I had an interesting encounter today.
I have been writing a story called Devil’s Butterfly.
Efren Wooldrige, a food service manager at a 3 star restaurant Le Petit Chef, is up for a nasty surprise, when he discovers that his mother, whom he hasn’t had any contact for 7 years, has no problem selling him to his new stepbrother Steven Custer for acceptance for her marriage to his father. Served on a plate, hot. But hot food burns your tongue if one isn’t careful.
Steven Custer, a CEO of a large corporation, has no doubt his father loves his new bride. However, the past has taught him that it’s not always the bride one ought to be cautious about. There are always “new” family members, who see no problem swindling their way up using the new family connections. So with the new bride he decides to take the matters in his own hands and prevent the ugly past from repeating again.
So, I was talking about it with some people, whom I’ve known for a long time and they know I’m writing it, because, well, I have done it publicly since January. So, today I was telling them again the main problems, because I may be involved with it 24/7, but I don’t expect others to know my story problems by heart no matter how often we discuss them. And I mentioned that “he had a fall out with his boyfriend” and he looked at me with this incredulous stare and asked, so he is gay? I shrugged that yeah, he is, Efren is gay.
“So it’s that sort of story! Don’t you think you should have mentioned it earlier?”
It kind of floored me.
Let’s leave aside the “that sort of story”, because I really don’t want to discuss gay pride right now. AS the main focus of this story has never been about him being gay. Yes, the character’s mother and friend give him some hard time for it, and that plays role in his decision making, because it is to push him, but other than that it really has no status in the story. And yes, I haven’t mentioned it being a gay love story, because I didn’t think that mattered for the story itself is about a man trying to survive his own inevitable doom as his body is giving up on him! It’s about putting trust in those closest to you and trusting them about your problems! It’s a sort of urban fantasy with a twist!
AND THAT TWIST IS NOT HIM BEING GAY! It is completely unimportant trivia fact about his daily life! But the moment I mentioned it, that story no longer mattered! All the focus was me not mentioning he was gay. They kiss maybe twice (? I can’t remember straight at the moment), hug and sit next to each other. THAT IS IT! But no, it has no importance – the story doesn’t matter.
For that reason alone, for the fact how trivia the whole book became after I mentioned that one word makes me furious. It was exactly that why I didn’t want to put that tag on it. Because you read “gay romance urban mystery” and you expect what?
Honest to god, what do you expect?
I expect a romantic urban mystery with a couple of men. I don’t care if they get in bed or fight over a vacant place on their favorite sofa, but I want a mystery that holds water and perhaps has some urban fantasy elements in it. The relationship will be cherry on the top, but if everything else fails, sorry, no cake.
I’m confused right now. I thought it was decent enough story and people liked the idea of it, the mystery I was weaving and the characters, who are struggling for their lives.
Then what the hell? What does that change if he has a boyfriend? He is still dying, he is still fighting with his stepbrother and trying to keep his mom from acting on her threat! That hasn’t changed!