Now, after eighty something boys-kissing-girls books – 6 so far in this series alone – this is a departure for me and not one I’d ever thought I’d take. I read and love male/male romance but I didn’t think it was a sub-genre that I’d attempt. I know my strengths and I write to them.
And then along came Donovan Bane.
He’s one of the original group of six players that feature in my rugby team, the Sydney Smoke, around which the series is centred. We’ve seen a bit of him in each book and it was always my intention to give him his HEA, as I have the other guys.
All I knew about Dono in the first book (Playing By Her Rules) was that he had been born in New Zealand, his mum was Maori, he was built like a tank and that he was divorced with a daughter. It was also evident at that point, that he was utterly devoted to his little girl who lived with her mother in NZ and that he loved his ex-wife – but not like that. He admired and respected and supported her and loved her as the mother of his child but there were no residual romantic feelings for her which was puzzling because ordinarily for me this would be perfect fodder for a reunion/second chance romance, which I adore.
Another thing I knew about him was that he wasn’t a player like the other single guys. At first, I figured that was because he was very protective of his family but then I got to book two and I realised why.
It hit me. Donovan Bane was gay. Yes, believe it or not, some things are beyond an author’s control and when a character tells you something about themselves – something deep and true and real – you gotta listen to that stuff.
Could I have ignored this and written Donovan as a straight man because writing a MM scared the living daylights out of me? Or rather screwing up a MM scared the living daylights out of me…
But it wouldn’t have been very good. It wouldn’t have been real. It wouldn’t have been honest. Because I wouldn’t have been true to who Donovan is.
Or true to real life either. There are gay men playing football at an elite level in all its forms all over the world. They may not be out, but for damn sure they’re there. Which is sad, don’t you think? That in 2021 people still don’t feel safe enough or welcomed enough or accepted enough to be free and open about who they love?
I’m not going to lie, when it finally came to writing Dono’s story I was nervous. I wanted to get it right. But I was also excited because boys kissing boys is hot. Yeah, I know, there’ll be those who disagree but…I think it’s hot and I know I’m not on my lonesome there – MM romance has a devoted, enthusiastic readership.
And I hope they love some URST (unresolved sexual tension) because the yearning between these two is intense.
Oh my. The yearning.
The way Donovan longs to have this life with Beck he feels he can’t have – not yet anyway. The way they crave each other and not just sexually. Throw in a bunch of secret liaisons which churn with heart pounding heat and excruciatingly awkward shyness and uncertainty and it even had me on the edge of my seat!
But what I think I like most about Dono and Beck’s story is the sweetness of it. As mentioned, there’s plenty of heat, but what I really wanted to portray was the kind of relationship championed in Schitts Creek between David and Patrick. That sweet gentleness, the way those two characters are comfortable with their sexuality, as is the world around them. Their gayness was never an issue – for them or anyone else – and I wanted that most of all for Donovan and Beck.
It’s what I want for everyone – real as well as fictional – because love is love, right?
For those who read it, I hope you enjoy this sweet-with-heat gay romance as much as I did writing it. Thank you for having me here and happy reading!
PS – I have to give a little shout out to the Sydney Convicts who are Australia’s first gay and inclusive rugby union club formed in 2004. How awesome is that?