I read Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities a few years ago. Upon completion of the classic, I decided that my next read should be of a somewhat lighter fare. Having never read a book of the erotic nature (and being in the particular mood to do so), I began my search. Before long, I came across Marshall Thornton's Boystown series, which intrigued me because it took place in Chicago and included locations (i.e. bars) I had actually visited.
While the Boystown novellas and novels provided exactly what was to be expected from books with pictures of smooth, muscular torsos on their covers, I was delighted that there was so much more. The main character, private investigator Nick Nowak, is three-dimensional. The crimes and mysteries he investigates are engaging. The series starts in the earlier 80's, and it references a lot of actual history - much of the ongoing story is built around the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. And yes, there was lots of great sex!
To summarize: the series was different from what I expected, but in a good way. I got a great story with a cool character, and I learned something. A part of history that needs to be remembered and understood, for it shaped the way we (both the LGBT community and the world at large) think and act today.
I do not consider The King's Sun as being an erotic novel. No handsome men grace its cover. There are a few sexual encounters, yes, but I did not set out to write a story around those scenes. To me, it is a fantasy story during which some characters meet, like each other, and explore their relationship accordingly. The book has received a few reviews now, a couple of which say something similar to what I thought of the Boystown series: it is different, but in a good way.
Different? I thought when reading them. Different from what?
Aside from Thornton's books, I admit that I have not read a lot of LGBT fiction. A few good ones by Eli Easton (I cannot wait to read her new book, Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride) and Jay Bell (author of the Something Like series, the first of which is now a movie), but I have otherwise stuck to fantasy and sci-fi. I plan to rectify that, as I genuinely want to know!
Not that different is bad. Different is good! Some might not like the Boystown series for discussing the AIDS epidemic. I would not be able to recall the books if they hadn't. Jay Bell's books are coming of age, discovery, and explorative stories. There has been a push to get them into school libraries (with a few scenes edited), and I support that!
In the end, I am glad that some people are reading and enjoying The King's Sun. Whether it was exactly as they expected, threw them some curve balls, or was wildly different than anticipated (hopefully in a good way), as a writer, I can only be happy that my words are being read.