Before I start this week’s article let me address the elephant in the room. Yes, my name has changed (T.C. Orton was my pen name, Craig Barker is my real name). And, yes, this is going to play into today’s topic.
Here we go…
You see, I love the MM community. I love the people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned (as both an author and a human being), and the experiences I’ve shared. I love seeing support for the LGBT community all over my news feed. I love seeing people of all genders/races/sexualities banding together through a love of man-on-man action.
I love it all.
However, something I don’t necessarily “love” is MM fiction. As a gay male, I’ve always felt that I “stumbled” into the genre rather than sought it out because it’s something I enjoy. In my spare time, I do not read MM books. I don’t really enjoy romance at all—just ask my fiancé.
What do I enjoy? I enjoy coming-of-age stories about ragtag groups of teens fighting supernatural threats with underlying messages about adulthood, the world, politics and mental health. I enjoy shows like Buffy, and while not anywhere near as insightful, I enjoy reading The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare and Midnighters by Scott Westerfeld.
I enjoy urban-fantasy fiction above all else. It’s my true passion.
So, shortly after my last article, where I half-heartedly tried to convince myself that the contemporary-romance story I was writing was going to be the one to make me fall in love with the genre, I changed things up. I rid myself of the pen name, confining all my MM books into the T.C. Orton casket before nailing it up and shoving it under the bed. Henceforth, I’ll be going forward as myself—Craig Barker—and only penning stories I’d want to read myself.
What does that entail?
As stated, I enjoy urban-fantasy stories. Young Adult, New Adult, it doesn’t matter. I enjoy the ensemble adventures where each person brings something unique to the story, and where their sexuality and romantic relationships come second place to the overall plot. Thus, that’s what I’ll be creating.
I want to write female characters. I want to write straight characters. I want to have a leading gay protagonist who is more concerned with the issues at hand rather than the issues at hand being that he’s gay.
And don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the MM genre to no end. I respect everyone who writes in it. I have the upmost admiration for people who manage to tell epic love stories between same-sex couples to give those that are still dreaming of their own love story the fantasy they deserve—but that’s not me.
I don’t need to read about two guys falling in love because I’ve lived it. I don’t need to read about two guys banging because I’m doing it. (Not right now, it’s taco night.)
What I do want to read is leading gay men saving the world—possibly falling in love along the way, but putting the mission first. What I do want to read is gay chosen ones. Gay heroes. Gay leaders. I want to see LGBT people be superheroes. I want to see them wield swords, cast spells and struggle with more than just their sexuality. And I know some of these exist in the MM world, but again, these themes always play into a character’s sexuality or there’s a heavy focus on the sexualisation surrounding the characters in play—that’s not what I’m after.
I want to see more. More than the MM genre can provide me. And that is the reason for this change up.
With that said I am currently working on a brand new series—and shared universe in which all my new stories will take place in. I won’t take up anymore of your time with the details in this article, but if you’re interested in following me on this new adventure then please go to - https://www.facebook.com/groups/craigbarkerbooks/ and take a look around at the various excerpts and announcements that have recently been posted.
And, if you know any YA/NA series that feature LGBT characters in spotlight roles (not necessarily the leading protagonist, but present throughout) where their sexuality ISN’T the main plot, please leave your recommendations in the comments.
To win a $5.00 Amazon gift card
enter the rafflecopter below
Contest will end June 18th