Homoerotic Fiction: Straight Up And With A Twist
By Tim Parks
There is a new trend in the writing of homoerotic fiction, an offshoot of “slash fiction,” which started back in the 1970’s with stories of man-on-man action between fictional television characters, such as Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock of “Star Trek.” Today, what began as a fan fiction phenomenon, thanks in large part to the Internet, still thrives on sexualized depictions of figures from popular culture.
But, there is a new emergence in the genre of homoerotic fiction that is also known as “m/m” erotica, with its tales of two male partners and “yaoi,” which is featured in Japanese anime and manga (a Japanese term for comics) fandoms.
There are a group of up-and-coming authors writing this type of fiction, such as Alessia Brio, Karen Frontain, Kay Derwydd, Emily Veinglory, Fae Sutherland, and Marguerite Labbe, who are all straight women that are taking homoerotic storytelling to a whole new level. Even James Buchanan, author of such fare as Twice The Cowboy, Twice The Ride, is a she!
I talked with one such author, who goes by the penname of I.M. Cupnjava and has an upcoming book Full Circle due out this year, to get the scoop on this new wrinkle in an old formula.
Gay and Lesbian Times: How did you get involved with writing homoerotic fiction?
I.M. Cupnjava: I started with fan fiction and I’m not ashamed to admit that. I am, however, ashamed of the quality of my early work. One day, I had a “wouldn’t be hot if…” moment and typed it up.
I had never heard of the genre “homoerotica,” or its brothers “yaoi” and “slash.” Needless to say, I was surprised to learn of the vastness of the genre.
Shortly thereafter, I participated in a discussion where we basically complained about what was available for fans of gay erotica. I mused, “Why is it so wrong to present a hot story with a solid plot about two men, who not only have great sex, but also genuinely care for each other?”
GLT: And, what is your favorite part of writing for this particular genre?
I.M.C.: What’s not to love about homoerotica? From the inquisitive looks I get when I tell people what I write, to the nuts and bolts of putting font on the screen; I love every aspect of writing this genre.
The best element has to be the readers. Homoerotica fans are intelligent, discriminating, and loyal. I get letters from sexual assault victims who tell me they’ve found healing in my work, and that makes all of the long hours and low pay worth it. I adore my reader base. My readers have patiently stood beside me when my publisher closed and they’ve cheered for me when those orphaned stories found new homes.
My fellow homoerotica writers are wonderful, too. I’ve never met such a diverse group of people who intentionally find common ground. We’ve been the clichéd stepchildren of romance writing for a very long time. Some organizations refuse to recognize anything with same-sex couples as romance, some places will not allow us to advertise our work, and many writing groups will not allow us to discuss our genre.
This article was first published in January 2006.