One of the things I think people will find most interesting about my new release, Hearts of the Hunted, is that it is set in an alternative universe that I have explored before. In this world, super-human abilities, from shape changing to invisibility to pyrokinetics, are triggered through sex with those who have already been Transformed (or Infected, depending on what side you're on). While I've only explored a tiny part of this world, mostly centered in the Midwest of America, reactions worldwide are meant to have been varied and sometimes explosive.
Writing two stories set in the same world presents some issues of continuity, though in this case those issues were pretty minimal. But there is one issue that comes from my choice to tell Camille's story in Hearts of the Hunted that might confuse a few of my readers...
You see, the two stories have two different authors. Don't get me wrong, I am, in fact, one person. I wrote both Hearts of the Hunted, which tell the story of Camille and Hannah, and War and Peace and Brotherhood, which tells the story of Riley and Keith, all by myself. However, my fiction is generally published under one of two names: D.K. Jernigan, which covers all of my m/m erotica, including War and Peace and Brotherhood; and Kathleen Tudor, which covers pretty much anything with a woman involved, somewhere.
When I first wrote War and Peace and Brotherhood, I didn't really consider continuing in the same world. But the character of Camille captured my attention and demanded that I pass the spotlight her way. Which is how I ended up with two stories set in the same world... one gay, and one lesbian, and both, possibly, with completely different readerships. Still not sure if that was a bit crazy, or a great move, but when a story has to be told, it just has to be told!
Apparently, it is unusual for authors of erotic fiction to have such a range in terms of orientation, but I have written and sold stories in just about every possible combination, including gay, straight, lesbian, bi, ménage, and trans*. For me, these stories aren't about the orientation, although I have had the stories themselves tell me they "want" to be something in particular. For me, whoever is falling in love or lust, it's all about the characters—not necessarily the genders.
Whether I am writing a story about a pair of brothers finding themselves involved in a forbidden love, or two women pulled together by circumstance who feel something special sparking between them as they work closely together, the emotions are not necessarily male or female; they are human. Sure, men and women have slightly different takes on feelings and different ways of reacting. However, that process of falling in love, or the feeling of wanting another person, is close to universal. That is what I tap into, or at least try, anyway.
I do feel that anyone who has ever written hetero romance (and therefore has taken into account the feelings of both a man and a woman), is fully capable of writing gay or lesbian fiction as well, but comfort zones and personal turn-ons or turn-offs often play a part as well. For myself, my strange background probably has a lot to do with the fact that I am comfortable with such a wide range!
I was raised very conservatively, and although I always knew I was attracted to women, I also couldn't let go of the idea that I was supposed to be attracted to men. This led to me identifying as bisexual, and eventually marrying a really wonderful man. As I got older and grew into myself, however, I finally got to the point where I couldn't deny that I was, in fact, lesbian.
You might think, "Honey, I'm gay," would be an awkward conversation to have with a spouse, and I guess it was, but when your spouse responds with, "That's okay, I love you and sex doesn't define our relationship," things just get awesome. Het romance? Been there! Lesbian romance? Sort of been there, too. Gay romance? Hey, a girl can imagine...
Have you read War and Peace and Brotherhood from the Fraternal Devotion anthology at Storm Moon Press? Let me know how you think I did, and please check out Camille's story in Hearts of the Hunted.
Kathleen Tudor (aka D.K. Jernigan) is a writer, and editor who sometimes walks on the wild side. Her work has appeared in Boss: To Serve and Be Served, Take Me, and My Boyfriend's Boyfriends from Mischief/HarperCollins, Anything for you: Erotica for Kinky Couples and Best Bondage 2012 from Cleis Press, Hot Under the Collar from Xcite Press, and many other anthologies. She is also co-editor of the Circlet Press anthology, Like Hearts Enchanted, with more forthcoming in 2013. Her novella, Hearts of the Hunted is available now through Storm Moon Press. She can be found via e-mail at PolyKathleen@gmail.com or by visiting her website, KathleenTudor.com.