Katherine Cross is a new author, and her first story released is a male/male/female menage set at Christmas, with a sort of fantasy/paranormal element. Different and delicious. She agreed to talk about what it was like creating that first story. She sounds like an erudite and experienced lady.
Seren: You have your first book out with Ellora's Cave. What gave you the idea for this story? Why did you decide to include male-on-male sex in the menage a trois relationship?
Katherine: My first book with Ellora's Cave is a Christmas Quickie called Nutcracker Prince. I've always been fascinated by the Nutcracker ballet—it's a yearly tradition in my family—so it seemed only natural to use that as the base idea for my story. As for the M/M sex in the ménage a trois relationship… I prefer an equal romantic triangle when writing. While I enjoy reading M/F/M fiction, I tend to want to write relationships where all partners are equals.
Seren: Why do you think m/m has recently become such a big fad with women romance readers?
Katherine: Actually, there is nothing new about M/M. M/M has been around for a very long time, gaining widespread recognition during the 70's due to Star Trek fanzines and the popularity of the Kirk/Spock romantic pairing. Fan communities centering around M/M romances (called slash as a result of the slash mark used between the two character names) have been around for many years; however, it has only recently "broken out" amongst erotic romance publishers. I'm not certain why that is, but I have a few guesses. One guess is that Romance's trend toward Paranormal and Futuristic has opened the genre up to these fan communities—many Romance writers now write what these fans want to read. TOR has opened a Romance line, Harlequin has opened a Fantasy line… Speculative Fiction and Romance are blending together to a certain extent, which has encouraged readers to cross over. As these readers and writers bring their genre tropes into Romance, "old-time" Romance readers are realizing that hey, M/M is pretty darn hot.
Seren: Do you think romance readers are as interested in just two men as they are in man/man/woman menages?
Katherine: That's a tricky question. I think that as a whole, M/M/F is easier for a lot of people to swallow than M/M, so it's embraced more fully. M/M/F takes the excitement and eroticism of M/M and makes it accessible to women. It's really the best of both worlds—two hot guys who are into each other but who are also interested in *me*? What's not to like? I do think there is a definite market for M/M and that there are many readers who want (pardon the pun) straight M/M, but M/M/F has the ability to reach a wider audience.
Seren: The one everyone really wants to know: How do you research your male-on-male sex scenes? Do you think they are realistic?
Katherine: As much as I'd like to say I have two boyfriends stashed away at home… I'll go for honesty and say reading. I'm a big fan of M/M and M/M/F and I read a great deal. Gay fiction, gay romances, stories written by men, stories written by women… A large part of a writer's education is through reading and internalizing what we read. I also ask questions, make it my business to meet people who have hands-on experience and do research. As for realism, I'd have to answer yes and no. Women writing gay sex will naturally approach gay sex from a feminine point of view. I can differentiate between the reality and the fantasy of M/M and M/M/F just as I can differentiate between the reality and fantasy of M/F. Romances typically offer a somewhat idealized vision of sex and romance no matter the gender of the participants—no one wants to read about morning breath, after all. It's my job as a writer to understand the reality, recognize the fantasy and give the readers something in between the two.
Seren: Do you have more stories coming? And if so, will some or all include m/m or m/m/f?
Katherine: I do have more stories coming. I am just now finishing a M/M historical set on a British Navy ship of the line during the Napoleonic wars called Lover's Knots. I also have a M/M/F demon ménage called Devil's Night, which has been a lot of fun to write. Along with these, I have several M/F books, including a necromancer/nephilim story called Death-Speaker, which will be included in the Ellora's Cavemen Seasons of Seduction volume IV. It releases in digital and print on December 22 nd.
Thank you very much, Katherine!
Katherine's web site is http://katherine-cross.com/
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nutcracker Prince: ebook at Ellora's Cave; $2.99 download