romance and sexual orientation

So I’ve been reading this online novel that I’m really enjoying, called Captive Prince.

It’s a fantasy novel with a strong touch of erotica. It’s also a romance novel, and the two leads are male. One is a deposed prince warrior who is forced into servitude for the other, the young, brilliant and sometimes twisted prince of the neighbouring kingdom.

This kind of thing is right up my alley. I identify as hetero, but a fantasy story where two such strong and contrasting men fall in love? Brill. And one of the things I love is that the romance doesn’t happen in the same way it would between a man and woman. The story’s very true to who these two men are.

The hero of my first romance novel is very sexually fluid (hey, he spends the first third disguised as a woman). Just to the point where I imagine he would have experimented a bit at Eton. Because that kind of sexuality in the context of a historical romance really appeals to me.

However, the main feedback I got from Kristin Nelson was that it didn’t feel sexy to her. This kind of stuff is HUGELY subjective.

I know there’s a big market for queer romance – it’s one of the things I always defend about the genre. It is in no way exclusively hetero, the way people assume.

BUT I think there seems to be little room for crossover. I’ve thought a lot about having the sub-plot romance in one of my novels be between two men, but I suspect this would alienate the readers of hetero romance. Maybe I’m wrong, though? I know I would love that, as a reader.

Fantasy and romance are both genres with a huge scope for fantasy – and for fantasies which can stretch further than our day-to-day lives do. I think this is something that shouldn’t be tempered by preconceptions of what readers will and won’t like.

About anna cowan

I look around, and here I am - housewife and aspiring romance novelist. This seems unexpected.
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