Why Historical Gay Fiction?

11 November 2016 by , No Comments

Did you know a gay man helped George Washington win the American Revolution? (His Name was Baron von Steuben and was German!) Did you know that President James Buchanan was almost certainly gay? How about Leonardo da Vinci, Richard the Lionhearted, or Eleanor Roosevelt?

The answer is almost certainly “no.”

That is why I write gay historical fiction.

baron_steuben_by_peale_1780I can’t claim I set out with some kind of noble desire to set the record straight, so to speak. But as someone who loves books and words and history, and as someone determined to make the world a better place for the LGBT community, I guess it wasn’t entirely surprising that my books would turn out to have queer content.

The inspiration for Man & Beast came about when I happened to catch an episode of a kid’s show about Johnny Appleseed. Did you know Johnny Appleseed was a real person? His name was John Chapman and he actually led a pretty fascinating existence.

The episode of the kid’s show purported to explain how John Chapman came to be Johnny Appleseed and according to the episode, it largely had to do with John’s feelings for a woman. I’m not sure how I knew this, but somewhere along the line I’d heard John had been a lifelong bachelor.

Intrigued, I started doing research. Sure enough, in all of the documentation of John Chapman’s life there was nothing about him ever being involved with a woman.

He did, however, spend a lot of time on the frontier in the company of men.

And that got me to thinking: Why would a relatively well-educated, soft-spoken man with a fondness for animals leave his home in Massachusetts and head out west for the wilds of the American frontier?

Perhaps he had something to hide. Perhaps, like many gay men once had to do, John Chapman went as far away as he could so he could live the life that he wanted.

And Man & Beast was born.

I’ve no definitive proof John Chapman was gay. And there is no proof that he wasn’t.

But I think I’m probably closer to the truth than that kid’s show was. And while it might seem like a silly issue, I think in a society that still pinkwashes its past, setting the record “gay” is something to aspire to.

Don’t worry though, my books aren’t history lessons. They’re sexy as hell, exciting, and filled with characters that I think you’ll fall in love with!

Interested in reading Man & Beast or Man & Monster? Head over here and here!

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