Guest Post: How I Came to Write Gay (Asian Male/Western Male) Romance Novels | Speaking of China

17 Responses

  1. Sveta
    Sveta December 4, 2015 at 8:47 am | | Reply

    Wow, this is different. Due to my background, my name and my interests, I’ve pretty much felt like a drifting island. Neither books or TV that was available at the time I was growing up from a kid into an adult helped me feel good and confident about myself. I’m not a published writer, but I think that’s the primary reason I turned to writing, although my stories end ambiguously, which is another whole issue I’d rather not get into. Anyways, good luck with life!

    1. Atom Yang
      Atom Yang December 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm | | Reply

      Hi Sveta!

      Thank you for your comment! Writing is a wonderful refuge, as well as a way to create a place for ourselves in the world. Perhaps your stories will one day help someone else anchor themselves.

      Best wishes,


  2. Atom Yang
    Atom Yang December 4, 2015 at 5:15 pm | | Reply

    Hi Jocelyn!

    I wanted to thank you again for having me as a guest on your blog! It’s an honor to share my book and personal story with your readers.

    Best wishes,


  3. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody December 4, 2015 at 6:39 pm | | Reply

    I realize you’re talking about the masculine ideal between men in the West, but I would like to offer another perspective as someone who has tastes that differ to some degree from the norm (I’m a straight American woman). I am obviously not qualified to speak for men, but it seems to me that they wouldn’t be all that different in their taste in men than women are (or am I wrong about that? I could be wrong).

    And at least for me, it’s not at all true that Westerners prefer rugged / muscular / athletic / stoic / individualistic men. Individualistic OK, in that we tend to expect people of both genders to be somewhat independent by their early 20s, but I personally actually go for the intelligent/scholarly/refined/sensitive demeanor type men (the only reason I don’t add “slim”, although I kinda like tall skinny guys, is that I am not slim myself). In fact I married exactly this kind of guy. He’s got a “dad bod” (which is so hot), and mainly comes off as bookish, academic and quiet. Which I totally love!

    And I know you are talking about same-sex relationships, but when people talk about opposite-sex relationships and say such nonsense like “you have to let the man take the lead, men love the hunt” or “it’s just natural that the man would take charge” or “men like women who make them feel strong, women like men who make them feel protected”, all I can do is laugh, because…nope. Not for me. Not in my experience, and if it were true I’d be single because I can’t and won’t change my personality to fit that norm.

    So hey, take heart, we don’t all think in the stereotypical way. Though I bet you already know that!

    1. A & M
      A & M December 5, 2015 at 3:21 pm | | Reply

      > intelligent/scholarly/refined/sensitive demeanor type men (the only

      In China, and much of East Asia, this is the standard of Masculinity that is set as the ideal. It’s actually called Wu/Wen. The idea of that the ideal man possess not only outward strength, but also the strong mental fortitude of a Scholar.

      1. Atom Yang
        Atom Yang December 7, 2015 at 4:07 pm | | Reply

        Hi A & M,

        Thanks for sharing that–it’s exactly what I was talking about! 🙂

    2. Atom Yang
      Atom Yang December 7, 2015 at 3:44 pm | | Reply

      Hi Jenna!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      I agree with much of what you wrote, and that not all Westerners will fit into my generalization (using a lot of data to create a pattern that can be applied to smaller examples for efficiency’s sake)–which was definitely not intended to be a *stereotype* (something that excludes exceptions and individual details, such as what you find attractive, for example).

      That said, I do disagree that gay men are just straight women inside (or vice versa), and that one group’s experience and socialization can be applied to another group. Although some gay men may be attracted to straight men, and this looks like a crossover into what straight women are attracted to, it ignores the socialization that gay men go through to hate their own gayness, to have their gayness associated with femininity (because of the assumption that you can only be female if you’re attracted to a male), or the existence of gay culture which has its own aesthetics (which, strangely enough, has influenced the mainstream straight male population–remember the “metrosexual”! 🙂 ).

      As for individualistic–I see that as different from “independent.” Individualistic is more, “every man for himself,” or the idea of a lone hero, like Superman, saving the day. Independent is about being able to take care of yourself and meet your own needs, for the most part.

      Anyway, I’m glad you found your mate and that you each complement and accept one another. We’re all looking for our specific partner, while some generalizations can be made about cultural norms that may not necessarily apply to each individual.

  4. Timo
    Timo December 5, 2015 at 3:50 am | | Reply

    How nice to read also about AMWM stories 🙂
    Back when I lived in Finland I knew several AMWM couples from university though I lost contact to all of them except one who was a more close family friend from our language studies.
    In Germany however I realized that AMWM couples often do have the same stigma as their WMAF (old Western dude and young Asian girl). I don’t know why I encountered it here in Germany like that but I guess it is also because in good old Germany they just love to put people into a stereotype shoebox, hope you ain’t encountering similar things over there as I have seen in the past year since living in this country. Saying this as even though both me and my wife are both same age people still give us from time to time those disgusting looks aka only marrying for Visa etc…

    1. Atom Yang
      Atom Yang December 7, 2015 at 3:49 pm | | Reply

      Hi Timo!

      Thanks for your comment!

      Yes, unfortunately, people love to label and stereotype. They almost can’t help, it’s part of human psychology! The assumptions aren’t pretty, and I’m sorry that people probably have negative thoughts about you and your spouse.

      It’s an interesting dynamic, the older Western man with the younger Eastern man. I’ve not explored the reasons behind it, although I know in the East, age is more respected, and perhaps there’s an aesthetic and romantic appreciation for someone who is more mature. Not all cultures worship youth, right? In Western culture, we have terms like “cradle robber” and “cougar” for older people who like much younger partners. The thing is, if we assume the younger person is also attracted to the older person, what do we call them?

      It bears exploring more, yes? 🙂 Maybe in a future novel of mine!

  5. Autumn
    Autumn December 5, 2015 at 8:28 am | | Reply

    What a beautifully written and touching post. It made me tear up. This was somewhat problematic, as I was serving on a jury. In Compton. Nothing like sniffling and wiping your eyes on your way into the courtroom. Because then the judge interrogates you to make sure you are still mentally fit to serve. If I hadn’t been under oath, I could have claimed emotional distress and maybe gotten excused…

    So maybe a hanky warning next time, Jocelyn?

    But thanks to Atom. I never considered the stereotypes and their impact on same sex couples before. I am so glad you followed your bliss and your story has a happy ending.

    And now I’m tearing up again. Thank God I didn’t read again and post a comment until I got home. 🙂

    Atom, if you read these comments, I’m curious — how much of your real relationship sneaks into your stories? And is your partner okay with this?

    1. Atom Yang
      Atom Yang December 7, 2015 at 3:56 pm | | Reply

      Hello Autumn!

      Well, that was a very sweet comment you made, thank you. 🙂 I got all sniffly reading about you getting sniffly! Thanks for appreciating what I had to share.

      To answer your question, I bring in my personal experiences to the stories I write, and sometimes that involves my partner. He’s totally cool with it, and is incredibly supportive (I really don’t know how I got this lucky). My book, “Red Envelope,” is inspired by our experience going to my family’s New Year celebration–nothing in the book happened in real life, but the feelings are all true–one of my uncles did recently pass away, my relatives did accept us, and in the end, love didn’t so much conquer everything, as it gave perspective to everything and taught us what was important.

      P.S. I’m sorry about jury duty.
      P.P.S. I admire your honesty and that you didn’t perjure yourself. 🙂

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