Today, my guest is fellow Lyrical Press author, Gwenna Sebastian who is here to talk about her chosen and loved sub-genre of romance, military M/M. The reason I host guest bloggers is for this very reason, how much do you know about M/M romance? Do you read it? Want to write it? Want to learn more? Then Gwenna's here to help!
Hi, I'm Gwenna Sebastian and I'd like to first thank Rachel for having me as a guest on her blog.
I thought I'd start with a little bit about what I write—which are romances of course! I write military romances, mostly set during Vietnam and WWII. And they are about men. When people find out what I write, they generally have two questions: 1) why Vietnam and 2) why M/M, in the military no less?
I've been fascinated by the Vietnam era for quite a few years and have done an extensive amount of research about it. The Sixties was such a turbulent time in our history, a time when we were not kind to the young men sent into a situation not of their choosing. They were often only eighteen or nineteen years old, never been away from home and then found themselves with a rifle, fighting to survive from day to day.
You learned to rely a great deal on your buddies and sometimes that could become more than just a close friendship.
It was not easy being a homosexual in the Sixties. It didn't have a cute name like "gay" back then. And if you were in the military, it was dangerous. It could get you killed.
It's against this backdrop that I write about men who, despite the odds and the danger, somehow find themselves becoming lovers. Whether it's just a one time fling or a deep emotional attachment that can't be denied but must be hidden at all costs, it makes for exciting storytelling. After all, there was no such thing back then as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
And now, thanks to SEAL Team Six, readers like you want to find out more about men in the military, be it a het or gay relationship. I couldn't be more thrilled!
My first novel, Lost and Found, dealt with Mark, a Vietnam vet who never got past the loss of his lover, Ryan, during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam. He blames himself, and wishes he'd died back there with Ryan. Mark deliberately avoids any chances for friendship or love until a former Marine named Josh comes into his life.
My upcoming new novel, VN2, is a futuristic look at a Vietnam-like war, but it still explores the same issues of intolerance and ignorance with the idea that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Here I give you a fractured military with a caste system of officers, enlisted/NCOs and what are called "Bonded." Bonding is physical, emotional and empathic and occurs between two men. More importantly, it's not a choice for either man.
Bonded pairs, for the most part, aren't looked on favorably. Often they are treated with disdain, ignorance and outright loathing. Lieutenant Ian Davidson finds himself on an unforgiving jungle world, Bonded to Sergeant Nathan Williams. Ian has no idea what it means to be Bonded and decides to fight it with everything he has. He's confused, angry and in tremendous pain from refusing to accept the Bond with Nathan. He's willing to die before submitting to it. All of that changes when Nathan and the team's commander are taken prisoner in a raid on the camp. Now Ian finds out the hard way that he not only needs Nathan, but that he may have fallen in love with him. And that it might be too late to do anything about it.
Thank you again, Rachel, for having me stop by and chat up my love of gay military romances. It was wonderful to be here.
Now available from Lyrical Press: Lost and Found.
Available July 29th from Breathless Press: VN2
Your books sound great, Gwenna! I must admit I have neither written nor read any M/M romance but know it is going from strength, in the US especially. And the fact your books are set against the Vietnam war make them even more interesting. What would you say is the male emotion that should be taken into account first and foremost when writing M/M romance? I know men feel the same emotions as women, yet they express things very differently.
Questions or comments?