Since 2014 October has been renamed Queer Romance Month. One whole month to celebrate our…
This mini-interview with Allan Jay is brought to you in support of Queer Romance Month.
QRM runs throughout October, celebrating love stories in all shades of the rainbow in all shades of romance. Join us, and over a hundred LGBTQ+ authors and allies, for essays, flash-fiction and much, much more.
- A queer romance you’d recommend to a newcomer
I usually give four recommendations so the person gets to explore the breadth available in queer romance. These are: anything by Con Riley, but particularly the Seattle Series, for contemporary; the Widdershins series by Jordan L Hawk for the always excellent Whyborne & Griffin; everything by K.J. Charles for those who want stories set in the UK; and the Phlogiston set by Alexis J Hall to show the wonderful places the imagination in queer romance can take you.
All of these are also brilliant in other ways, but like a crack dealer I’m hoping the new reader will get hooked.
- Favourite queer romance hero
I have a massive confession to make.
I mostly fall for, and have as my favourites, the love interest rather than the main hero of a book. These guys are my book boyfriends, and yes that is plural as I’m non-monogamous with them. I’m totally in love with the likes of Griffin (Whyborne & Griffin), Jake (Josh Lanyon’s Adrien English books), John (Jordan L Hawk’s Spectre series) and Bengt (Santuario books by G.B. Gordon)
I’m now slightly worried that I’ve just discovered what my ‘kinda man’ is – solid, suited and emotionally troubled.
- What do you think is the future of queer romance?
I’ll give my hopes, because I’m no good at predicting the future, if I was I wouldn’t have to do online dating. I have two main hopes for queer romance.
I hope that the genre expands in all directions and becomes much more fluid in its approach to sexuality and gender. At the moment we mostly have characters who fall into boxes of sexual and gender identity – and we tick off those boxes in terms of representation. It’d be great to see a future where the fluidity of both are embraced and we don’t need to default to the trans-cis or gay-straight binaries. I think we’re already moving in the right direction with this.
I also hope that more gay and bisexual men embrace the genre and get to read stories about men like them. I think it’d do them the world of good to see how the love and intimacy they feel is shared through all these stories. I really want to be able to open Gay Times, or Attitude or The Advocate and see adverts for, and reviews about, our books.
I have another hope that’s more of a side note – I’d like to see the emergence of HIH to accompany the HEA and HFN. A HIH is Happy It Happened. Sometimes we experience a love so profound that it changes us. It was so important, and leaves us in the place for a HEA to happen in the future, that it needs its own story. But even though a HIH is about deeply felt love and a connection so important to the character that life will never be the same, because it’s a moment that was never going to last it doesn’t really fit with romance. So its not likely to happen.
- Favourite queer non-romance:
One of the books that I’ve loved since I first opened it is Man’s World by Rupert Smith.
Although not the typical romance (even though it says it is on the back of the book) it is a great story and it can stimulate the emotions just as much as a romance can. If you want a book that’s about history, community, connections between generations, and how easy it is to lose your soul in the big city, then this is the one for you.
Allan Jay’s contribution to Queer Romance Month – “All of Us” – will be published on 6th October.
“For me We All Need Stories isn’t a call for more individualistic inclusion but a call to broaden out the community of readers, writers and publishers so we can experience each other’s stories.”
Allan is an unashamed romantic with a belief that if love isn’t as silly as it is scary then you’re doing it wrong. Allan is occasionally a writer, sometimes a blogger and often on social-media messing about instead of doing proper things.
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