Ladies and gentlemen...here we go.
Let's talk about To Hate and to Hold.
This is the first M/M book I ever wrote, and to date, it's my best selling book of all time. It's the book that people think of first when they think of Dakota Rebel. And it was inspired by Drarry FanFiction.
There it is. My dirty little secret is out.
Let me be clear that it wasn't inspired by a specific story. But by the fact that this amazing world exists at all. The thin line between love and hate is no better expressed than in the non-cannon world of Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy FanFiction.
Enemies to Lovers is a time honored, well documented trope in the world of romance. The belief that to hate anyone THAT much, there must be strong feelings. And sometimes, that feeling isn't really dislike. It's wanting the unattainable. It's wanting something you can't have, so badly, that you convince yourself you never wanted it in the first place.
It's sour grapes syndrome.
So while thinking about the hatred between Harry and Draco, I wondered what would happen, if two vampires who loathed each other, were forced into a marriage and made to understand each other better. What if they didn't really hate each other, just thought a relationship was not something they could have, so they turned to anger and violence instead.
And this, my lovelies, is why Ethan and Jamie were only ever men. They beat the shit out of each other. And that behavior is just NOT sexy when it's a man and woman, you know. Double standard, that. But whatever, sexy fist fights is not really the point of this post.
When I got the idea for To Hate and To Hold, I didn't even really realize that I could write this kind of book. I mean, can a woman write about two gay men? As I've been saying all week, you can't just take a female and make her male and expect it to work.
It's not just about anatomy either. Though that's a big part of it. It's about the way men think, the way they feel, the way they express themselves...or don't. All of these things have to be carefully written, or no one will ever buy into your story.
Ethan and Jamie were the best main characters I could have ever hoped to be given. They practically spoke their story to me. They told me how it felt. What hurt. What should and shouldn't be done. I know it probably sounds crazy, but they completely guided me through this story.
You'd never know from reading it that it was inspired by Drarry. There are no wizards or anything. And when I say inspired, I mean that in the loosest of terms. This book is not, in itself, fanfiction. There is no reference, no matter how slight, to Harry Potter in any way.
This was the first of many M/M romances that were made possible because of the amazing men and women who write in this genre. Whether it be FanFiction or mainstream romance. Since then, I've written other boys that have threatened to dethrone Ethan and Jamie from the top of my favorites list.
Alex and Noah, for example, are real close. Beach Boys was the very first Gay For You romance I'd ever written. The rest of my boys knew their preferences long before their stories came along. But Noah...ugh. Sweet, naive little Noah. He had to learn and his story is so cute I could still cry over it.
So, there's my confession. I started writing M/M because I loved FanFiction so much, that I couldn't help wanting to showcase the love between two big, strong, stubborn men.
Do you love FanFic? What's your favorite OTP?
I'll be featuring more FanFiction Fridays here on the blog. Sharing recs for my favorite stories, telling what my favorite tropes are and begging you to tell me your faves as well.