Bear with me. There is a point to this. It’s not really about writing (or reading) slash. It’s about writing (and reading) fiction, and loving it.
Sonny Bly James, one of the main characters in my Vasquez and James series, is a wild man behind the wheel. Here’s how Luki Vasquez, Sonny’s badass lover (and yes, husband) thinks of it during an iffy moment in the work-in-progress third suspense/romance starring the pair. Finding Jackie. Sonny, an artist, usually soft-spoken and gentle, has responded to an emergency with a promise to get them where they have to go quickly. And he’s driving a huge motor home. And as he hit the highway, he said, “hang on.” (Uh-oh.)
“This worried Luki. By now he was quite used to Sonny’s driving which often seemed wild, but rarely was, because he knew just what he was doing. The vehicle might spin, slide, or skid, but Sonny had control. It was crazy and it made Luki’s stomach do flips, but it didn’t really scare him—it kind of turned him on. But Sonny didn’t usually say, “hang on.” Luki wondered if perhaps he should have used the bathroom while he could.
His knuckles stayed white for the next half hour, until he acclimated himself to the faint squeal of tires, almost rhythmic on the winding road, the whoosh of cars and trucks as The Monster pushed past them, the rising pitch of the engine’s whine as they picked up speed on every downhill. Finally, he started to believe he was safe in Sonny’s hands even in the oversized vehicle, and he started to believe he would make it through without smoking, and he let hands relax in his lap.”
As I said, Sonny is generally a gentle man. He’s a weaver with a deep affinity for beauty and color. He cries when his emotions warrant it and he doesn’t hide his tears, or his fears, or his love. But he also cuts his own firewood and gets good and greasy wrenching on his cars, and—as we have seen—he doesn’t mind driving like a bat out of hell. In fact he loves it.
This is contrary behavior.
When I first learned this about Sonny, it surprised me. And yes I use that language advisedly. He surprised me, even though I supposedly made him up, being the author and all. Not only was I surprised, I was a little pissed off. This behavior was not in my plan for Mr. James. I even tried to undo it, to bend him to my will, to reconstruct Sonny the way he was, dammitalltohell, supposed to be.
Didn’t work. Not at all.
This is what’s wonderful about fiction. Even in a simple romance, the characters get behind the wheel and take the story off-road, and pretty soon the reader (and yes, the author) can do nothing but buckle up and hang on. And as a reader, and as a writer, I am very glad it happens that way. Kind of like life. Seriously–everyone I’ve ever gotten to know, gay, lesbian, trans, bi, or any variety of strait–none have ever turned out to be who I first thought they were. There’s just so much more to a person than you can tell by their looks or their labels.
Still, when I write, I’m the boss! Er… no. They are in charge—the Sonny’s, the Luki’s, the sweet, bad, strong, pliant, ever-surprising men (and maybe women) in my stories who love each other.