To celebrate Pride Month, I’m sharing a look at the making of my gay romance, A Secret Match. It’s a sizzling contemporary novel set in the world of professional wrestling.
Before we get started, let me answer the question lots of folks may be asking: “Why do you write gay romances? You’re not a man or gay.” I generally respond with: “Why shouldn’t I? I wrote a vampire romance, and I’ve never been a vampire.”
But seriously, I’m a writer. And as a writer, I write whatever story comes to me, whether it’s a contemporary, historical, paranormal, or gay romance. My romances are about people who meet, fall in love, and overcome obstacles to be with each other. This basic philosophy applies whether the characters are same-sex, different sex, or space alien and earth girl. Love is love and romance is romance. I’m not married to one specific genre or heat level. I go where the story and the characters take me.
So, how did A Secret Match come about? I’ve been a wrestling fan my whole life and A Secret Match is a follow-up (of sorts) to my other wrestling romance, A Deceptive Match. That book is about a straight couple (Vin and Danni) and Everett (the main character from A Secret Match) is a secondary character (and Vin’s best friend).
I loved writing for Ev—he’s one of those characters who tries to run away with the book. I always thought that “one day” I’ll give him a story of his own, but I didn’t have a clue as to what the plot would be. I put thoughts of him aside and wrote other books. Then, one morning as I was driving to work, he popped into my head with a four-line book summary. Within an hour, I had the whole story in my head and I started writing the outline.
A big part of the story centers around Everett dealing (or rather, not dealing) with his sexuality and his (un)willingness to be open about who he really is. Ev’s longtime partner, Josh, is tired of being kept in his “walk-in closet” and wants Ev to come out (at least to his friends and family) but Everett is concerned about losing his job. Will fans accept a gay wrestler? How will his boss react? Part of him wants to keep everything just as it is because that’s safe. But another part of him longs to stop hiding the truth.
When I wrote the book, I focused on Ev’s anguish over being caught between two worlds: his job (where his wrestling persona is a horny womanizer) and his secret, private life with Josh. Everett can’t balance the two and worries about what the other wrestlers would think of him coming out.
As Ev tells Vin (while discussing the issue of gay athletes in sports): “… a gay baseball player doesn’t have the type of physical contact with other guys like we do. There are all sorts of issues—changing in the locker room, showering together… Can you imagine some of the things that would go through the guys’ heads when I tried to put a hold on them? You think they wouldn’t freak out when I touched them if they knew?”
Vin’s reply: “You won’t know if you never take the risk.”
And risk Ev does. After he comes out (twice, in fact—I loved writing those scenes!), he discovers a different side to himself, embraces who he is, and even faces down intolerant fans and homophobic coworkers.
I enjoyed showing Everett on his journey of self-acceptance. He’s a bit of a cocky wise-ass, and he’s definitely a fun character to write for. I was glad to give Ev and Josh the happy-ever-after ending they rightly deserve (and some hot love scenes!), because no matter what, love is love, and that’s all that matters.
I hope you’ll check it out. It’s a fun blend of drama, humor, romance, and action that M/M romance fans will love.
Here’s the book summary, links, and a tender excerpt.
Kelli A. Wilkins
A SECRET MATCH
Everett Kinkade is a world-famous professional wrestler and the sexy heartthrob of millions of adoring female fans. But Ev has a secret he doesn’t dare share with anyone. He’s gay.
After years of being Ev’s secret lover, Josh is tired of hiding in the shadows and wants Ev to openly acknowledge their relationship. Coming out is the last thing Ev wants and fears it will ruin his career.
One night in a moment of truth, Everett outs himself on live TV. There’s no going back, and his announcement sparks a firestorm of problems—both personally and professionally. He’s forced to come to grips with who he really is while facing down a manipulative boss and a tag-team out to destroy him.
Torn between living a lie and losing the man he loves, Ev has risked everything… can he find a balance between his career and his heart?
Everett finished his beer and gazed around the living room. It was comforting to have someone to talk to, instead of constantly keeping everything bottled up inside. It had been years since he’d been alone with a guy, and he liked Josh, liked him a lot. But he was worried. What if something went wrong? What if Josh told someone?
Josh gave his shoulder a little shove. “Come on, out with it, Muscles. Either you really love staring at my bookcase, or you’re too shy to face me. I know you’re thinking about something behind those beautiful blue eyes.”
“What? Anything. Say it.”
He sneaked a glance at Josh out of the corner of his eye. “I was wondering what it would feel like to”—he bowed his head—“kiss you.”
“Why don’t we find out?” Josh took Ev’s empty beer bottle and set it down on the marble end table. “Come here.”
He let Josh draw him into his arms. Ev closed his eyes and waited, his heart hammering out of control.
A second later, Josh’s lips gently pressed against his. Ev gasped and kissed him back gingerly. Josh increased the pressure, and their mouths moved in unison. The scent of Josh’s spicy vanilla cologne washed over him and he lost himself in the tender embrace. Josh’s beard grazed his cheek, sending an electric tingle racing up his spine. God, this was good.
He clutched Josh tighter, holding on to him for dear life, not daring to let go. Josh groaned and slid his tongue into his mouth. Dear God, he wasn’t supposed to have these kinds of feelings, this hunger, for another man, but it felt right. The wet heat of Josh’s tongue swirling around his drove him into a frenzy, and he kissed Josh deeper, praying this would never end.
After a few minutes, Josh eased away. “You are amazing. That was hot.”
Ev smiled. “It’s been so long. I forgot how good this could be. I feel safe with you. I really do.”
Josh rested his head on Ev’s chest. “You should, because you are. And don’t worry, we’ll take this slow. You set the pace, Muscles. Whatever you’re comfortable with works for me.”
Order your copy of A SECRET MATCH here:
All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/md6rZb
Visit my NEW site: www.kelliwilkins.com to catch up on ALL of my romances!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
Her latest historical romance, The Viking’s Witch, was released in June 2019. This full-length novel takes place in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual romance with paranormal elements.
In March 2019, Kelli published Dangerous Indenture, a historical mystery romance set in Colonial Pennsylvania. She released the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.
Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.
If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.
Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins and iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins to view her photos.
- About the Author
- Posts in the Past
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.
Her latest novel, “In Another World” was released in January 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.
She also released two horror shorts, “More Than I Bargained For” and “Silent Sentinel” in 2021.
In 2021, Kelli published “Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing.” This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.
Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.