My father grew up in Missouri, in the ’50’s. He went into the Army when he was 18 and did that for almost 40 years. Remember Major Dad? That was totally my dad, but he was a colonel. So, I was a little concerned about telling him that I was writing erotic romance novels. It went something like this via text (that’s pretty much the only way we talk):
Me: Hey, I published a book on Amazon.
Dad: Great. I’ll buy it.
Me: You can’t. It’s a romance novel.
Dad: I’ll let your mom read it.
Me: No. You guys can’t read it. It’s very… adult. Sorry.
Dad: We won’t read it.
But he got really excited about it! He started asking me about the prior day’s sales and reviews each morning and how the writing was coming along. My mom told me that he was talking about it constantly. Which is a lot for dad. He’s always been kind of stoic. One day, we’re discussing how I promote the books and this happens:
Me: I love Amazon. It’s been pretty brilliant. I can change anything I want, whenever I want with the books.
Dad: Yes, it is. And so are you.
I cried. Now, we talk about the books and I’ll bounce ideas off of him and he’s super supportive. It’s amazing. When I decided to start writing a gay romance, I wasn’t as worried about telling him and he’s been pretty openminded about it. But those books are definitely off limits. Not that he’d read them. Unless I write a fiction or nonfiction work related to warfare or the history of warfare (which is a good possibility), he’s not going to read any of my books. My parents just aren’t big readers. I can’t explain this.
The other day, we were discussing Mr. Ashwell, the feedback I was getting, who was reading it…
Me: I think it’s going well. Not a lot of reviews but no complaints either. I was seriously worried about the “physiology” of gay sex but I think I did ok.
Dad: Good. I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to know how you know.
Me: I don’t think Stephen King actually knows what it’s like to be a clown-spider monster. I have a strong imagination and Tumblr.
Dad: What’s Tumblr?
Me: Forget that part. Stay away from Tumblr.
Dad: Ok. There aren’t clown-spider monsters to call King on it if he got it wrong.
Me: We’ll have to wait and see. Though I think it’s mostly women reading it.
Dad: Why would women read Dude/Dude romance?
Me: Are you kidding? These are toys we don’t have! I’ve kissed girls but I’ll never be a boy kissing a boy.
Dad: I don’t know what to say to that. But I never would have guessed women would read that.
Me: We’re weird like that.
Dad: True. It’s great you can write as both men and women.
Me: Gay romance isn’t that different from straight. If you take the sex out of Ashwell, it’s still a strong love story and really funny at parts.
Dad: I’m sure it is.
Me: The hardest part of writing gay romance: the pronouns. The easiest part: the puns.
Dad: That’s funny. I can see that.
Me: Kelly says I’m pretty much a dude, so it’s not too much of a stretch for me.
Dad: I can see that too.
Me: I’m not so couth.