Ins and Outs of M/M Romance: Questions I have been asked by J.P. Bowie

JPBowie-300x400J.P. Bowie is back. This time his topic is all about the questions he has been asked and what the answers are. 🙂 Since I did the big introduction for his first post, all I will do this time is tell you that when you have his longevity in publishing it means that he’s doing a lot of things right.

 Jim has almost 40 books to his credit and he writes stories that range from mysteries, paranormal, historical, westerns, and gay fiction.


Some time ago I was asked this question in an interview: If you had a movie adapted from any of your novels, which famous movie stars would you like to see play the roles?

First, I thought of the movie stars I wouldn’t want to cast in the movie—Tom Cruise immediately sprang to mind. Not that he’s a bad actor, he’s been okay in several movies, but he’s made it clear on several occasions he’s no friend of the gay community.

Hollywood’s penchant for casting straight actors in gay roles has long been a bone of contention for me, so the answer to the question had to be, I couldn’t really think of one famous movie star I’d want to cast. Okay, maybe I’d make an exception for Hugh Jackman. I’ve always thought he was a gay man in a straight man’s body anyway. His portrayal of Peter Allen in The Boy from Oz was remarkable.

So who would I choose? Cheyenne Jackson hasn’t really made a blockbuster movie but he’s proven himself a terrific actor and singer. He’s a definite first choice. Neil Patrick Harris, Chad Allan, Rupert Everett, Robert Gant are all up there in my cast list. Why? Because they’re gay, and being gay means they understand what it is to love another man, not just pretend or act their way through scenes of intimacy.

As good as Brokeback Mountain was, I could never really convince myself that Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal were actually enjoying those open mouthed kisses. And that’s the problem. In gay erotic romance generally there is a lot of kissing. There’s a lot of other stuff as well, but  for me, kissing is where lust, eroticism, love and affection can all come together and be expressed in that one blissful moment. If it’s not done with conviction that moment can be ruined. The guys have got to look like they’re into one another or they’d be better off just shaking hands.

The same holds true in writing erotic fiction. If the reader isn’t convinced the characters are enjoying the hell out of themselves when they’re having sex, the writer has failed to convey the emotional level needed to steam up the reader’s glasses. A visual of two men, two women or a man and woman kissing can be a visceral, titillating experience. A writer should project that same degree of sensuality with some well chosen (hot) descriptive words and phrases.

Another question I’ve been asked is, Where do you get your ideas for the storyline? I have no hard and fast answer for that one. Sometimes ideas just come at me out of the blue—I know, I can hear some of you saying, ‘Yeah, and they read that way too.’ But seriously folks, that can happen, though at other times the plot might come from an idea that’s been mulling about in that increasingly muddled mind of mine for some time.

For instance, when I started writing My Vampire and I it was to be a short story, one in a collection of erotica I’d been thinking about putting together—that’s the mulling thing. But halfway through the first short story, the characters seemed to have a lot more to say and do than I had anticipated, so it became a full length novel, and the first of a series I had never, back then, imagined writing. I expect that’s the out-of-the-blue thingy.

Now, other authors I’ve spoken to tell me, “Oh, I always intended this book to be the first of a series.” I only wish I could be that certain I’d come up with a bunch of plots involving the same characters. My hat goes off to those authors who do just that, and manage to make each sequential story better than the previous one. That’s the secret to a successful series. Each story has to make the reader want more…and more…and sometimes, more.

So all of you out there ready to take the plunge into m/m romantic fiction series, here’s what you do. Dream up two fabulous male characters that every reader is immediately going to love and can’t get enough of, throw them into hair raising situations that has the reader gasping for air, indulging in mind blowing sex that has the reader slack jawed with awe, then follow it up with another and another, and you’ve got a winning series. Easy, eh?

And don’t forget Rick Reed’s sage advice about finding simpatico publishers. A supportive publisher is a bonus in this business. I was fortunate enough to find not one, but two I wouldn’t dream of leaving, along with a fleet of terrific authors who have become what I like to call my cyber family. Writing any kind of book can be rough and tough. Rejection and rotten reviews sting no matter how long you’re in the business, so it’s nice when you have consolation from your family of authors who’ve been there, understand that.

So onward and upward, into the fray we go, waiting for that plotline to smack us up the back of the head, and be the first of a fantastic series that readers will want more and more of – or maybe even a movie director will fall in love with… Cheyenne, I’ll be calling you.

J.P. Bowie’s Contact Information



I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball


  • Sorry so late to the party, I’ve had Internet issues. Then I searched the actors you mentioned and lost myself in a sea of eye candy. I’m back now to say, “Great post!” and I’m right with you on having the support of a writing family.

  • I agree also about gay actors playing gay roles, JP. Except Rupert Everett has become so embittered in the last few years, I couldn’t imagine casting him in anything. Chad Allen, on the other hand? Not only is he h-a-w-t! but seems to be such a great guy. I love his Donald Strachey movies.

    What marks talent in the writing business, to me, isn’t the idea but having the ability to translate the idea into an actual tangible product. Folks have ideas all day long, but so few have any clue how to make them into something. (Or maybe that’s just me.)

    “A writer should project that same degree of sensuality with some well chosen (hot) descriptive words and phrases.”

    Since this is one of my and Wave’s favorite topics, are there any words you would recommend not using?

    • I can see Rupert playing a bitter role – he’s very good with the arched eyebrow. As for not using some words, for me, it’s a matter of balance. If you choose certain words over others ( and I don’t think I have to list them here) you risk teetering on the brink of porn.
      That’s okay if that’s what you’re writing, and there’s loads of it out there, but I think gay erotic romance really should have the emphasis on romance. That’s just my take on it, and not necessarily the yardstick for anyone else to follow.

  • Awesome post and a great topic. I love your books, JP, and any little piece of info/advice I can glean from a master… I’m more than willing to take.

    And I’m going to admit to having something really witty to say… but there’s this picture of two really hot behinds riiiiight over there ~pointing to the right~ that pretty much shut my brain cells down.


  • Those are good questions JP. I’ve often thought the same as you regarding casting straight men in gay roles. I’m much more engaged when I see a gay actor like Cheyenne Jackson or Wilson Cruz in a gay role.
    It’s interesting to hear where the inspiration for your plots originates. Funny how a short story will just take on a life of it’s own and need far more space. Thanks for all of your insights.

    • Sorry I’ve been tardy getting to this – I worked later today – plus it’s my birthday (yeah, another one) and I had to have lunch with friends and blah blah, you know how it goes. Anyway thanks for the good comments. And thanks Wave for letting we writers air our views on your terrific site. That eye candy’s so darned distracting though!

  • Where do you get the ideas?
    I subscribe to a service in North Dakota. $10/month and they send me three ideas a week. So worth it.
    (hat tip to the late, great Lewis Grizzard)

  • Great post, JP. Thank you! I totally agree with you about Brokeback. Great book, eh movie, but it did get people talking so it wasn’t a total loss. I think it’s funny when people ask me where I get my ideas. I got one the other day just by seeing a big, tough-looking, young guy on a bus who was reading a romance novel. As soon as a question pops into my head, there’s no stopping it from building at least into a scene if not an outline. Thanks again for the post, JP!

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