WHY I WROTE A ROMANCE FEATURING A TRANSMAN
Bethany asked me to write a guest post for this event and, since I don’t do that very often, I asked her for some advice on what to write about. She suggested I explain why I wrote this book…and I cringed.
See, I wrote this book in retaliation for a statement by a bigot who said transmen weren’t men.
That woman ran a very popular—and influential—M/M book review site, but when she said that, when she dismissed a whole population of readers and writers specifically and a community as a whole, because they had “girly bits,” I was livid. I’m not transgender and, at the time, I only knew of a few people online who were, but that woman’s insistence, her hard line against transmen as being unworthy of her review, killed what respect I had left for her and made me want to write about everything she said we authors couldn’t write.
All those years ago, though, research was a bit harder to find and, suddenly, a couple of dramatic online explosions had me worried I had no business writing M/M as a straight woman. I didn’t want to appropriate anyone’s story. Maybe it was better if transmen wrote about transmen? So I worried and my desire to write this book faded. After all, that woman and her site disappeared and any of her zealots left my awareness. Maybe my contribution wasn’t needed?
But as it usually happens, once born, plot bunnies only get bigger and more insistent. My transman wouldn’t shut up. I couldn’t resist listening. Wylie Jones had arrived. With him came a cast of other college aged men:
- One who liked wearing lingerie and might be genderfluid;
- One who’d struggled to accept his homosexuality and was discovering he might not be done figuring himself out when he’s attracted to a woman;
- One who wanted to be in an open relationship;
- One who had been ripped out of his birth family’s lives only to suddenly find them again.
The first book in this series I created went to the genderfluid guy and hinted at Wylie’s story. But then it came time to give Wylie his own book…and I hesitated. There was more information—more men sharing their journeys in blog posts, videos, and anonymous comments—but it now felt like too much information. Some of what they said was the same for all of them, yet some was as unique as they were. Some of their stories broke my heart, while others made me think the world was a good place after all.
In the end, I had to accept that I’d learned enough and write. I think what pushed me into really believing I’d learned all I could was when I realized all the porn I’d watched featured a man showing off what he had. Typical guy! And I’d already felt like I had a handle on writing men, so I had to tell myself to just write Wylie and see what he had to say.
It turned out that Wylie was in a good place physically and mentally. He knew who he was, accepted himself, and was working on making his body the way he needed it to be. That wasn’t done, wasn’t easy, but he was doing it. He had good days and bad ones. He had a support system. Yes, his mother wasn’t at all onboard with who he was, but he was standing up for himself and not letting her drag him down into the dark.
Wylie’s story, it turned out, was about him helping others be strong.
Yes, there’s a coming out conversation where Wylie tells Grant he’s trans and helps him understand that. There’s a talk about dildos and strap-ons, and Wylie uses them, too. Grant gives him a blowjob. And since I write erotic romances, I spared no details when the clothes came off. I allowed Grant some time to adjust to a new experience, but he realized Wylie was a man like any other, just the same and just as unique.
I still worry sometimes that I didn’t do this “right.” I don’t know if any transmen have read this book and objected to any part of how I wrote Wylie. I comfort myself with the notion that everyone’s experience is different, so maybe Wylie’s is real enough.
And, OK, I’m feeling a little like I’ve kicked that woman’s ass. Don’t ever tell me I can’t write something. 🙂
Wylie Jones is perfectly okay with who he is now that he’s transitioning, but he’s never had a guy stick around long enough to become a boyfriend. When things at home get even worse than they’ve been, he’s ready and willing for a road trip with Grant, regardless of the reason.
Grant Faraday thinks Wylie could be the guy for him. When Grant’s mother passes away just before Christmas and leaves him with the mysterious task of accessing the contents of a safety deposit box in a distant town, Wylie’s the only one Grant wants with him for the trip.
Some secrets are easy for them to accept, but can their brand new relationship survive as past and present collide?
Melissa reviews Have You Seen Me? by Missy Welsh Published December 6th 2016, 114 pages.
This was a cute short story that didn’t suffer too much angst, but is an insta-love romance. I couldn’t stop grinning while reading parts of this book because Wylie and Grant were so cute together. The snuggles, the embarrassments, the corny bi-play between them. They were simply adorable.
They meet at a frat party mid-December and they are both interested in each other and make out that night. They exchange contact information and promise to call and text each other during Christmas break. It’s sad that Grant’s mother passes a few days after that. Even though they have only known each other a few days, Grant asks Wylie if he wants to go with him on his trip to a bank that his mother told him to visit. Wylie agrees to go, but he tells Grant that he is transgender, wanting to make sure that doesn’t change anything between them. Grant doesn’t really care and says so; he has questions but since he likes Wylie (and has been eying him from afar for a while) he doesn’t care beyond wanting to make sure he doesn’t do something to upset Wylie when they make-out – and more. 😉
Wylie’s father and sister have accepted him as transgender, but his mother is still refusing to and continues to call Wylie Whitney, and use “she” instead of “he.” It’s this drama and feelings of rejection by his mother that help him agree to go with Grant on this road trip.
The whole story takes place over roughly a two week period (right before Christmas), and boy – does a lot happen! I wasn’t surprised by what Grant discovers, but I was surprised by how quickly it all unfolded. As I said, this is an insta-love story (very), but it didn’t bother me that much. I don’t know if these men have what it takes to make their relationship last long term (since this was a short story I don’t know that they have much in common beyond attraction), but I think there is the potential for that.
All in all, a nice story that I could read in one sitting and it made me smile. What more can you ask?
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This giveaway will end on September 3rd, 2017 at 11:59 PM CDT.
Missy Welsh stares into space a lot, has conversations with cats, takes notes while people-watching, records conversations (not the ones with cats), named her laptop Norbert and her phone Pushkin, has backups of her backups’ backups, faints at the sight of a misused semi-colon, and will often ask socially unacceptable questions of strangers.
Basically, she’s a writer.
Missy’s website: Missy Welsh