Welcome to Josephine Myles Blog Tour! She’s giving away fun!

May and December – writing an m/m romance with an age gap.

I’ve just had my first May and December romance published—or should I call it a May and September romance? You see, the age gap between Ben and Ollie is only thirteen years, which I don’t see as all that big. Twenty year old Ollie isn’t bothered at having a thirty-three year old boyfriend either. No, the only one who seems to have a problem with it is Ben.

While Ben might only be thirty-three (pretty young in my book, seeing as how I’ve passed that age myself), he feels much older. His parents died when he was eighteen, so he raised his much younger sister himself. Taking on that parental responsibility along with managing his diabetes, building up a steady career in computer programming and holding down a mortgage, meant Ben didn’t find much time to enjoy being young. His brief period of hedonism when Zoe left home was cut short by kidney failure, and since then he’s led a half-life as a virtual recluse.

Ben is disgusted with himself for being attracted to someone so very young, yet he can’t get his cute parcel delivery boy out of his mind. One early scene I really enjoyed writing was when Ben can’t cope without his daily Ollie fix over the weekend, so stakes out the local park where Ollie has told him he skates:

What the hell was I doing here? It was no use trying to pretend to myself that I’d just stopped by while in the neighbourhood, because I’d taken a ten-minute detour through Reading traffic to swing by here on my way back from Zoe’s place. No, I had in fact hit a new low: predatory older man stalking nubile twink at the bloody playground. I was a fucking chickenhawk.

Compared to Ben, Ollie does sometimes seem very young indeed. I enjoyed emphasizing this with his skateboard and purple hair, and patterns of speech and phrases to suit his generation. Along with his boundless energy and enthusiasm, Ollie’s youth means he hasn’t yet had time to get established in the world. Not only is he holding down two poorly paid jobs, but he’s vulnerably housed. It would be very easy for the outside world looking on to label him as a gold-digger, out to find a sugar daddy.

Using the difference in their ages to generate conflict was a real gift to me as a writer. Not only was I able to use Zoe’s profound unease at her older brother having a boyfriend younger than her, but Ben’s self-doubts came into play. He finds it very hard to understand why a young thing like Ollie would be attracted to him for himself rather than his material wealth. I’ve always been fascinated by the way material success makes people doubt the motives of others—perhaps because I’ve never had much money myself so I’ve always known my friends love me for who I am, not what I have. I feel deeply sorry for people like Ben, who have allowed their possessions to make them suspicious of others—especially when those others are younger and poorer than themselves.

Of course, being someone who’s always had an attraction to silver foxes, I can perfectly understand what Ollie sees in Ben. Not only does he fancy the pants off Ben, but he admires his maturity and the way he took responsibility for his sister. For Ollie, Ben’s flash car and swanky pad are incidental, and he’d still be just as interested in him without them. Ollie is no vacuous twink, out to get what he can—he just needs a man he can look up to and some stability in his life. He’s keen to point out he’s not after a daddy figure, though:

“Don’t you go stressing about age gaps again. We’re fine.”

“So long as you don’t start calling me Daddy,” I grumbled.

Ollie snorted. “Believe me, one dad and one stepfather is plenty for me. I’m not after another.”

I really enjoyed playing with the age gap between my two heroes in Handle with Care, and letting Ollie gently lead Ben to realise that it really isn’t an issue. Thirteen years might seem like a big gap when the younger partner is twenty, but give them another ten years and it’s not going to raise any eyebrows. Well, perhaps that depends on whether Ollie’s still dying his hair outlandish colours…

So what about you? Do you enjoy reading May and December romances, or do you prefer your romantic heroes to be closer in age? And which is more attractive to you: the smooth skin and boundless energy of youth, or the laughter lines and wisdom of age?

Handle with Care by Josephine Myles – the blog tour

To celebrate the release of my second novel, Handle with Care, I’m on a two week blog tour. A grand prize will be awarded to a randomly chosen commenter during the tour: an exclusive Handle with Care mug (which I’m happy to post worldwide), and a $25 voucher to spend at All Romance eBooks (or alternative ebook retailer of your choice). I’ll make the prize draw on Wednesday 9th May at 9am (GMT), and will announce the winner on my blog. Visit the tour itinerary for a list of all the stops, and comment on each to increase your chances of winning!

http://josephinemyles.com/published-stories/handle-with-care/the-blog-tour/

Blurb:

The best things in life aren’t free…they’re freely given.

Ben Lethbridge doesn’t have many vices left. After raising his little sister to adulthood, he wasted no time making up for the youth he lost to responsible parenting. Two years of partying it up—and ignoring his diabetes—has left him tethered to a home dialysis regimen.

He can do his job from his flat, fortunately, but most of his favourite things are forbidden. Except for DVD porn…and fantasizing over Ollie, the gorgeous, purple-haired skateboarder who delivers it.

Their banter is the highlight of Ben’s lonely day, but his illness-ravaged body is the cruel reality that prevents him from believing they’ll do anything more than flirt. Not to mention the age gap. Still, Ben figures there’s no harm in sprucing himself up a bit.

Then one day, a package accidentally splits open, revealing Ben’s dirty little secret…and an unexpected connection that leaves him wondering if he’s been reading Ollie wrong all this time. There’s only one way to find out: risk showing Ollie every last scar. And hope “far from perfect” is good enough for a chance at love.

Warning: Contains superhero porn comics and a cute, accident-prone delivery guy with colour-changing hair. Readers may experience coffee cravings, an unexpected liking for bad mullets, and the urge to wrap Ollie up and take him home.

Kindle US: http://www.amazon.com/Handle-with-Care-ebook/dp/B0073WI0ZU/
Kindle UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Handle-with-Care-ebook/dp/B0073WI0ZU/
Samhain: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/handle-with-care-p-6754.html

Author Bio:

English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Jo’s website: http://josephinemyles.com/
Email: josephine_myles@yahoo.co.uk
Blog: http://josephinemyles.com/blog/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/josephine.myles
Twitter: @JosephineMyles

22 Comments

Filed under Josephine Myles

22 responses to “Welcome to Josephine Myles Blog Tour! She’s giving away fun!

  1. Joan

    I’m also a fan of May/December romances. However there is a catch – the younger character is sometimes portrayed as a ‘damsel in distress’ and I don’t like it at all. If the younger character depends on his lover entirely – materially & emotionally – I don’t think it’s healthy. Fortunately that’s not an issue in Handle with Care.

    Like

    • Hi Joan – thanks for the vote of confidence. I certainly didn’t want to make Ollie seem like a damsel in distress, as I think he has a resilience that Ben lacks. Any relationship with such a huge power imbalance is a little disturbing – although I’m sure there are couples out there who make it work for them :)

      Like

  2. I actually have dated mostly older men.so i love may december romances!!

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    • Hi Cathy – good to find another fan of the older man! Nothing like a few laughter lines and a sprinkling of grey hair, IMO :D

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      • cathydboyd

        My thoughts exactly!!and the experience and they have had their flings and seem more settle..Know how to treat a woman(or man)

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      • Hi Cathy – WP won’t let me reply directly to you, but thanks for commenting! I’d agree that older men and women seem more settled–unless they’re having a mid life crisis, that is!

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  3. SarahM

    I just finished Handle and I loved it! I don’t generally read May-Dec romances but I didn’t have any issues with the age gap. Like you, I don’t think 13 yrs is that big a difference. And I think Ben needed someone younger to help him be more light-hearted :-)

    smaccall AT comcast.net

    Like

    • Hi Sarah – thanks for letting me know you loved the story! :D

      Ollie’s youthful enthusiasm and optimism are definitely what Ben needs. And when Ollie sees the world in an overly simplistic way, he has Ben there to ground him.

      Like

  4. Katherine H

    Hi, I never really looked at this as a May-December but reading this I can definitely see that view. I guess 13 years isn’t all that big of a difference to me LOL. I have to admit, I kinda like the May-December thing – there’s something about the dynamic that just begs to be played with. And I don’t think age or anything should really matter because as Suze said above “love is love” and I love how both Ben and Ollie (and Ben’s sister) came to realize that by the end of the book.

    great post!

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    • Thanks hon! I don’t think thirteen years is too big a gap myself, but the age difference was definitely something I enjoyed playing with to generate conflict that wasn’t purely about Ben’s state of health (that could have been too angsty)

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  5. I’m a big fan of reading May-December (and May-September) relationships, and I often write age-gaps between my characters as well. I just love playing with those dynamics, especially because often seeing people with large age difference interact, age really doesn’t matter…

    A large part of my interest in the subject is that I’ve always had a thing for older men myself, and am in a May-September relationship myself, with hubby being 9yrs older (well, closer to ten, but we’re not counting :p)

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    • I can see why you’d have that interest, Blaine. I’ve always had a thing for older men too. Patrick Stewart was one of my teenage pin ups!

      I think you’re right – it’s a lovely way of showing that external differences really don’t matter if we connect on a deeper level :)

      Like

  6. Lisa

    I enjoy reading May/December romances. I dated a guy many years ago that was 10 years older than me. Actually, my Dad was 10 years older than my Mom. I also have an aunt that is married to a man that is 12 years younger than her. They’ve been together for over 20 years.

    Like

    • Hi Lisa! I love hearing stories about successful partnerships between older women and younger men – thanks for sharing.

      I think it’s lovely when people make relationships work well, and age needn’t be any kind of barrier. Then again, I’m a huge fan of any kind of “opposites attract” scenario, so the more different a couple in a romance happen to be, the more interested I am in seeing how they make it work :)

      Like

  7. Prue

    I like reading about any sort of romance. I think the May/December romances offer potential for some interesting conflicts — but so do romances where the pair are close in age. It’s all good.

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  8. Suze

    Never had any direct experience of a May/December relationship, though i once worked with a girl who was 10yrs older than her husband. In real life and novels, it has to be ‘love is love’. Having said that, i dont like huge gaps, say over 20 yrs or so, but thats my preference and its not my place to say its wrong.

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    • “Love is love” – what a great motto to write to! I’d find writing an age gap of 20 years or over a real challenge, I admit, but I think JCP did it really well in Magic Mansion.

      Like

  9. My grandmother and her two sisters had May December marriages, each with a 20 year span between themselves and the men they married, and I might say with 3 varying degrees of success although they each stayed married. I do love to read about them as the age difference brings its own set of complications to the relationship. And I absolutely love that cover! I so need this book!

    Like

    • Hi Melanie – your grandmother and her sisters sound a bit like mine – I have two great aunts with boyfriends twenty and thirty years younger than them. They seem to have made it work long term.

      And I’m so glad to hear the cover is doing it’s work selling the story – I’m so happy with Kanaxa’s design!

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  10. LOL — I’m in a bit of a May-September romance myself — I met my husband when I was 20 and he was 31, and our oldest child was born on his 32nd birthday, so I can completely sympathize with Ollie. (Also, really enjoyed Handle With Care; just wanted to say that. :D)

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    • Hi Tracy! Good to hear from someone who’s forged a long term relationship with an age gap. I did have a boyfriend of 31 when I was 18, but it didn’t last long (my fault entirely – I wasn’t mature enough!)

      And I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the read – thanks for letting me know :D

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