Today I’m hosting Z Allora on my blog. Let’s get to know a little about this author and the background of his writing!
Thank you Christina for having me on your blog and making me feel welcomed.
I know a lot of your readers have never read a gay romance novel but your books invite open minded readers, so I wanted to share with them why I started publishing gay romance. I’ve always written but never thought to publish.
I lived in China for about six years and about three years into my adventure, I realized I knew no openly gay people. It struck me as odd because statistically that made no sense. I’d read studies that suggest at least 10% of people are LGBTQIA, so where were the gay people in China?
Being the big mouthed American I asked, “Where are all the gay people?”
The answer shocked me. “There are no gay people in China.” When I stopped laughing I realized my highly educated and professional friends were quite serious. Many people believed ‘gay’ is just a Western concept.
Around this time, I began to watch Adam Lambert’s American Glam Nation Tour via Youku video (China’s version of Youtube). I couldn’t miss how differently he acted and performed in some states vs. others. In the North and on the coasts, he was open with his sexuality and made out with his bass player, thrilling his fans. But when he played concerts in the South and mid-West his behavior was almost muted. I was fascinated and continued to mark his progress across the USA and overseas. The more progressive the state or country, the freer more open he seemed to be.
I previously lived in Singapore for a year so I knew it is illegal for two men to engage in sexual activity. In the neighboring country of Malaysia, gay activities could get you twenty years in prison and corporal punishment. So when Adam Lambert’s Asian tour was greeted with protests in Malaysia because he’d turn people gay, I realized the world wasn’t as progressive and forward thinking as I had given it credit to be. But what could I do to promote equality and educate?
I believe much of the trouble is people are able to see someone who happens to be gay as “the other”, someone who is nothing like they are. Many people might not know a gay person or might not know that they indeed know a gay person. Gay romance bridges the gap. It allows readers the opportunity to know someone who is gay.
Actually, I tested this theory. I lent a romance series with homoerotic overtones to a young woman who I’d considered quite homophobic. She came back to me devastated when the two men whom she thought were meant to be together didn’t end up with a happy ending. I saw how powerful a story could be and how it helped change her heart. (BTW this young woman is still hooked on gay romance though claims not to read the sex scenes. She now advocates strongly for the gay community).
Watching Adam Lambert and Tommy Ratliff had inspired to write my first hot rocker gay romance: The Dark Angels. Dare I try to publish it? How could I not try to promote equality through happily ever afters? So I gave it a shot.
I believe romance readers all LOVE happily ever afters especially after overcoming obstacles. My hope is that in reading something I’ve written might help a reader to promote and reinforce equality in their world. When all is said and done: love is love.
Visit my blog if you would like to get in touch with me.