A Secret Match… An Inside Look
by Romance Author Kelli A. Wilkins
Today I’m sharing an “inside look” at the making of my latest gay romance, A Secret Match.
It’s a contemporary novella set in the world of professional wrestling.
Before we get started, let me answer the question lots of folks may be asking: “Why do you write gay romances? You’re not a man or gay.” I generally respond with: “Why shouldn’t I? I wrote a vampire romance, and I’ve never been a vampire.”
But seriously, I’m a writer. And as a writer, I write whatever romance book comes to me, whether it’s a contemporary, historical, paranormal, or gay romance. My stories are about people who meet, fall in love, and overcome obstacles to be with each other. This basic philosophy applies whether the characters are same-sex, different sex, or space alien and earth girl. Love is love and romance is romance. I’m not married to one specific genre or heat level. I go where the story and the characters take me.
When A Secret Match came out, a friend asked me: “How do you write a gay romance?” I replied: “The same way I write my other romances. I write the story that’s in my head.” For me, writing a M/M romance is no different than writing a romance in any other genre. All the elements of telling any good story: an interesting plot, characters readers care about, sensory details and descriptions, etc., are the same.
So, how did A Secret Match come about? I’ve been a wrestling fan my whole life and A Secret Match is a follow-up (of sorts) to my other wrestling romance, A Perfect Match. That book is about a straight couple (Vin and Danni) and Everett (the main character from A Secret Match) is a secondary character (and Vin’s best friend).
I loved writing for Ev— he’s one of those characters who tries to run away with the book. I always thought “one day” I’ll give him a story of his own, but I didn’t have a clue as to what the plot would be. I put thoughts of him aside and wrote other books. Then, one morning as I was driving to work, he popped into my head with a four-line book summary. Within an hour, I had the whole story in my head and I started writing.
A big part of the storyline centers around Everett dealing (or rather, not dealing) with his sexuality and his (un)willingness to be open about who he really is. Ev’s longtime partner, Josh, is tired of being kept in his “walk-in closet” and wants Ev to come out (at least to his friends and family) but Everett is concerned about losing his job. Will fans accept a gay wrestler? How will his boss react? Part of him wants to keep everything just as it is because that’s safe. But another part of him longs to stop hiding the truth.
When I wrote the book, I focused on Ev’s anguish over being caught between two worlds: his job (where his wrestling persona is a horny womanizer) and his secret, private life with Josh. Everett can’t balance the two and worries about what the other wrestlers would think of him coming out.
As Ev tells Vin as they discuss the issue of gay athletes in sports: “Sure, gay athletes are out there, but a gay baseball player doesn’t have the type of physical contact with other guys like we do. Does he grab other men when he’s all sweaty and crawl on top of them to cover them for a pin? No. There are all sorts of issues—changing in the locker room, showering together… Can you imagine some of the things that would go through the guys’ heads when I tried to put a hold on them? You think they wouldn’t freak out when I touched them if they knew?”
Vin’s reply: “You won’t know if you never take the risk.”
And risk Ev does. After he comes out (twice, in fact—I loved writing those scenes!), he discovers a different side to himself, embraces who he is, and even faces down intolerant fans and homophobic coworkers.
I enjoyed showing Everett on his journey of self-acceptance. He’s a bit of a cocky wise-ass, and definitely a fun character to write for. I was glad to give Ev and Josh the happy-ever-after ending they rightly deserve (and some hot love scenes!), because no matter what, love is love, and that’s all that matters.
I hope you’ll check out the book. (It’s already gotten great reviews.) In the meantime, here’s the summary and a spicy excerpt.
Kelli A. Wilkins
Everett Kinkade is a world-famous professional wrestler and the sexy heartthrob of millions of adoring female fans. But Ev has a secret he doesn’t dare share with anyone. He’s gay.
After years of being Ev’s secret lover, Josh is tired of hiding in the shadows and wants Ev to openly acknowledge their relationship. Coming out is the last thing Ev wants and fears it will ruin his career.
One night in a moment of truth, Everett outs himself on live TV. There’s no going back, and his announcement sparks a firestorm of problems – both personally and professionally. He’s forced to come to grips with who he really is while facing down a tag team out to destroy him.
Torn between living a lie and losing the man he loves, Ev has risked everything… can he find a balance between his career and his heart?
Josh ran his soapy hands down Everett’s chest and ribs. Normally, he loved admiring Ev’s rock-hard naked body, but not today. It pained him to see the man he loved covered in bruises. Were they from those rednecks or had Ev gotten them wrestling? It sickened him to think that Ev put his body through this kind of punishment every night. Was it worth it?
He unhooked the massaging showerhead and rinsed the soap off of Everett’s tanned torso. He watched as it left a white foamy trail down to Ev’s rigid cock.
“My poor love.” Josh kissed a bruise on Ev’s stomach, and he flinched. “Did I hurt you?”
“No, it tickles.”
“What?” Josh looked down and realized the water was spraying on Ev’s balls. He laughed. “Sorry.”
“Don’t apologize. Do it again.”
Ev loved having his balls played with, and sometimes he could make him come just by sucking on them. That was fun, but right now, he wanted something else. “Turn around.”
Everett turned and faced the wall.
Josh soaped his hands, then slid them down Everett’s back and ass. He took his time, massaging Ev’s firm buttocks, cupping and squeezing them lightly. Touching Ev always turned him on. He rinsed Everett’s back with the showerhead, angling it so the soapy water ran down between his cheeks. Ev shivered.
Every so often they liked to spice things up. When they had first made love, Everett was anxious and afraid to be vocal about what he liked. But since then, Ev was willing to try anything, and he liked it when they got naughty.
ABOUT KELLI A. WILKINS
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 90 short stories, 18 romance novels, and 4 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels. Kelli had three romances published in 2014: A Secret Match, Wilderness Bride, and Dangerous Indenture. A Secret Match is her third gay romance. Don’t miss the others: Four Days with Jack and Killer in Wolf’s Clothing.
Kelli publishes a blog: (http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com) filled with excerpts, interviews, writing prompts, and whatever else pops into her head. She also writes a monthly newsletter, Kelli's Quill, and posts on Facebook and Twitter. Kelli invites readers to visit her website, http://www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings.
Catch up with Kelli on the Web:
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Amber Quill Press Author page: http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/149-Kelli-A-Wilkins.aspx