How it Began, Where it’s Going: Lynn Stark

Though a great many people don’t believe writing for the romance genre is a serious pursuit, I have to disagree. Perhaps I’m just stubborn or contrary. I’ve never been one to follow in line. If someone looks down a line of people walking along, I’m the one dancing. I’ve never been one to think as others do. If there are ten people in a room believing one thing, I’m staring at them as if they’re stuck on stupid. Of course I can’t be right all of the time. Needless to say, my life has not always been an easy one. It’s not easy to swim against the current.

When I began writing erotic romances years ago, I was told by romance authors not to bother, that I really wouldn’t be taken seriously. Only one encouraged me. Since I primarily wrote for myself as a hobby, and wasn’t sending my stories off to publishers, I continued to write with a sense of overheated bliss.

“If I wanted to take my writing from hobby to profession, I needed to do something about it.”

I love erotic romance. I love to put scorching words on a page and watch them come to life. And what makes it even better is when my characters fall in love. It’s a combination that can’t be improved upon. Love, devotion, and great sex are only the beginning. Tell me that some action/mystery/crime novel is better than that.

Though I’ve always known there have been genres to satisfy just about any reading craving, I didn’t investigate them closely until a couple of years ago. The Internet is a wonderful resource, and I’ve used it shamelessly to discover and learn. It also gave me the one opportunity I needed to take. It was a “put up or shut up” point in my life. If I wanted to take my writing from hobby to profession, I needed to do something about it. E-books and the Internet were there for me to exploit to my heart’s content, giving me an opportunity I might not have had otherwise.

I began reading what was out there in the erotic romance genre. I’m not easily shocked, but I did wander into a few territories where I shouldn’t have gone. Not that I disapprove of what I had read, just that it wasn’t a direction I wanted to take. I’m not a prude, but when I had to get a muscle relaxer to get my eyebrows out of my hairline, I knew some topics were just not for me.

Then I discovered just what I wanted with several writers and read their stories faithfully. One thing most of them had in common was their publisher and I thought, “Okay, I can do this. These stories are close to what I write. Yes, I can do this.” I took a chance and sent one off to Siren-BookStrand.

I had only flirted with writing gay romance over the years. Yes, I had written a few stories, but they weren’t exactly what I wanted because I was still being held back by old, musty thinking. Once I had shaken off the dust and cleared my mind it was like being set free. Still, I was taking baby steps as I began with a ménage story of three men and one woman. What does a ménage, which included a woman, have to do with gay romance? Well, in the beginning of the story I had no intention of having the men sexually involved with one another. Then there it was. They were attracted to one another, and one thing led to another, giving the story greater depth and plunging me into my own kind of writer’s ecstasy.

“You can get very few places in life without taking a few risks. That’s what I’m doing with my M/M romances.”

I continued to write ménages. The first four books of my Loving in Silver series were all ménages, only one having no sexual contact between the heroes, who were brothers. The fifth book I decided to finally go with what had been running around in my mind. I was going to give a character I had introduced in the third of the series his own story. Simple. Yeah, right. In my excitement my overcharged brain decided that it would be two, not one man, who would begin to help lift my hero from the despair of losing his first partners in a tragic accident.

My stories seem to be the only place I follow anyone almost blindly. When I begin writing, my characters take over. I rarely force where they go, what they do, or what they say. In Cowboys and Pearls my men did their own thing. And of course one more had to throw himself into the mix, and I have to say I’m very pleased that he did. Four hot guys finding love!

You can get very few places in life without taking a few risks. That’s what I’m doing with my M/M romances. I’m a firm believer in people being who they were born to be and loving those they were meant to love, which includes being able to marry one another. I want to write stories about that. I want to paint words on a page to express what two or more people of the same sex can feel about one another. It’s wonderful. It’s beautiful. There can be nothing wrong with love. There certainly can be nothing wrong with people expressing their love, from gentle and sweet to hot and steamy, and everything in between. All of that and a story, too!

Hopefully I can express my beliefs in my stories as I begin a new series devoted solely to M/M romance. It will be an erotic romance, of course, continuing to show the beauty of ManLove and the many levels of emotion and passion involved in varying relationships.

“Having gay men in my life as I was growing up undoubtedly contributed toward the attitude I’m proud to have.”

The setting for these stories will be the town of Silver. The relationship combinations to be found there would be considered unconventional anywhere else. In Silver they are seen as normal. Of course there are people in the town who don’t approve. It’s not a perfect place. They are unavoidable, and trying to eliminate them altogether would be unrealistic. But they are in the minority and their bigotry is not tolerated by the majority. Backward thinking and ignorance is challenged.

Having gay men in my life as I was growing up undoubtedly contributed toward the attitude I’m proud to have. I’m grateful to whatever circumstances brought them into my life, though many of them were my mother’s friends. A gay friend in high school was one of the best people I’ve ever known, and I admired him for openly being who he was born to be. Another friend from the same time struggles with her identity and drug use to this day. An elderly family member was also gay, but not openly. Being born in the late nineteenth century, and living most of his life in a very small community, didn’t allow him to live as he should have been able to. My heart hurts for what he was denied.

Not every ignorant person will learn or accept. Many just don’t have the ability to change their beliefs. It’s a sad fact. But when I come face to face with this ignorance, I’m not silent. I plant the seeds in their minds that they could be wrong, that people, whether of the opposite sex or the same sex, have the right to be who they were born to be and to love the person they were meant to love. And when I gently plant these seeds I hope something beautiful and positive will grow.

Having said all this, I hope you enjoy my stories. My favorite writer fantasy is a big guy with muscles, tattoos, gold earrings, and a Mohawk, sitting on a couch with the guy who holds his heart, reading one of my stories together. Men love romance, too.

By Lynn Stark

 

photo credit: dlemieux via photopin cc