I first met award-winning author Laura Baumbach years ago at a Toronto Pride street fair. She had a booth promoting her books. “Do you have any books about gay vampires?” I asked. It turns out she has plenty.
People may say there is dissonance with a woman writing about gay male vampires and their romances, erotic and otherwise. But wait! She also writes about werewolves, time travelers, pirates, drug cartels, black ops leaders, biker bars, and bounty hunters; all these stories with plots revolving around gay male adult romances. Her website notes Laura writes “to the beat of a different drummer.”
My first question was “How does a straight woman know what gay men do in bed? Your descriptions are so… accurate…or so my friends tell me!” (We share a laugh). “I feel an affinity with gay men” she replied. “I feel comfortable with it. I think I understand it as much as a straight woman can. Gay men do a lot of the things same straight women do. (Pause) Liking men is something we have in common!” (I giggle).
Laura Baumbach, dignified in appearance and manner, is a prolific, soft-spoken author, publisher, and entrepreneur living in Albion, NY. It is unlikely people would guess she spends summer weekends cruising the area with her family on her Can-Am Spyder motorcycle. While not beginning her writing career until after turning forty, Ms. Baumbach has written scores of novels, novellas, short stories, and screenplays. Her body of work revolves around M/M Romance (male/male). She has been lauded in Rolling Stone magazine as “one of M/M’s premier authors”. Her paperbacks, eBooks, Kindle books, and Audio books can be found on Amazon.
Baumbach never had a goal to become an author. Her chosen field was trauma room nursing. She began writing Fan Fiction online when two children came into her life, one needing adult protection twenty-four hours a day. Feeling isolated and in need of adult interaction, she began writing and developed a following. Soon she was trauma room nurse weekends, Mom by weekday, and writer by night.
Breaking into print media was a struggle. While Romance novels are a genre, the topics were almost always Female/Male Romance relationships. Male/Male Romance relationships were a tiny segment of the industry, treated as the “black sheep” of publishing. “I think it’s ridiculous you can’t celebrate love in all its dimensions,” Laura said. Baumbach was not taken seriously by traditional Romance writers groups who defined Romance relationships as between a man and a woman. (Since changed as Romance between two people.) She was treated with some suspicion by gay groups who did not understand her motives. An advocate for the gay community, Laura says “The reason I do this is to gain acceptance for gay rights, gay people, gay relationships.” Indeed, her characters present gay men as heroes and the good guys.
Finding a chilly reception in the establishment “status quo” Baumbach gathered together “a small, select group of talented authors and skilled artists” and founded Man Love Romance Press, LLC (MLR Press). While many small independent presses are closing due to financial constraints, MLR Press continues to flourish by “keeping it skinny” and having talented writers. As a final note, Laura says that a large segment of the M/M Gay Romance audience is straight women. It is these women who can take Laura’s message of inclusion and acceptance to their husbands, sons, brothers, and boyfriends.
Currently, Laura Baumbach’s work entitled “Dark Side of the Moon” is included in Mystic Realms Romance Collection. She was the only M/M Romance writer invited to submit work.