Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ask Andrew - Professions

Dear Andrew
I've read a great many m/m romance novels, and if everything I knew about gay came only from what I read, I'd believe that the vast majority of gay men are attorneys, CEOs, firefighters/police officers/EMTs doctors or ranchers.  While I've occasionally encountered lead characters who are artists (mostly in your novels), I don't think I've ever read one where one of the central characters is a florist, hair stylist, decorator or fashion designer, and yet many gay men work in these fields.
Is there a reason that the writers of m/m romance novels avoid these careers for their main characters?


Dear Liz

Romance novels are for the most part about fantasy and in this case, as sexy a fantasy as possible.  I do know that there have been main characters in MM novels who have been florists, fashion designers, and many other professions.  However the authors quickly realize that those professions aren't considered "sexy"  Lawyers, doctors, EMTs, firemen, police officers, etc rate pretty high on the overall sexy scale.  So authors tend to choose those types of professions for their characters. 

I don't necessarily agree with that when I'm writing my stories and that isn't to say that there haven't been very successful MM romance stories where the characters are other professions, but the ones you mentioned instantly connect with readers.  I think that some professions carry a mystique.  Cowboys instantly bring up images of the Marlboro man.  Doctors, EMT's, firefighters, police officers, all put their lives on the line for their jobs.  Its that mystique and strength that tend to make them popular heroes for romance novels.  That isn't to say that other professions can't be used, they just aren't as glamorous.

Hugs and Love

Ask Andrew is your chance to ask questions of a gay romance author.  The questions can be about the writing process in general, writing sex scenes, gay men, sex, characters in romance, characters having sex... okay you probably get the picture.    I promise to answer your questions as frankly and with as much humor as I possibly can.

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  1. Actually - it really depends on what kind of m/m you read, I encountered so far a lot of accountants, insurance workers, students, busboys, various office workers, lorry drivers, construction workers, teachers. And let's not forget hairstylists. In my reading experience (and I've read a lot m/m) the professions are a lot more diverse than in f/m, where the hero also is either a lawyer, buisness man, lawman, cowboy etc.
    But of course, if you tend to stick to a certain type of story, you'll encounter a certain type of hero.

  2. Agree, Sunne! But then 90% of what I read these days is M/M (and I read alot lol)

  3. Do you think the avoidance of those professions could also be a, maybe, too conscious effort to avoid a stereotype? Gay man = hairdresser?