Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Boy Mom Writing Romance

Most people know this about me, but in case you're new...I have boys.

Two of them.

Just boys.  No girls.  Not even a hope for a girl.

You see, my husband has two brothers and no sisters.  His father was also one of three boys and no girls.  His grandfather, while one of (I think) seven kids, only had one sister.

So the day I married Mr. Postman (who was not yet a mailman at the time) I was well aware of the fact that my chances of a girl were VERY slim.  I did have a girl name picked out, on the off chance that some miracle happened, but there was no point.  My little Kathryn was never going to be.

All of that being said, I have now reached the point that I don't really know what I would do with a girl.  I cut my boys' hair, yet I couldn't manage a french braid to save my life.  I am forever doing laundry, yet can you imagine how much more I'd have to do with girls?  My sister (who has three girls) would probably roll her eyes and say that I would be just fine, but I really kind of prefer my life as it is.  

I am a Boy Mom who writes romance novels.  Some people have seriously looked at me and my life and said things like "how do you find the time?" or  "would you let your boys read those?" or "are your books more about the guys than the girls?"

Oddly, I think those people forget that I AM A GIRL!

Just a brief note about my boys, as they are not exactly your typical children.  They are smart.  No...that is actually misleading.  They are SMART!  There I think that emphasis is enough.  

I know that every mother believes that their child is brilliant and creative and oh so special, but I am not just being the proud mom when I say they are geniuses.  I have actual testing to prove it.  And trust me when I say that having a genius child is not a walk in the park.  Having two is double "fun".

My oldest child is firmly on the Autism Spectrum.  He has Asperger's Syndrome and a whole other host of "prizes" to go with that lottery.  His natural leaning is toward math and logic, which is a hallmark for children with Asperger's.  If we can teach this kid to consider the flip-side of every argument, I am pretty sure he could be a world champion debater.

My youngest child is...well, probably a savant, but we haven't gotten there yet.  First we have to get past his ADHD.  He tested as gifted at the age of six.  The problem is, he is gifted in so many areas no one knows what to do with him.  Neither his brain, nor his body can settle on one thing.  His favorite thing in the world is Minecraft, and the only time I've ever seen him sit still is when he's translating a map from a book to the the age of SEVEN!  Can we say future engineer?

We are also heavily involved in Scouting.  I am about to transition into the position on Cub Master for my local Pack.  (Yes, I know, one more thing for people to question whether I have the time to be writing).  However, I love Scouting.  It is in my blood and I am actually looking forward to my new position.

How does this all translate into my writing?  Well, let me answer the other questions first.

Q#1 "How do you find the time?"
A: I just recently started using Google Calendar to make sure I don't double book appointments (which still happens, 'cause this morning found me looking at my Calendar asking how I was going to choose between three really important events happening in the same weekend).  On said Calendar I have appointments scheduled to write.  Twice a month I have a group of writers that I "retreat" with to do nothing but write uninterrupted for three hours.  Basically, I make time.

Q#2 "Would you let your boys read that?"
A: Not at the age of seven and ten, but in a few years...ABSOLUTELY!  The first person to ever buy one of my books was my older brother.  He has read all of them and finds them enjoyable.  A couple of the awesome romance writers I have recently gotten to know through my RWA Chapter, Rose City Romance Writers, are men.  Romance readers (and writers) come from every walk of life.  To pigeon hole anyone like that is to continue the perpetuation that reading Romance is shameful.  That just needs to stop now!

Q#3 "Are your books more about the guys than the girls?"
A: I actually try really hard to balance that dynamic.  To me both main characters are of equal importance in my books.  To make one of them stronger (characteristically) than the other is a disservice to the reader.  A common struggle for my male characters, however, is the fight against emasculation.  Situations that society at-large would deem "unmanly" tend to find their way into my stories.  For example, Jake Marshall's struggle with emotional control.  I hope that people will read my books and see humanity in my characters rather than gender, though.

Finally Q#4 "How does all of this translate into your writing?"
A: I am a fairly emotional writer and I write what I see around me.  Even though I have only boys, they have primarily female friends.  A couple of those friends have already inspired future heroines in my books.  So have conversations I have had with my boys.  One quote, directly out of the mouth of my then five-year old, made its way onto the pages of my second book.

In the end I think it comes down to the need to justify our reading/writing choices.  Why is that necessary?  Why can't we just enjoy what we read and write and move on?  So many authors and readers have answered the call to shout out their desire to break the chains of social bigotry, so here is my war cry:


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