People always ask Deanna Wadsworth the same questions. As a straight female, why does she write gay male erotica romance? How did she get started? Where does she get her information? For the 36-year-old member of the Maumee Valley Romance Writers, a local writers’ networking group, it is simply a matter of where her natural talent lies.
“People don’t like my female characters; they say that they’re too stupid or jerks or bitches,” she says. “I prefer to write male characters. To me, romance is romance, it doesn’t matter who your characters are — it’s the heart of the story and the happily ever after.”
And, she’s not a stand-out statistic: around 80 percent of the male gay erotica authors are female. The migration to this genre is due to the fact that traditional romance novels have been written to cover virtually every situation, whereas gay erotica opens up new avenues for creativity.
“People often make the assumption that it’s just like men watching girl on girl porn,” Wadsworth says. “But, the reality is, when we all get together and talk, we are very tired of the classic, contrived romance novels. If you’ve been a romance novel reader your whole life, you can see it coming; you know what is going to happen. When you change it up and use two male or two female characters, it opens up a whole new type of novel that you can write.”
For example, her forthcoming debut full-length novel, Easy Rider, follows a gay male runaway during the nation’s bicentennial weekend, in 1976, a time when homosexuality wasn’t socially accepted. The character is picked up by a biker and together they adventure throughout the states. It’s about finding one’s self and the struggles and triumphs in an intolerant world.
Wadsworth has been writing as long as she can remember. As a kid, in junior high, she used to write “teenage girl angsty Western novels.” Four years ago the happily-married Grand Rapids, Ohio hairdresser, adopted the pen name Deanna Wadsworth and published her first ebook — a traditional romance novella.
“I began writing traditional romance novellas, but some friends said you should write a really dirty Little Red Riding Hood, so, I wrote this really raunchy story, then I met some people at a publishing house and they bought it.”
Then came the move into gay male erotica, a genre in which she has published 11 books. Her husband — whom she has been married to for 16 years — has been very supportive of the transition, although he doesn’t read any of her work: “He doesn’t enjoy reading at all.”
At the salon, her novels are one of the main topics discussed with her customers. Some like her writing, others are freaked out — either way, Deanna Wadsworth is comfortable in her own skin.
“Several customers are fans of my work, and many of them enjoy helping me brainstorm ideas,” she says. “Quite a few of them think it’s strange that I write gay romances, but I’m strange and they all know it, so writing something out of the ‘norm’ just comes with the territory.”
MVRWA Book Lovers’ Event
The Maumee Valley Romance Writers of America “Book Lovers Event” takes place at the Sanger Branch Library, 3030 W. Central Ave., on Saturday, March 23, 10am-2pm. Book Lovers can ask questions of the members and learn tips to become a published author. Also, guests can enjoy a snack, take home free books and listen to readings by published MVRWA authors. For more information, visit