Today I welcome Haley Walsh to my blog- she is the author of the Skyler Foxe mystery series. She tells us why she writes M/M stories- be sure to click the links for details of her books.
I still get funny looks sometimes from gay men. Yes, I am a woman. And yes, I write about gay men in romantic and erotic clinches. It’s funny, though, that in my mainstream novels no one seems to question why a woman writes a very masculine male character.
Let me just say first that I am a heterosexual woman, but I’ve always identified with male characters. Grew up as a tomboy and never was too much into the female frills thing. But I like the action and adventure that men seemed to have in great tales of valor in books and in movies. Times have changed a bit and for the better with more female characters taking charge, but I am still pretty male-centric when it comes to my own writing.
I know that women are accused of fetishizing gay men just as heterosexual men fetishize lesbians in the porn they like to watch. And I don’t deny that on some levels there must be something of that going on. We identify with the loving of men and so two is better than one. We are also nurturers and we like to hang out and take care of our gay friends. But for me, at least, I am just mostly interested in creating fascinating and multi-layered characters in the books I like to write. Writing male/male stories with an erotic bent became something I did for fun…and as a challenge from my gay acquaintances. There seemed to be a lot of heavy dramatic books by and for GLBT people. My friends wanted something light and funny. They challenged me to do it. I took up the challenge.
My alter ego writes very heavily-researched, densely-prosed medieval mysteries (see http://www.jeriwesterson.com/crispin-guest-mysteries), so taking a staycation near where I live (and in our current time period) was a welcomed relief. I live in the Inland Empire, a rather conservative locale in an otherwise mostly liberal area of southern California. And the homophobia is rampant here. What better way to stick it to the redneck community than to write about gay characters, and with the protagonist being a high school teacher at that. I was also working with kids at the time I started the series and so I had a lot of firsthand knowledge of teen culture both from them and my own son. Skyler Foxe was born out of these experiences.
I wanted happily-ever-after books. I wanted sitcom dialogue and some Scooby-Doo action/adventure, and so I made my high school teacher an amateur sleuth, someone who can’t help himself to solve murders of people he knows. They are fun, farcical, and full of heart. And I took some of the mystery plots right out of real life from my son’s own high school. Truth is stranger than fiction, I can assure you. But no spoilers.
The latest in the series, DESERT FOXE, deals with Skyler and his friends going to the White Party in Palm Springs where Skyler falls into murder and an illegal scheme on the local Indian Reservation. As always, there are unexpected twists, plenty of action, and a slice of erotica thrown into the mix. Next up by Christmas is another novella. The novellas are a resbit from mysteries and murder and take the characters on little plot journeys, just as if their lives kept going after you’ve closed the covers on the last book. It’s called FOXE DEN: SUMMER VACATION, so be on the lookout for that.
I don’t know how long I will continue to write the Skyler series. They are well-received and pretty fun to write, but I’m fairly certain I will find a proper conclusion at some point. Skyler’s story has been special to me. And special to a lot of readers who have expressed to me that they wished they had had a teacher like him when they were struggling with their sexuality in high school. That’s the most satisfying to me, when my work reaches readers on such intimate levels. Then nobody seems to care what my gender is.
The first three books are interconnected with an overarching plot, with cliff hanger endings, what I’ve called the “pilot” to the rest of the series: FOXE TAIL, FOXE HUNT, and OUT-FOXED. The rest follow the action immediately after, but each is a standalone book, although you will want to read them in order to follow the characters’ growth. They are FOXE DEN: HOLIDAY STORIES, FOXE FIRE, and DESERT FOXE. I’ve just started producing the audio books and with the fabulous Joel Leslie as my narrator, they really come to life! He is the perfect Skyler voice. Look for me and upcoming contest giveaways on my website SkylerFoxeMysteries.com when the next audio book releases.
You can find the books at the following links: