Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Steve Milton for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.
Title: High School Reunion
Author: Steve Milton
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, Humor/Comedy
Release Date: 10/13/2016
“It’s been twenty years.”
Steve has no interest in his high school reunion, until he remembers the one person who mattered to him back then: Mr. P, his senior-year English teacher. High school was rough for Steve, but Mr. P’s class was an oasis. Listening to Mr. P had sent Steve to pursue writing, and staring at Mr. P’s gorgeous face every morning made Steve come to terms with being gay.
Twenty years after graduation, Steve is decidedly single in Key West, but he can’t stop daydreaming about Mr. P — and sneaking into his upcoming high school reunion is his chance to make daydreams into reality.
“Maybe I’m ready for this now.”
David just got back into teaching after a long break. It wasn’t easy being outed to his wife and his students. After being shamed and fired from teaching, he tried living a new life in New York, but he wanted to get back to Florida and back to being a prep school English teacher.
Suddenly meeting his former student is a jolt back to David’s first days as a teacher, but can that former student be his future?
High School Reunion is a standalone second-chances gay romance with a feel-good HEA, a grumpy writer, a grumpier cat, literary discussions, old country music, Cuban coffee, and love hotter than the Key West sun.
Doing Something New
My initial plan for writing gay romance was to do what no one’s ever done. To completely break conventions of the genre. To throw readers for a big loop.
I was going to write stories with no romance, no HEA, no HFN. I was going to write gritty vignettes about unrequited love, about lonely frustration, about disappointing sexual encounters. I was going to break all the rules.
I’m glad I never went through with the plan.
My initial idea was that giving readers something they totally don’t expect would be a sign of my originality. My brilliance. Note, perhaps by way of excuse, that I come from the world of “artistic” literary fiction, where we like to think that we’re always doing something original — even if we’re following conventions as much as anyone else is, just a different bunch of conventions.
After contemplation and research, I realized that giving my romance readers a porcupine when they expected a puppy would have been a sign not of originality and brilliance, but arrogance and self-absorbed, pig-headed disregard for my audience.
It’s called romance for a reason. And, here is the key point I learned: you are free to write whatever you want, but if it doesn’t fit the requirements of romance, then you can’t call it romance. Just as you can’t call it a spy story if there are no spies. And you can’t call an animal a pig if it doesn’t have a snout. It might be a great animal, a fascinating animal, but it’s still not a pig, and you shouldn’t market it as one. This point seems ridiculously obvious, but when I was starting out, I almost — almost — overlooked it.
So I explored the other extreme: the writers who said that success in the romance genre depends solely on copying the current trends, and sticking as closely as possible to the characters and plots in the genre bestsellers. Some writers who believe that in romance, a book’s popularity is solely a function of how closely the book follows the other books and the trends in the genre. Maybe that’s correct for popularity. Still, that wasn’t and isn’t how I want to write.
Nowadays I know to stick to what’s required of romance. That’s being honest and respectful to my readers. But I also always try to do something different. Maybe it’s because I still believe I can set your hair on fire — in a good way — with something original. Maybe because I believe I should write the books that only I can write, and nobody else could. I pour myself, my feelings, my experience into my books. And I always try to do something a little different.
I think we writers of gay romance are already doing something different within the romance genre by writing about gay relationships. Until the 1990s, the major publishers refused to even call this romance. (Gay romantic stories have existed since ancient times, of course — but let’s ignore that for a minute, so we can all feel a bit more cutting-edge about reading and writing this genre.)
There’s a tension. Or a few different tensions. As romance writers, we have to stick to the genre norms. But as writers of gay romance, we’re already breaking what used to be an inviolable norm of the genre: heterosexual love, one man and one woman. Let’s not forget that calling this kind of story “romance” was unthinkable a few decades ago.
I try to innovate, or at least individualize, my works on top of that. The Mechanic and the Surgeon had a few stream-of-consciousness daydream sequences that some people hated. Other people thought they were poetry. The Pilot and the Professor went into quite detailed discussions of modern philosophy. Swimming to Cuba described gay love between modern-day smugglers — flawed, human criminals trying to make it in the world — neither the sweet cupcake makers nor the cartoonishly alpha-male bad boys that everyone else was writing. And so on.
My newest book, High School Reunion, combines the tried-and-true theme of reunited high school love, with my own variations on the genre. It’s a teacher, not a classmate, who the main character has been pining after. And he’s not sure whether that teacher is even gay. And they bond over the books that they’d read in the teacher’s class twenty years before. And over some gay porn and stuff. And a lot of dumb jokes that are usually in the standard conversational repertoire of gay men, but don’t often show up in gay romance dialogue. That’s another way I’m innovative in the genre: I’m a man writing in a genre overwhelmingly written by women. My characters talk and act like men. Maybe sometimes a little too much so.
Try my books and tell me what you think. I’m always here for your comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
Comment below (with an email address to contact you). If you prefer not to post here, you can email me directly at email@example.com. On November 1, three randomly chosen commenters will receive free copies of High School Reunion.
About the Author
Steve Milton writes gay romances with sweet love, good humor, and hot sex. His stories tend toward the sweet and sexy, with not much angst and definitely no downers. Steve crafts feel-good stories with complex characters and interesting settings. He is a South Florida native, and when he’s not writing, he likes cats, cars, music, and coffee.
You can sign up for Steve’s email list: http://eepurl.com/bYQboP
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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