Having it Both Ways; or, Writing from the Third Perspective: The Revolutionary M/M/F Ménage Romance Novel

Publication year

Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander, my first published novel, was meant from the beginning to be a revolutionary work of (genre) fiction. I wrote Phyllida in 2004, a time that feels several generations ago in the evolution of American popular culture and its understanding of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer or Questioning) identity. At the same time, the romance novel has been undergoing a parallel evolution, embracing once-excluded minorities of ethnicity, sexual orientation and (dis)ability. In this chapter, I tell the story of how and why I wrote Phyllida and discuss some reactions to it in the context of examining the recent past of American culture and its perception of romance novels and LGBTQ identity, and in particular, why, twelve years and many media cycles after its inception, Phyllida continues to be a revolutionary novel. (405)