Saturday, August 30, 2014

Coming out to my husband

Those who follow me on Facebook may be aware that I’m not “out” to my family.  Oh, I don’t mean in terms of my sexuality, I mean in the fact that I write.  They don’t know I write, and they definitely don’t know I write m/m romance.

It’s not that I’m ashamed of the “m/m” bit – although that will definitely be an awkward conversation for me to have with my mother – it’s more I don’t want the criticism and “helpful” advice from my family.  You see, I’m the youngest of nine children.  As such, it has been the lifetime role for me to “accept” advice from my siblings.  After all, they are much older and wiser than me. <cough cough>

When I first started writing, I had three reasons for keeping the writing a secret:
                1.  I didn’t wish to face the “I told you so’s” if my writing failed. 
                2.  I didn’t wish for the inevitable advice against being an author as a career.
                3.  I didn’t want 61 people telling me what to write.

(Yes – 61.  I counted.  When you add up all my siblings, their spouses, their children, their spouses and their children, I have 61 immediate family members on my side of the family.  My husband, in contrast, has four.)

So when I published my first book, #1 on the above list ceased to exist, but in its place was now the awkward conversation about writing m/m.  Never fear – I do plan to tell them.  Soon…(ish).  But just not yet.  I need some more courage, more confidence and perhaps another successful novel.

BUT – my husband does know, and I’m going to share the story of my “coming out” to him.
When I first started writing, it was usually a couple of hours a day while he was at work, and maybe an hour or two after the kids went to sleep.  I could’ve been playing solitaire on my computer for all hubby knew.  I’m sure I told him a couple of times in vague terms – “Oh, I’m writing a book” – but since the last book hubby read was when he was in Year 12 English, he just shrugged and walked away.

Once I’d submitted Loving Jay to the publisher, I told him, “I finished a novel and I’ve sent it off.”  He was happy for me.  But neither of us really expected it to be accepted.  When it was, I was in shock for three days before I managed to tell him.  He got really excited for me, but I needed bring him down to earth.  “Don’t expect it to make money.  I’m hoping for a couple of hundred, but that’s it.  I mean, how many people get lucky on a book like Harry Potter was?”

He asked me with eagerness, “Can I tell my parents?”

My reaction to the thought of
telling my in-laws
I looked horrified.  “Gosh, no!”  At this stage I couldn’t even admit to him about the m/m stuff.  Imagine telling his parents!  And imagine the horror of the book being released and rubbished to bits?

So I continued on my author journey without telling hubby anything apart from, “I got another contract.” And “I’m doing editing this week.”  I didn’t even tell him my pen name.  It’s not that I was deliberately hiding, it was just that he was goddamn happy for me, but not exactly interested in publishing, reading and writing.  We just didn’t discuss it.  Much the same as he doesn’t tell me about his work.  We both work, but prefer to talk about the kids or the house or other parts of our lives.

I was hiding so much, I didn’t even tell him the day it was released.  I kept it all inside me and only told my BFF.  She told me I had to tell him.  I knew I had to, but hubby is not really the “open mind” type of person.  I stewed and fretted for ages.

Then hubby told me he wanted to tell his best mate.  He was so proud of me that I was a “published author,” he wanted to brag about me.  I screwed up my courage, “You don’t want to do that, sweetie.”

“Why not?”

“Umm… Have you ever wondered about what I write?”

“No.  Not really.”

“You won’t like it.”

“Why not?”

I breathed deeply and said, “Okay.  I will tell you.  But I want you to just think about it for a while and then tomorrow you can ask me questions, alright?”

He agreed, so I pulled out the cover picture of Loving Jay.  He looked, but didn’t get it.  “Can I give you my honest opinion?” he asked.

“Of course.”

“They look a bit… gay.”

I hid a smile.  “They are.”

“Oh.”  He was silent for a while.  “Why did you write that?”

“Because that’s what I read.  Now do you see the reason I don’t want you telling people?”


That was four months ago.  Since then I’ve tried to discuss the topic with him, but he’s not interested.  Oh, he’s supportive of my writing, and he likes the fact that I’m earning money, but he’s not comfortable with the “m/m” bit, so I allow him some slack and not push it.

So that is the story of my “coming out.”  Nothing terribly exciting, but nothing bad either.

Now if only my big confession to my family would be as non-eventive.  

How to contact Renae:

Twitter:  @renaekkaye


  1. I hope that half goes well for you.
    Its so weird, learning the differences in families, because my family all knew what i wrote as soon as i started, hell it wasnt a surprise as they knew what i read. What i hadnt expected was that my dad would tell EVERYONE he knew what i wrote, he really is that proud, hell half the women at his work have read my books. Theres no secret from anyone as to what i write, i never got a chance because most people were congratulating me for the success of publishing.
    Then theres my sister who, im guessing, does it the same way as we all do, if the person asks, if not... But she tells me all the time the reaction people give her when she tells them

  2. That is fantastic! I'll never know what my family will react like until I actually get the courage to tell them. Maybe I'll make a big Xmas announcement while they are all in the room and get it all over and done with in one hit!