It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
I’ll skip the optional question this month to write instead about my taste in fiction. For those who visit my blog regularly, it would be no surprise that my two favorite genres to read are romance and speculative fiction. And a mix of the two. In recent years, both genres experienced an upsurge of a subgenre of queer romance. Lots of books published in both genres have queer protagonists and/or same sex love stories.
At first, whenever I tried such books – often at a recommendation from my online friends – I ended up disappointed. Until I read Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell and to my surprise liked it a lot. It is a science fiction M/M love story and a delightful book by all accounts. I thought: so I can enjoy an M/M romance after all, if it is handled correctly.
Then I read a fantasy trilogy by A.J. Demas (Sword Dance, Saffron Alley, and Strong Wine) about a pair of male lovers and again enjoyed those books immensely.
After some musing on the subject, I finally figured out what makes such books enjoyable (or not) for me. The main snag is the focus of the story. If the focus is on the characters’ adventures, whatever they are, and the protagonists just happen to be both male or both female and fall in love in the course of their fictional journey, in short if their queer status is accidental to the story, I like it. In such stories, the protagonists might be both males or both females or belong to the opposite sexes, and the plot wouldn’t change one bit.
But if the author makes her story specifically about a queer couple and their travails because they are queer, while everything else that should matter – families, countries, wars, villains, and so on – fall by the wayside, those stories don’t interest me.
What about you? What do you think about such stories?