We were blessed with the opportunity to interview the prolific Gay Romance Author Mary Calmes.
Mary Calmes believes in romance, happily ever afters, and the faith it takes for her characters to get there. She bleeds coffee, thinks chocolate should be its own food group, and currently lives in Kentucky with a five-pound furry ninja that protects her from baby birds, spiders and the neighbor’s dogs. Join us as we strike a conversation with the popular writer about the thought process involved in the making of her novels and their imaginative worlds!
1) Your novels always have a central character that seem weak, but are innately strong. It could be Jin Rayne from “Change of Heart Series” or Jory Keyes from “A Matter of Time Series” or Stefan Joss from “Timing Series” What did you have in mind while creating these characters?
My purpose in creating all my characters is to make someone strong and powerful who doesn’t have to flaunt their power, either physically, mentally or emotionally. To me, the most interesting character is someone that others might initially underestimate but are also drawn to. They might not understand why they’re interested in them but when the “event” occurs, it all becomes clear. That to me is the best kind of character, the one who is strong at their core.
2) “Change of Heart Series” and “A Matter of Time Series” have strong “Gay for You” vibes. Both Logan Church and Sam Kage are charismatic and similar in quite a few ways. How did you envision these alphas?
Sam Kage in A Matter of Time is bisexual so it may seem like a “gay for you” or “out for you” trope but we discover he is, in fact, bi as he is attracted to both men and women. Logan Church is also bisexual as he was attracted to women and then when Jin came into his life, he wanted Jin more than anything. In Change of Heart, there is also the fated mate trope happening that runs through most shifter books so in Logan’s case, he had no choice. Jin was his other half and that actually bothers Jin quite a bit through the first two books. The whole question of “would you still love me if I wasn’t your mate?” It’s a hard to get around.
When I wrote Sam Kage, I wanted to write a man struggling to define who he was as he was faced with being attracted to a man for the first time in his life. With Logan, the question was more getting his mate to accept him as there was no other possible choice for either of them.
3) “Change of Heart Series” is one of my favorite series. Love, pain, separation. Talk to us about this invariable universe? What is so special about Jin and Logan’s love story?
When I first decided to write shifters, I didn’t want to write wolves. I have since written them, but initially, I wanted to do something different. So instead of using a European, Celtic idea of wolves and the well-known lore, I wanted to create a lore that was Egyptian which is why were-panthers. But the issue became that wolves mate for life, or that’s how the story goes, but cats do not. It’s important to me, when writing shifters, that the animal part is still present. As cats don’t mate for life, I needed a way to make it so Jin and Logan would. Making Jin a reah, a special kind of werepanther, was important for the story to work. Jin can only mate with a semel, a tribe leader, and he’s the only male reah ever born which came with its own set of problems. Later we find out that him being a reah is secondary to his other powers but initially, that “mating for life part” is what makes Jin and Logan unique in my world.
4) Moving onto the next important question. Do you plan to write a spinoff series with Ilia, Jin and Logan’s son? I’m dying to know, what kind of person he will be, when he grows up?
I am planning to write a novella for Ilia and I actually started but it’s sitting. I even had Anne Cain make me a cover so I’m ready.
5) “Romanus Series” is your unusual take on paranormal romance. Writing about gargoyle nobility isn’t an easy job. What made you bring these characters to life and portray their love stories?
Gargoyles, werewolves, cat shifters, there is nothing new about them but to me the interesting part of any shifters is the backstory. I don’t like the easy answer of “poof, it’s magic”. I like to dive deep and make the mythology work in a context of this could really happen. I like the idea of having someone going through their life not knowing their special into something happens that makes them confront some amazing ability that’s been dormant. It’s an old trope but a good one.
6) “A Matter of Time Series” is an another favorite. Jory Keyes is an enigma. It is obvious that Sam Kage could never resist this temptation? How did you visualize this delectable romance?
Jory changes Sam’s perception of his world and the kind of person he is while finding his own way and becoming much stronger himself. It was a growth arc for both of them.
7) Stefan Joss and Rand Holloway’s romance in “Timing Series” is based on the “Enemies to Lovers” trope. Where did you draw inspiration for this series?
Stef and Rand were both initially attracted to one another but when that goes sideways, it’s Stef who becomes Rand’s nemesis. But Rand was never actively participating in that. He was young, he made a mistake, and Stef finds out later that he was basically fighting alone. Rand was never his enemy and that’s the ah-hah moment for him.
8) “Marshals Series” focuses on the dynamics between the main characters Ian Doyle and Miro Jones. It is adorable and endearing. What did you have in mind while scripting this romance?
Miro and Ian are friends to lovers. Miro knows, almost from the beginning, that he would be very good for Ian if Ian would only entertain the possibility of a romance between them. When Ian finally realizes that Miro is more than his friend, but his home, that’s when the epiphany comes in.
9) You surely love writing stories involving royalty, as in evident from “House of Maedoc Series”. A vampyrs Prince falling for a common store owner. Reminds me of folktale romances. How did you come up with this story?
It’s an old trope, the prince falling for the pauper, or the prince finding his princess from the commoners. Very Cinderella. But there are two tropes going in the House of Maedoc series. There is the prince finding a commoner and the commoner ending up having his own powers that he never knew about. Varic is a classic romantic lead, dark and mysterious and maybe a bit scary. Jason is just the nicest guy, the one everyone trusts and loves. They are made for each other.
10) Do you have any favorite book, drama or movie that has left an ever-lasting impression on your mind?
Like everyone else, I love Mr. Darcy. Dane Harcourt in A Matter of Time is modelled after him. But Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorites and Mr. Darcy is perfection. A close runner up is Jamie Fraser and Outlander. A hero who always does the right thing, that is very hard to resist.
11) Do you enjoy reading MM Romance novels written by your contemporary authors? If yes, then who is your current favorite author and why?
I read romance regularly and I have too many favorite authors to ever name just one.
12) Being a Gay Romance Author yourself, what is your opinion about the current status of LGBTQ representation in books?
I love that in mainstream books we are seeing so many LGBTQ+ characters but there should always be more. But also, more diversity period. We need more books that capture the true range of people and their life experiences and there needs to be more dialogue. When you pick up a book about someone completely different from you and learn something brand new, there’s nothing better than that.
13) What are you working on right now? Talk to us about your future books?
At the moment, on my desktop, I have the third House of Maedoc book, the fourth book in my Torus series, and the sequel to Muscle and Bone. So, I better get busy. Thank you so much for having me on your blog.
The BL Xpress would like to thank Mary Calmes for taking the time to answer our questions!
1) mαgdα- mada_rita (IG)
2) Sylver Michaela- @sylver_michaela (IG)
3) Mary Calmes (IG and Twitter)