In my search for male romance authors I came across Lawrence Hall, a relatively new-to-the-scene author whose hilarious social media presence lead me to contacting him for my interview series. He is spitting out books like nobody's business (three books released between October and December!) ranging from paranormal to romantic comedy.
His answers to my questions are totally honest and a little eye-opening in terms of how the romance community can approach male romance authors with the best of intentions and fall flat. And the way he got started writing romance had me laughing out loud. Enjoy his answers!
Romantically Inclined Reviews: Male readers and authors are few and far between in the romance community. I think many female readers are curious what drives some men to become readers and writers of such a female-dominated genre. Were you a romance reader first?
Lawrence Hall: No, I wasn't. But I've always been an avid reader. My mother used to take me and my sisters to the library every summer when we got out of school and we each would walk out with about fifteen books to read. I finished with time to spare. We all did. It was not uncommon for us to fly through those books and make a return trip for more. Plus, my mother didn't want to have to pay the fine, so she made sure we finished reading our books before the due date.
Romantically Inclined Reviews: What drove you to write your first romance novel? What was that experience like?
Lawrence Hall: My wife. She had started reading in the genre. I went to school for screenwriting and media and told her I could write a good one. I asked her if there were any superhero type of romance books. Of course, she said there were, but then i asked her if there were any vigilante superhero type books. She said she wasn't aware of any. So, I said I'd write her a vigilante superhero book. That was about seven years ago. She put me on her TBR list and after waiting seven years for her to finally get to my book, I figured there would be women out there that might bump me up and actually read it. So, I released it. By the way, I'm still on her TBR list. She keeps telling me she'll get to it, but I'm beginning to wonder, lol.
Romantically Inclined Reviews: You write under a pen name. What led to your choice to keep your real identity a secret from your readers? Do your friends/family know you are a romance author?
Lawrence Hall: I write under a pen name just to keep things separate in my head. I have my personal life and my author life. And yes, my parents and my sister know. No one else.
Romantically Inclined Reviews: In what was can writing romance be a challenge for male authors?
Lawrence Hall: Writing romance is just like any other form of storytelling in my opinion. I don't think writing it is a challenge that's any different from writing any other genre. As an author, I write what I know and I do my research on what I don't.
Romantically Inclined Reviews: Do you think that the romance community gives men writing romance a fair shake?
Lawrence Hall: I'll put it like this. I've had my fair share of ladies that say they're "helping me" by telling me what they believe my audience is looking for. I write what I like because, even though I'm a man, I'm confident there are women out there that will like my stories because they are people first. What amazes me is that I've seen more women put all women in a box or category that fits their view than I thought I would.
It's funny because I find myself defending women as people to women more than I thought I would. Just because a reader is a woman doesn't mean all women think the same. This does not mean a woman won't enjoy reading about a female character that has a strength to her, or just because my main character is in shape it doesn't mean that there are women out there who aren't. I've had women tell me that I shouldn't write female characters that are strong or fit because it wasn't realistic. Seriously. My debut novel is about a female police officer. Why wouldn't she be in shape?
Again, I write what I know and I know very mentally strong women and I know women that are in shape, and to think that all women fit into one category kind of boggles my mind a bit. I think that some women just naturally assume that a male author would make the heroine too manly. I don't focus on that. I focus on making my characters real people, with real flaws and real strengths. Whether readers will give me a fair shake or not to find out is another story. I'd say my results have been mixed at best. I won't put the community in a box.
Romantically Inclined Reviews: Are there ways in which we, as a community, could improve on welcoming men into our midst, whether as writers or readers?
Lawrence Hall: I've had women tell me they wonder if a man could make a male character dashing. Why wouldn't I be able to? Just because I'm a man doesn't mean I don't understand romance. This makes little sense to me. Of course, I understand how to romance a woman. I understand how to woo a woman. I understand how to make a woman feel. For some reason, I don't think women believe that it's possible for a man to understand what they like. Um, men spend their lives in pursuit of women, it's one of our most basic desires. Why wouldn't I know these things? So, I think if more women would just be open to the fact that men actually can write romance, you'd see more men in the genre.
Romantically Inclined Reviews: What are your favorite parts about writing romance and the romance community in general?
Lawrence Hall: I'll start with the second part first. I love the romance community! The ones that have given me an opportunity and taken a chance on me are avid readers and very supportive of my work. There seems to be very little competition among everyone and more collaboration than I thought I would see. I love it. My favorite part has to be writing the sex scenes. I love storytelling and I love to have twists and turns in my plots that surprise my readers, taking them on journeys they didn't expect and keeping them in anticipation. But when I get to the sex scenes? Wow.
Lawrence provided his author blurb and it's probably the most unique blurb I've ever read: What do you get when you mix Spartacus with Spaceballs? We’re not sure either, but somewhere in there is Lawrence Hall. A man of few words until he begins speaking, you can often find him with a smile on his face, until he takes a picture. Then he tries to put on his best 1990s hardcore hip hop persona, which would be a mix of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. Unless MC Hammer is on the radio.
Hailing from the capital city of the USA, he has over 10 years of teaching experience. This means Lawrence has mastered the art of daydreaming and not listening, but pretending he hears and sees everything. He’s the perfect chameleon. An avid film buff, and lover of HEA, he’s too much of an optimist to want anything else. His motto: "I may fall like Autumn but I’ll rise a new season." Making his debut in May 2019 as a bona fide romance author, you can check out his debut novel "Vigilante" which is book one in his paranormal romance series now as it's available for all your reading devices. Book two "The Vigilante's Choice" is releasing on October 22nd, 2019. His first romantic comedy novel "The Frog" is coming in November of 2019, and book three "The Vigilante's Assassin" is scheduled for December 2019. His blood type is energy drink.