29 June 2012

Balancing Act

While I was sitting on my couch, trying to think up a post for today, I found myself literally laughing out loud along with one of my favorite TV decorators, Nate Berkus. I (and probably the majority of women who watch his show) absolutely adore Nate. He’s handsome (albeit a little short, but hey, so am I!), charming, sweet, knows his decorating and is absolutely hilarious. What’s not to love?

It’s incidental to me that Nate is gay. He’s not flamboyant a la RuPaul, but he’s certainly not in the closet. What made me LOL today was some banter between him and a guest chef on his show. When Nate asked the chef why the little cakes were called ladyfingers, he was told it was because they were delicate and feminine. Nate retorted they looked more like his own fingers, and roared with laughter when the chef said, “I rest my case.”

I’m in the process of writing my first M/M romance, and while Nate isn’t the inspiration for either of the characters, I’m trying to capture the same sense of insouciance he projects about his sexuality and display it in both my heroes. They don’t live in our world, so I didn’t have to deal with real life issues such as coming out and the stigma that can still be attached to being gay. One hero is bi, the other has always been gay. Yet, even without the restrictions of potential social stigma this book is possibly the most difficult I’ve ever written.

That’s my own fault. I have a vision of these two men—both strong, both determined—and want to keep them that way while still showing their vulnerabilities. Neither of them is suited to be what I sometimes think of as the “softer” partner I often read in M/M books. Yet I find it helpful to remember how I handled a similar situation when writing What the Mistress Did, which started out as a prospective ménage with a bit of revenge thrown in and turned into a love story between the two women. Neither of them was weak, although the balance of power seemed to favor one over the other at the beginning. It was a matter of discerning where they were strong and where they were weak, and allowing them to act according to those parameters in each situation that arose.

That’s what I’m trying to do with my two guys too, and only my editor will be able to tell me whether I’ve gotten it right or not. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I’ve grown to love them dearly and I hope others get a chance to meet and love them too!
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