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01 January 2007 @ 10:36 pm
You don't have to be bi--or a woman--to enjoy Phyllida  
Often, when I introduce myself to new acquaintances, or meet up with old friends whom I haven't seen in a while, after I've mentioned the fascinating fact that I've written a bisexual historical romance, someone feels obliged to inform me that he finds that disgusting. "That" being male bisexuality. This person is always a man and is always, without fail, the person least likely to receive any attention whatsoever from hot men--or women.

On the other hand, some of the people who have most enjoyed Phyllida are (as far as I know) straight men.

It's difficult positioning (so to speak) such an unusual book. I called it a romance novel deliberately, because I was working seriously within the form. I've enjoyed reading a number of traditional historical romances, and I found the discipline of adhering to the structure very helpful in constructing and writing my story.

The problem is, of course, that most men won't be caught dead even touching a romance novel. I also think that most male readers do enjoy faster stories, with more action, less talk and so on. But not all.

And Phyllida, of course, really is "more" than "just" a romance--although as a fan of romance novels I must constantly remind detractors that any good romance has elements of comedy, satire, three-dimensional characters and all the other accoutrements of a good novel. What makes a novel a romance really boils down to just two factors: a focus on the love story (as opposed to politics or murder or the contemplation of the writer's navel); and a happy ending. In Phyllida's case, there are, necessarily, two happy endings...

My point here is that there's no reason for men and women of all sexual orientations not to enjoy Phyllida. So long as the idea of a man living happily and, most important, honestly, with both a wife and a boyfriend doesn't "disgust" you (and even, perhaps, if it does) there's enough humor, witty dialogue, fast-moving plot, sympathetic characters of both sexes, and a complex villain or two to keep you interested and turning the pages until the end. There are historical and literary allusions to add a little spice.

In my last post, I recommended two other titles in addition to Phyllida and said that gay and bi men would enjoy the one and women the other. So I'm writing this message as a kick in the head to myself as well as to all the potential "disgusteds" out there. Yes, a particular genre may draw more or most of its readers from one sex or one sexual orientation. But not all. We're becoming much more aware these days of how many women, from 100% lesbian to 100% straight and every gradation in between, enjoy reading m/m erotica and romance. There's no reason to turn people away from an intelligent, witty book because of gender or sexual orientation.

If you like sexy men and/or women; if you like laugh-out-loud funny dialogue; if you like a historical setting that also satrizies modern prejuduces; and if you like an entertaining, well-written story, then Phyllida may be just what you're looking for.