The writing world is still a sexist industry. That’s not anyone’s fault, that’s just the way it is and it’s not possible to change people’s personal preferences and tastes. Some women have told me they would never read a romance written by a man. And I would be unlikely to read a book regarding submarine warfare written by Betty Juggs. Such is life. So it is a mountain I must climb, but hopefully, I can appeal to those wanting a change from the fire-breathing alpha males or a bubble gum romance.
There was a line in the movie “DC CAB” where a Hispanic guy with an open shirt displaying his abundantly hairy chest and wearing a gold medallion repeatedly states: “It’s tough to be a man, baby.” This is especially true when a male takes on the task of writing romance. I know. My name’s Travis and I’m a closet romanticist. Since I’m bearing my unmanly soul, I may as well admit I like ABBA as well. So that’s me off the Alpha list. Anyway…
Why do I write romance? For one thing, it’s the only time I can control what a woman thinks, says, and does. That’s worth it on its own. But I write romantic comedies which is not quite so frilly, but love is always a central theme in my books. Except for nuns and priests, the vast majority of people want to meet their soulmate – someone to share life with. And many of us have experienced the ups and downs of looking for love, or having it bestowed upon us whether we’re looking for it or not. So for me it seems quite natural to write about romance. It’s a constant factor in life. The romance formula is actually quite simple. It’s about two people falling in love. However, how the author gets those two people together, now that’s the fun part. My own route to finding love was quite funny, so I tend to use a humorous platform to put my characters together.
Men, in general, have to step out of their comfort zone to write effective romance. The male perspective of romance is a chick in a ponytail and wearing a baseball cap. She brings her fella a beer and rubs his back while he watches the football. Men don’t require a complex character. A 36-24-35 non-speaking bombshell will usually do the trick.
Women, on the other hand, are less likely to settle for a one-dimensional character. They want to delve into the feelings and thought side of a relationship. When a female character asks her male counterpart, “What ya thinkin’?” the female reader expects a more elaborate answer than, “If I wanted you to know what I was thinking, I’d be talking.”
Since I write my books with a female audience in mind I have to work harder to keep those feeling and emotional aspects in the forefront. When a woman writes a sex scene, it’s hot. When a guy writes a sex scene, he’s a perv. For a guy, sex tends to be a physical act. For a woman, it’s an emotional one. Writing from a male point of view (POV) it’s impossible to remove the physical side of it otherwise it sounds like a woman trying to write like a guy – or the guy sounds totally gay and has no place in the sex scene anyway. I have trained myself to incorporate more emotions from the fella and get him to acknowledge his feelings in front of the reader.
Left to my own devices, I could give women what they want, theoretically speaking. Oh yes. They like their men to growl and the women to purr. The Alpha male taking control and dominating the vulnerable woman, pulling her ponytail and throwing her to the bed for mad, passionate lovemaking, while she screams, “Treat me like a whore, Batman!” Wait. *Travis lights a cigarette.* See the male problem? It just kind of slipped in there before I was even aware what was happening. Let’s back up and throw a few thoughts in there so the woman knows he respects her. Right?
So, romance isn’t all about, umm…it…for lack of a better word, where the woman reader is concerned. Being fiction, she wants an escape from reality. This being the case, the man needs to be considerate. Tough in the face of adversity, yet gentle and caring enough to change a baby’s diaper without being asked. He probably cooks and cleans the house when he’s not out doing his spy work. He puts her feelings before his own. A male writer must suspend his beliefs from reality and concentrate on the fairytale aspects of love to be considered truly romantic.
My latest novel is a little different. I wrote Enemy Of My Enemy with Melissa Mayberry. We took turns writing chapters, me writing the male, Thaddeus Kline, and her writing the girl, Gemma Gage. It was exciting because neither of us knew what the other one would write in response to our own chapter. Now that’s how you keep the readers guessing when the authors don’t even know what’s coming next. It is action/suspense, but romance is an integral part of the story. And in true Travis Casey style, it’s unconventional.
Here’s a little taste:
(But first, a little more information about the book –
Melissa Mayberry and I have joined forces to create a truly unique novel. What makes this suspense thriller exceptional is the fact that we wrote the 70,000 word book with alternating points of view – Melissa writing as Gemma Gage andTravis writing as Thaddeus Kline. There was not a definitive plot to speak of when we began writing it. Throughout the book, neither of us had any idea what the other one would write in response to our own chapter. Now that’s how you keep the readers guessing when the authors don’t even know what’s coming next.
Casey began the book writing the odd number chapters as US Embassy officer, Thaddeus Kline, stationed in London, England. When his wife turns up dead, he blames crime boss Bruce Gage and makes it his mission to find and kill him. Kline sets out for North Carolina determined to settle the score. What he doesn’t count on is coming up against his adversary’s wife, Gemma Gage.
Miss Mayberry followed by writing the even numbered chapters as Gemma Gage. Gemma has her own problems when she makes an unwanted discovery about her husband’s business. When Bruce catches her red-handed scrutinizing his dealings, he retaliates by keeping her captive in her own home facing inevitable death by a Bengal tiger.
When Thaddeus breaks into the Gage mansion looking for Bruce, he gets a whole lot more than he bargained for. The story takes one twist after another when Thaddeus takes Gemma as a hostage cum bargaining chip – but Bruce Gage didn’t get where he was by rolling over easily. Thad and Gemma soon become the hunted themselves and their clashing personalities must join forces to combat a common enemy. As their thirst for revenge deepens, so does their involvement in the fractions of the criminal underworld. Rival gangs fight for their allegiance which leaves them with no alternative except to trust each other. But can they?)
Enjoy the excerpt –
Pushing the window open, I awkwardly slid through. The house stood silent. If Bruce wasn’t home I decided to wait behind the entrance of the front door and blast him when he walked in.
GRRRR! A terrific roar scared the shit out of me. My heart leapt into my throat.
An orange and black flash jumped out of nowhere and charged me, bounding off the marble floor with teeth the size of railroad spikes and an enormous opening between the upper and lower set.
“Holy crap!” I screamed. I lowered the pistol to the beast’s head and fired. And again. It lunged and took a swipe at me, the claw ripping through my jacket and shirt. Blood instantly spewed. I fired again and again until nothing but clicks echoed around the room. “Shit!”
I backed into the far corner of the room. The bleeding tiger fell but got back on his feet. He took slow steps toward me, bearing his teeth. Empty shells tinged off the floor as I emptied the chamber. My hand shook as I shoved more ammo into the hollow cylinder. The tiger continued to skulk toward me. Clicking the cylinder closed, I took careful aim and squeezed the trigger. The bullet hit him right between the eyes. Its body fell with an almighty thud.
Checking my wound, blood trickled from my chest, but it could have been worse. I had to carry on through the house and find Gage. I couldn’t let my mission fail now.
Blond hair and blue eyes appeared from behind the white leather couch. No more than that. Not even the nose, just eyes glaring at me. Fearful eyes.
I locked the gun sight on the exposed forehead. I wanted to see his face one last time before I bought him his ticket to hell.
“Stand up,” I shouted. “You’re gonna pay mother******”
A beautiful face emerged from behind the leather. Hands rose toward the crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling as she got to her feet. Her complexion was smooth, flawless even. Tears dribbled down her cheeks, and her lips quivered. Although she was nice-looking, her face was frazzled. She looked fit, not particularly large breasts, but she was well-toned. Tight fitting designer jeans hugged her petite hips, and she wore a loose fitting white blouse with ruffles on the sleeves. Her grim expression grew in intensity now that she was out in the open.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“Gemma Gage. This is my house, what do you want?”
“Are you married to Bruce?”
I moved in closer, keeping the gun pointed at her head.
“Tell me where your husband is, Mrs. Gage.”
“Over my dead body.”
Stepping in, I pressed the barrel of the gun to her forehead and clicked the hammer back. “That can be arranged.”
Enemy Of My Enemy will be released 26 February 2016
The author is giving away an e copy of Forbidden Trouble to one lucky winner!
To enter leave a comment with an answer to this question –
How likely are you to choose a romance novel written by a man over one written by a woman? That’s All!!
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Winner to be announced Friday, February 19, 2016.
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