Redressing the Balance or Why I Wrote Gay Noir
I have always been attracted to the 1940’s and 50’s. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps it’s the way people dressed. Men in sharp suits and fedora hats, women in tight dresses and crazy hats. Or maybe it is because the world was still unspoiled; no traffic jams, no plastic waste. The world was bigger then, and more glamorous.
I love watching old films and reading books of that era. Noir books, in particular. They bring me into a sexy world of tough, fast-talking detectives and seductive, double-crossing dames. An exciting world of smugglers, gangsters and spies. I particularly like how dark and twisted the stories are. There are no straight, honest heroes in noir fiction. The characters are cynical, morally skewed and flawed, which makes a refreshing change to the predictability of character and plot arcs of other genres.
Another thing I like about this genre is that, at a time when gay characters were largely absent from fiction, noir was the only genre which acknowledged their existence. Of course, the gay characters in it were usually the villains. They were portrayed as cowardly, or untrustworthy or narcissistic. But what if I redressed the balance? What if we had an exciting, fast-paced thriller, set in the glamorous 40’s and 50’s, filled with intrigue and suspense, where the hero just happened to be gay? Instead of a femme fatale, there’d be an homme fatal, perhaps. Or a tough, wise-cracking P.I . in a slick suit with an eye for handsome men, rather than glamorous showgirls.
It was this notion which led me to write Gay Noir. Inspired by the pulp fiction novels of the 1940's and 50's, the novellas in this anthology emulate the dark, thrilling, sensational and taboo breaking stories of the post war era and gives them a gay twist.
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