good.

  • Kristan Higgins

    I love historicals for all the reasons you named, Kate…the built-in and very legitimate class conflict and rigid social mores of the time. I’m also a huge fan of arranged marriage stories, which I guess you can’t do in a same-sex historical. Loved reading about your particular challenges and the path that led you to writing! xox

  • Kate, you do such a fabulous job writing historicals! I’m sure this is another keeper 🙂

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I haven’t really explored much m/m romance aside from subplots within other stories but I am definitely intrigued with the idea of these in historical romances. I do love any romance with a fair amount of strife/struggle because it seems to make the happy ending that much sweeter. I look forward to checking out your books and I loved reading your essay–so many points I hadn’t considered when writing a historical with m/m instead of f/m.

  • Brenda Turner

    I love historicals, but not so sure about this particular genere

    • Thanks for the valid comment, Brenda. I don’t mean to sound like I think everyone should read everything. I simply wanted to bring a little attention to this genre especially from the perspective that {ALL} love exists, and there are books out there that celebrate all kinds of love as well. xo

    • Kate R

      It’s not for everyone. (I didn’t fall in love with this particular sub-genre myself until I read books like Alex Beecroft’s False Colors)

      Kate/Summer

  • Tonda Galloway Hargett

    I’m a sucker for romance novels, and like you, my favorites are historical, Victorian and Regency!

  • Jen C

    Great! All stories of love deserve to be told!

  • Patty Vasquez

    Argh! So many books and so little time! Historical fiction, without doubt, is my favorite genre. I have read historical m/m books by some amazing authors including Alex Beecroft, Charlie Cochrane, Harper Fox, Tamara Allen, and Mary Renault. Now I have to add your name to my list! It’s such a good problem to have. I read a novella by Ava March in which a young peer, who was desperately in love with a former classmate, was to wed in an arranged marriage. He had to have an heir. He couldn’t see any way to happiness until he learned that his bride-to-be also had a “best friend.” The men and women solved their dilemma in a double wedding. I always thought this was clever, but sad in a way, too. Same sex love in years past was a tricky matter.

  • Thanks for your really interesting words and for the international giveaway part too!

  • Elizabeth Gray

    Great essay. I am recently new to m/m, but love romantic suspense, among others. Not really a historical romance reader, but funnily enough, I do read historical m/m.

  • Mary McCoy

    I love your comments about your picture:)
    I enjoy historicals, and to the names of m/m historical writers Patty listed I would have to add Erastes. Thank you for your essay!

  • rebecca moe

    You make some excellent points about plot differences in m/m historicals. I haven’t read too many of them, but I can see I’m going to have to start! 🙂

  • Brittany Hill

    I loved the older romances set in a piece of history. I liked hearing about the struggles of how you became an author!!

  • Stephanie M.

    I’ve read historical books that hinted at m/m romance and always wondered what would happen if they were caught together. I will add you to my TBR list and find out. 🙂

  • Mary Dieterich

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. I’ve never read an m/m historical, but I can see how there would be some very interesting situations.

  • Karin Anderson

    Adventurous balloon…not a chance. I’m terrified of heights.

  • PEGGY ALLEN

    Wow, I did not know someone wrote with Bonnie Dee. Thanks for sharing your post. Every time I read an author’s post, many times it comes back to books I read and now I can relate the author to the books. thanks so much for sharing your post.

  • Erlinda Mejia

    I’m truly looking forward to reading your work! Thank you for participating in this project and for sharing your stories with us.

  • Marcy Shuler

    I love historical romance. Medieval books are my favorite with Regency coming in a close second.