A Look Back at Four
Days with Jack – One Year Later
By Kelli A. Wilkins
Today I’m taking a look back at my m/m Amber Allure romance,
Four Days with Jack
. The book was released a year ago, and it was my first gay
I always knew that one day I’d write a gay romance, and I’ve
been batting ideas around in my head for a while. I was in between books and
had just finished editing A Perfect Match when I
heard about the Amber Allure “Postcards from Paradise” line, and I knew I had
my next project.
At first, all I had was a basic plot (straight guy comes out
to his gay best friend), a title, and one pivotal scene that takes place in a
bathroom. (For those of you who have read the book, you know which scene I’m
talking about – but I won’t give it away here!) From there, I let my
imagination wander and came up with the resort, the rest of the plot, and the
unusual cast of characters that Jack and David encounter.
Four Days with Jack
is one of the very few
books I wrote without an outline. I think not having an outline let the
characters write their own story (so to speak), and took the book in new
directions. As I wrote, David quickly revealed a major conflict – inner
David has kept his true desires a
secret from himself and everyone else. He is afraid of what people will think
about him if they know (or even suspect) that he’s gay. How will they react?
Will they judge him? If so, how will his life change?
These aren’t the typical types of
questions that my straight characters have to deal with in their romances. And
this line of thinking really got me wondering about what it’s like for people
to come out in real life. Will they be shunned by friends and family? Should
they tell anyone? Live a lie? Move to a new state? What if they live in a state
that’s more traditional and not gay-friendly? What will their coworkers think? Is
their preference really anybody’s business?
I picked up on this theme of “what
will people think?” and ran with it. In the book, David points out that Jack’s
family (and some friends) disowned him when he came out, and David doesn’t want
to go through the same type of heartache. Jack’s reply is pretty much: “So?
They’ll get over it.”
As I was writing this story, I
considered “what people would think” about this book. How can a woman write a
gay romance? What will people think about the m/m love scenes? Then I reminded
myself that I’m a writer, and I create the characters and scenes that make up
the book. Basically, the story needs to be told, and I’m the one telling it.
I’ve made up all sorts of things: an erotic Bigfoot story, detailed ménage m/m/f
scenes, a first-person vampire love story, and coming soon even a m/m werewolf
Writing these stories is not about
me explaining myself on paper and waiting to be judged; it’s telling the story
about the characters and showing readers what happens to them. It’s called
Writers need to turn off their
internal editors and forge ahead with the story as it should be (and needs to
be) told. If we constantly worried about what grandma would think about our
writing, or if we were afraid to open up and let the characters and story take
us into the bedroom, we’d never write anything except G-rated bedtime fables.
And if a friend/relative/whoever has a problem with the subject matter, Jack’s
right: they’ll get over it.
Recently I read a blog where a
woman was “confessing” to writing an erotic romance, even though she couldn’t
tell anyone about it and wouldn’t “dare” put her real name on the story. I got
to wondering…why? Why hide your writing? And if you’re “ashamed” to be writing
in a particular genre, why invest the time in something you’re not going to
I’m pleased to say that Four
Days with Jack has received great reviews. Here’s a snippet from one:
“...I thought that (Kelli) Wilkins
did a very good job portraying the confused David and the wary, but hopeful,
Jack. David’s inner turmoil and fears about outing himself were so
heartbreaking. I definitely felt for him. A strong romance with very likeable characters.
I’m quite glad that I went ahead and read this story. I learned that as a
romance fan I can definitely appreciate and enjoy those that feature two male
heroes. An emotional, yet sexy coming-out story about two men finally opening
themselves up to the possibility of a great love. It was an excellent
introduction into the world of M/M romance.”--Jennifer, Romance Novel News
When David invited his best
friend along on vacation, he never expected them to fall in love…
Spending four days in a tropical paradise with Jack is a dream come true. For years, David lived a lie and denied his attraction
to Jack. Now that they’re together in an isolated Caribbean resort, he
finally sheds his denial and admits what he really wants—to be Jack’s lover.
Jack is more than willing to
introduce David to the life he has always fantasized about. Their sizzling
nighttime encounters confirm David’s long-hidden desires. But what will happen
when they leave the resort? Will David sacrifice everything to start a new life
with Jack? Or will he go back to his old ways
and risk losing the best friend he ever had?
David popped open the champagne
and poured them each a glass. "A toast. To us. To our new beginning."
"To us," he said,
clinking David's glass and taking a sip of champagne. The bubbles tickled his
nose. "This is excellent, nice and sweet."
"Like you." David set
his glass on the cart and gathered him into his arms. "I want to prove how
much I love you. How much I've always loved you."
Jack closed his eyes as David
kissed him. It was gentle, tender, and made his skin tingle. David really did
love him, and he was thrilled that he was opening up about it. David kissed him
a few more times, then picked up the bowl of strawberries. "Hungry?"
He opened his mouth as David fed
him the sweet fruit. His taste buds came alive, and he sucked on David's
fingertips as he pulled away.
"My turn," David said.
He took a strawberry and ran it along David's lips. David's tongue darted out
and licked a droplet of juice off the end of the strawberry. He wrapped his
lips around it and sucked it from his fingers.
They took turns feeding each
other the tangy fruit and washing it down with champagne. After their third
glass, his head started to buzz. "I think I'm getting drunk."
"Good," David said,
drawing him into his arms for a kiss.
They kissed tenderly at first,
then gave in to their passion. He groaned and kissed David deeper, aching and
yearning for more. David's hot mouth tasted like strawberries and champagne.
David bent his head and kissed
the soft spot on the side of his neck. "Tell me what you like," he
said, grinding his erection against him. "Let me know it's right."
"You're doing fine,"
he replied, yanking David closer. He kissed him hard and plunged his tongue
into his mouth. Kissing was fine, but he wanted more.
"Why don't we go to
"No. Not yet." David
stepped back. "Tonight will be different. Tonight I plan on seducing
He closed his eyes. "Go
right ahead. I'm all yours."
I’m proud of my first gay romance –
and I’m working on more.
I hope you’ll check it out.
Kelli A. Wilkins
See all of Kelli’s romances here: