Book Tour Stop: On Strong Female Characters in M/M Romance

I have two stops today on the continuing Virtual Book Tour for Sotto Voce, so first I would like to feature my post at the Unabridged Andra book blog, where I got a chance to talk a bit about strong female characters in M/M romance stories.

Not everyone thinks that strong female characters have a place in romance stories featuring men. I disagree, and Sotto Voce is a good example of that. In fact, I think it's safe to say that the two characters in the book with the strongest sense of self—whether you agree with them or not—are the women in their lives.

From my tour post today:

Last week, someone told me that readers of M/M romance don't want female characters in their stories.

I find that odd considering that M/M fiction has such a strong female readership. Whoever these people are that don't want female characters in their novels featuring gay romance, I'm not one of them.

And apparently, I'm not writing for them, either.

That's because some of the strongest characters in Sotto Voce are the female supporting characters, Brooke Clifton and Carmen Sandoval.

These two women have a solid sense of self, and aren't afraid to pursue their dreams. In fact, it's almost a misnomer to call Brooke and Carmen supporting characters, because in many ways, they're the ones pulling the strings.

While the heart of Sotto Voce is a romance between Tom, a wine critic, and Greg, an artisan winemaker, their story would not have happened without the scheming of Brooke and Carmen.

Tom's California odyssey happens because Brooke, his publisher, has plans to increase the stature and ad revenue ofTaste Magazine. She invites Tom to her office under the guise of planning his publication calendar for the year, when she has actually already done that for him, going so far as to having booked his hotel and rental car and having found him a renter for his New York apartment. And the fact that Tom is recently single helps to ensure his participation. Brooke has manipulated him brilliantly, and continues to do so throughout his California assignment.

Carmen Sandoval, the president of a Sonoma trade association, also uses her strong will to shape events. The common link between Tom and Greg—having known Tom since college and becoming one of Greg's closest friends in the Sonoma wine community—Carmen fiercely defends the industry she represents. And while she isn't shy about using friendships to help her achieve her goals, she also quietly goes about protecting the friends and relationships she values.

Both women initially go to great lengths to downplay their mutual vulnerabilityeach otheruntil they find a way to exorcise the demons of their pasts and define their own terms of happiness.

Without the influence of these two strong female characters, the romance between Tom and Greg could never have occurred. So I say, keep bringing the strong female characters in M/M fiction. As allies, antagonists, friends, colleagues, truth-tellers or obstacles, they can add another wrinkle to help bring the story to life.


Interested in winning a free multi-format eBook of Sotto Voce, or maybe a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card? Then stop by the Unabridged Andra blog today, where you can also read an excerpt from Sotto Voce.