I’m pleased* to say that Loveswept, an imprint of Penguin Random House, will be publishing my Regency gay romance trilogy Society of Gentlemen, starting August 2015.
*pleased, n., Brit. Leaping up and down, squealing with joy, and running in circles making noises only audible to dogs
This is Loveswept’s first queer romance. I am absolutely delighted to be doing this with them. Here’s what Society of Gentlemen is about:
Society of Gentlemen is set at a time of incredible privilege for the few and social turmoil for the many. Regency England is torn by war, poverty and social unrest, ruled by a draconian government. People are starving, rioting, rebelling. But the aristocrats dance on, in their glittering existence of balls, gambling, silks and scandal…
The trilogy covers three couples between autumn 1819 and spring 1820. A young Radical discovers his noble birth and is catapulted into a world of privilege, fashion and murder with a dandy as his guide. A government official and a revolutionary seditionist find common ground in their unconventional desires, under the threat of the gallows. And a lord in love with his valet struggles to find a way across the social abyss that divides them.
I am running out of adjectives for how thrilled I am about this. Obviously because me! Trilogy! Loveswept! Penguin Random House! ME!!! But there’s another reason which is a great deal more serious and less about my kudzu-like ego.
Back in August, I was involved in the conversations that led to Queer Romance Month. One of the reasons a group of authors put QRM together was our frustration with the idea that queer romance is a subgenre of romance, like erotic or historical — something distinct from, you know, basic default romance. Sure, queer romance is a specific thing that people look for, for good reasons, and marketing requires all books to be tagged in such a way that people can find them. But queer protagonists are as valid as any other, those love stories are as important as any other, and those books might need to be tagged but they sure as hell don’t need to be segregated, to be published and reviewed and treated as something inherently different.
That was what I wrote about in the first post to go up on the QRM site, ‘Love is Not a Subgenre’.
Women are not a subgenre of men, and queer is not a subgenre of straight, and multicultural romance is not a subgenre of romance about white people. … It shouldn’t be ‘making it a factor’ to have other characters taking centre stage. It should just be a reflection of our world, where actually lots of people are gay or female or Asian or trans or mixed race or bi or asexual or or or.
I believe passionately that the big romance publishers should be publishing all kinds of romance, queer and het, with protagonists of whatever age or race or colour or creed or gender identity. Tag them for search, yes, just as you’d tag any book. But publish it all together.
I’m delighted my trilogy will be Loveswept’s first gay romance, to join the other books putting queer romance in the mainstream. I hope there will be many more, with gay and lesbian and trans and bi and many other protagonists telling their stories alongside their het counterparts until it becomes, as it should be, an unremarkable thing.
One swallow doesn’t make a summer and all that. But I find it intensely pleasing that I wrote ‘Love is not a Subgenre’ out of frustration on this very topic when we began setting up Queer Romance Month in August, yet that I can announce this trilogy while QRM is still running in October. And I’d like to see this deal as a sign of better things on the way in the genre, a broader and more inclusive reach. Because as I said in my QRM post, it’s pretty simple really. Queer romance is romance, people are people, love is love, and we can all use another good book.
A Fashionable Indulgence (Society of Gentlemen 1) will be out from Loveswept in August 2015.
For a taster of the Society of Gentlemen world, my short story ‘The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh’ features two characters who will appear in the trilogy. It’s in the anthology Another Place in Time, available on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and ARe, along with five fabulous m/m historical romances by five of my favourite writers, and is a Dear Author Recommended Read. All proceeds from its sale go to support AllOut.org., so go buy it, okay?
Read more on ‘The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh’ and my inspiration for Society of Gentlemen here.
Flight of Magpies, the third in my Charm of Magpies trilogy, is out on 28 October, and the blog tour with giveaway starts at Love Bytes 22 October. God forfend I should shut up about me any time soon.
If you’re new to queer romance, hit me up here or on Twitter @kj_charles for recs, or visit Queer Romance Month for fascinating posts, flash fiction, giveaways and tons of good book advice.