What Do You Write?
by Jacqueline Grey
“How do you answer the question “Oh, you’re an author…what do you write?”
I have always been proud to declare that my dream was to become a published author, but once I became one, I found it difficult to answer the question “What do you write?” I know there are people out there who look down on the romance genre (usually people who’ve never read it), and if I couldn’t gauge what a person’s reaction would be I became hesitant to admit that that was what I wrote.
As time has gone on, I have worked hard to break this habit. I love romance. I have found some amazingly talented authors by reading romance, and I am proud of what I have accomplished within the genre so there is no reason why I should be shy about it. I have also come to realize that there are times when it is my duty to spread the love of romance, gay romance in particular.
Last year I was interviewed about my book Ghost House. During the interview, the interviewer told me she was surprised when she heard my name. Jacqueline is very feminine. Having written a gay romance book, she hadn’t expected me to be so open about being a woman. I suppose she’d been wondering if my being a woman would lessen the appeal of my book to gay men. I told her that many of the authors I knew who wrote in the gay romance genre were women. So were many of the readers.
In fact, for years I have been reading shounen-ai and yaoi manga from Japan, my friends and I are currently devouring danmei novels from China, and I am exploring BL TV shows from Thailand and their related novels. These things are all stories about male-male relationships and romance, and they are written by women and geared toward a female audience.
I truly believe we need #ownvoices stories and representation, but I also believe, especially in the current time period, that the world needs more happiness in general. Romance, gay or not, should be read by everyone. It is the only place in the world where you are guaranteed a happy ending. Isn’t that something we all need in our lives? I think that happiness is worth more than gold, and as romance authors, we are the suppliers of happiness. If that’s the case, then the next time someone asks me what I write I am going to tell them loud and proud.