Interview in Canada’s Globe & Mail newspaper

Erastes, Heidi Cullinan and I were interviewed last year by a reporter from the Globe and Mail, and they clearly saved the feature up so that they could post it around Valentine’s Day:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/valentines-day/what-women-want-gay-male-romance-novels/article1902774/

It’s a lot less hostile in tone than some of these things, as long as you don’t read the comments.  (Seriously – don’t read the comments unless you’re feeling up to a dose of homophobia).  A couple of factual errors – Erastes isn’t married, let alone been married for 15 years.  I’m not Irish unless you count being born in N.Ireland to English parents as making me Irish.

I was at first a bit disappointed by how – when my position was simplified to fit into a couple of paragraphs – it felt as if I was misrepresented.  For example, I may write this stuff as an expression of my own being, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not also invested in the idea that writing it can be a kind of advocacy (and that I am also involved in advocacy outside writing.)  But I think that if I have only reached the stage of “queer in various ways that require a lengthy explanation” about my own gender/sexuality after 45 years of living with it, it is unreasonable of me to expect a reporter to sum it up perfectly in two paragraphs after half an hour on the phone.  My mistake, I think, is in trying to explain it, rather than just using the word “genderqueer” as convenient shorthand.  I don’t like to apply labels to myself or to anyone else, since I know how rarely labels actually fit the full complexity of a real person, but I can see that sometimes they come in useful.

(Though, having said that, the persistent refusal of reporters to remember that Erastes is Bi, even though she always says so, means that, if I go for the convenient shorthand, it probably won’t make any difference.)

Meanwhile I continue to be a voice crying in the wilderness “I don’t write porn, dammit!”

Sometimes the fact that everyone assumes that I do makes me wonder if they are right and I am just deluding myself.  But then I look again at mainstream het romance novels and see that plenty of them have more sex scenes than mine.  If they aren’t porn, then my novels aren’t either.  I know I keep going on about this, but I think it’s an important distinction.  I write about love.  Love is what interests me.  Doing that, I must include sex, because sex is part of romantic love.  But reducing love to sex is a sad and stupid thing to do, and that is what people are doing when they treat romance as porn.


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