I’ve wanted to write this blog for a while, and I finally decided why not? You see, other than my Facebook personality, along with the muses, I’m really a shy person. I hide behind the computer screen and most of the time my social media profiles don’t feature a personal picture. It’s not because I don’t think I’m beautiful. *smiles and twists black locks of hair around my fingers* it’s because my writing shows so many different sides of myself. I mean, why would I want to write about a woman in her forties with an evil day job? Ugh. Sometimes those would make for great stories, but in my mind they’re kinda BORING. No, I don’t want to go so far as saying I’m boring. Once I get to talking and, maybe with some help from the liquor variety, I’ll tell you my life story. Or maybe not. *laughs* But really, I’d rather tell you about my writing and the personas I take on when I sit down at the computer. Yep, besides the 4 muses, I have a variety of people I decided to be for every book.
For Michael Mandrake, and many of my characters, I take on the persona of a gay man. I learn things from reading other books, articles, and things on the internet. Yes, porn. SURPRISE I’m sad to say, I have no close gay male friends, but when it comes to sex, I rely on what I read as my guide. While I did the edits for Mocha Kisses, I was fortunate enough to have what I assume is a gay male editor. One thing I’ve hardly been questioned on is my sex scenes, but this time, he asked me about some of the things I wrote. I’m glad he did, because there were things I assumed to be true because of what I read or seen in porn. It’s good to have those things when you’re a cis-gendered, mostly het female and don’t have the resources readily available, but having someone to advise you during the editing process is very helpful.
As I’m rambling, I should get back to my post. I, as a cis het, female, want to write outside of what I know. I know customer service, worked in it fifteen years plus. I was a banker, I’m a mother of two kids, I’m married to a wonderful man, and I’m a black female who loves rock music. Even with all the things I claim to know, I will not go so far as to say I’m an expert. I still ask others for opinions or thoughts on things I include in my stories because I want to make an accurate portrayal. Despite all of this, I still might screw up on something because people will say, oh that’s not real or that doesn’t really happen, but that’s a topic for another day. Bottom line, I love writing outside of what I know to challenge myself and learn new things. I like to explore different worlds, cultures, etc, and I get hyped about putting that new knowledge into a book.
This kind of ties in with the two latest kerfuffles in the gay romance genre about writing GLBTQIA and/or people of color. You can ask questions, do research, just like you could about a doctor, police officer, EMT, etc. These is a lot of important information about these professions and people of different races, religions, gender identities, sexualities, and ages are no different. However, I do add this. Write them as individuals first because no matter the differences they are still people.
To get back to my writing outside spectrum post, I’m saying don’t let any of this stop you from writing the story you want to write. In all seriousness, Michael Mandrake scares the shit out of me with his complicated plots. Serial killers, CSI’s, homicide detectives, double agents, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. I’m intimidated at the lengths in which I have to research these things, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In my opinion, writing people shouldn’t be that much different. Do your due diligence and become that person you’re writing about. Do it with empathy and passion, and not because you feel you have to in order to sell books. Do it because you have a genuine interest in the person you’re including in your story because while you’re writing, you should put yourself in that character’s shoes and become that individual.
So why do I write outside again? To gain knowledge and become a different person. Besides, how many exciting stories are there about women in their forties unless they’re falling in love with a hot musician? *looks at the idea on my long list of WIPs*