Monday, November 24, 2014

Amy Lane's Johnnies

I'm willing to bet that at one point or another all of us have enjoyed watching porn, I know I have.  I'd also bet that most of us wondered about the models' lives outside of porn.  When you hear or read about their lives in the news, it's often tragic in some way: drug abuse, poverty, suicide, and the list goes on.  However, we often put that in the back of our minds as we look at the beautiful models having sex on camera.  However, a recent series of books has made me think about the porn industry a little more critically.  That series is Amy Lane's Johnnies series:  Chase in Shadow, Dex in Blue, and Ethan in Gold.

Lane did a great deal of research for these books, which are about the models in a fictional gay adult video company called Johnnies.  While the opening premise sounds incredibly hot and the sex scenes really are scorching hot, Amy Lane doesn't disappoint with her moniker "Angst and Pain, Amy Lane."  However, the books weave together a wonderful story of the men who make up Johnnies, and the trials and tribulations they go through.  Each has secrets to hide, and each needs Johnnies for various reasons.  These were the fictional parts of her writing though she based each character on actual porn models.  I always wondered how Lane wrote such erotic, and accurate, sexual encounters between two gay men, when she in fact is a happily married heterosexual woman.  

First of all, Lane mainly based Johnies on Corbin Fisher, which quite honestly has some of the most beautiful men in amateur gay porn.  Her research also sounds a lot more fun than when I do research in a dusty library or archives (though I get a special joy out of doing that as well).  And while Lane contacted Corbin Fisher with questions, they were never answered.  So she watched lots of gay porn, but she did found herself not watching the the gay porn videos in the same way most of us would.  Usually, we watch porn for one reason, but in this case, Lane spent many hours watching porn with other straight women, talking about what was real and what was directed.  The "real" they were looking for wasn't actual romantic feeling-- it was more like working relationship feeling.  Lane studied the sex scenes looking for eye contact, kissing, considerate touches, etc. all to understand the relationship between the models, not just to watch the fantasy they portrayed on the screen.  Lane told me that researching the Johnnies books made her look at the nature of touch, pleasure, comfort, and love.

L to R: Connor/Chase, Dru/Dex, Aiden/Ethan, Travis/Tommy, Cain/Kane, Trey/Scott

In the books, Lane loosely based the characters (mostly appearance) of the Johnnies models on Corbin Fisher models.  Chase is based on Connor, Dex on Dru, Ethan on Aiden.  Those are the main one, but of course, there are many other models mentioned, such as Tommy who was based on Travis, Scott on Trey, and Kane on Cain.  Those are the ones I have confirmed with Lane on who she based the characters on.  I enjoy being able to put a face (and in this case a body as well) with the characters.  Usually when I read a book, I picture the characters in my own head, but knowing in this case who they were based on made it all the more interesting.  I want to add a side note here and say that I always pictured CF's Dawson as Digger the older model who has been in many scenes over the years and is always affable and a steady model for the studio sticking around much longer than most models do.  Of course there is the young (18 year old) new and very well-endowed new model Bobby who a friend of mine suggested might be CF's Chandler, but I never have been able to figure out a corresponding model for.

When I finished these three books, I loved them, but I won't deny that all three books are difficult books in the beginning. I don't want to give anything away, but be warned.  However, and you must keep this in mind, the books are worth getting past the difficult reading at the beginning.  And when I say difficulty reading at the beginning, I'm not talking about difficult as in Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men when page after page is about a car driving down a road.  I mean difficult as in the subject matter.  The first part of these books are a shock to your system, and whereas they are difficult subjects, you must read on so that you get the immense joy of reading an Amy Lane masterpiece.

Of the characters, I really loved Dex and Ethan the most.  Dex is so together but with something to hide.  I honestly, just want to give Ethan a hug, which I've got a feeling he'd like. Chase is the most flawed of the characters, but even with all his problems, you can't help but feel for the guy and wish him the best.  Dex though is the man that you want as a friend.  He may not be perfect, but he will always be there for you.  And when it comes to Ethan, well all I can say is that with all the Ethans I have known, they are sweet, lovable, intelligent, and you just want to wrap them in your arms and tell them that you'll do anything to make their world a better place.

I adore Amy Lane's books and I just want to thank her for the hours of enjoyment that her books have provided for me.  Of course there are always a few tears involved, but it's one of the things that makes her books great. It's the full range of human emotions that she bring alive from the pages of her books.  Thank you Amy Lane for the enjoyment you bring to so many and for touching our hearts.


Jay M. said...

Interesting sounding books. A very different take on the porn industry.

Peace <3

Anonymous said...

Amy Lane is by FAR my most favorite M/M erotic writer. Her individisl books and series are all so different and with such rich, deep, interesting, lovably flawed characters who are surprisingly relatable to the reader. As you said Joe, Amy drags you through the Emotional wringer yet you come out feeling great about such awesome stories. I'd recommend her books to anyone.

Amanda said...

I love Amy Lane's books. She's a wonderful author and I hope she never tires of telling her stories. :)

btom89 said...

Hi, I was wondering how the books handled the actors' complex sexuality? Were they all closeted gays, or some honestly bisexual or some mixture of gay, bisexual, and straight men comfortable with exploring that side of their sexuality? Did the difficult reading at the beginning relate to the ambiguous sexuality and life events that might affect their ending up with someone like Corbin Fisher, for example? Did the books surmise how their sexuality influenced their lives, based on the author's observations of each actor's moves and behavior towards their partner in the CF skits?