Category Archives: interview

>New Author Feature at Erotic Horizons

>I’m being featured on the E.H. on Books ‘N More website as part of the With These Words new author spotlight. I talk about my journey as a writer, including giving a little explanation about why I don’t plan to make writing a full-time career.

Thanks to E.H. for the support!

>My first interview!

>Janey Chapel interviewed me for her blog. You can read all about it right here!

>Seven Questions With Janey Chapel

>Get What You Need
By Janey Chapel
eBook, Dreamspinner Press, September 2010

The basics first: what’s your new book about, and how can readers get their hands on it?

Get What You Need is a novella-length story about a cop named Patrick who meets up with Jay, an ex-con, at a bar; a simple enough premise, I suppose! The cop’s in the middle of an investigation, with a lot of pent-up frustration looking for an outlet, and Jay gives him exactly what he needs. For all that, it’s more a character study than a drama, and I hope readers will love Patrick and Jay as much as I do.

Readers can get their hands on the book at the Dreamspinner Press website.

Where did the inspiration for your story come from?

I love my men tender on the inside, tough on the outside, and that describes both of the main characters. In terms of exploring the dynamic between them, I have to admit I was inspired by the FX series Justified, which features a U.S. marshal and his old friend/foe, a possibly reformed criminal. That gave me the jumpstart I needed to dive into the story.

How long did it take you to write and revise the story, start to publication?

The whole process took from May to September. I wrote and revised the story in about six weeks, submitted it to Dreamspinner in June, had it accepted in July, and published in late September.

Do you write just one story at time, or do you usually have several works in progress?

I’m a monogamous writer—I can really only work on one thing at a time. I’ve got an idea or two percolating on the back burners, but I seem to only be able to focus on one story until it’s done. What I find is that if an idea’s going to work, that happens pretty quickly. If not, then there’s just no forcing it. I’ve yet to get characters to speak to me on command! I know a number of professional writers set aside specific times or word-count goals for each day, and more power to them; it just doesn’t seem to work that way for me.

Other than simply finding the time, what’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you, and what comes easiest?

The most challenging part for me really is finding the time to devote to it. I know we’re all trying to wear multiple hats, so I’m not unique, but when I’m writing, other things fall by the wayside, and it’s not fair to the people in my life to neglect them for too long. Once I start to write, I tend to dive in headfirst, and I have trouble doing anything except that, so I wait until I know I’ll have a chunk of time that I can dedicate before starting a project.

What comes easiest is the simple logistics of spelling, grammar, and sentence structure (with the unfortunate exception of commas, which still routinely defeat me!). I’ve got degrees in English and journalism, and I come from a very “wordy” family, so the basic structure of dialogue, for example, isn’t difficult for me. I enjoy the process of editing as much as the process of writing.

How do you write, physically speaking? Longhand, laptop, desktop, inside or out, at a desk, comfy chair, in bed?

I write at a desktop computer in my study at home, usually while my kid is in school and my spouse is at work and the house is quiet. I’m not one who can write while the TV is going or people are chatting in the background. I immerse myself in the writing “zone” so deeply that I learned to set the kitchen timer so I wouldn’t miss going to the bus stop!

In order to edit, though, I have to print out the project and read it through on paper, with red pen in hand. I catch so many more things on paper than I do onscreen. There’s something really satisfying about combing through a piece under construction and finding ways of improving it.

What are your long-term goals as a writer?

Considering how detailed I am in some areas, it feels a little strange to say that I have no long-term goals as a writer. I still find myself a little bemused when characters start to “speak” to me, and I’m always convinced the latest project will be the last project. But if I have my druthers, I’d like to write more about Eli Jones and Cooper Fitch, the Navy SEALs featured in Maritime Men and Anchors Aweigh.

>Seven Questions With Dawn Kimberly Johnson

>Home
by Dawn Kimberly Johnson
Paperback & eBook, Dreamspinner Press, September 13, 2010

The basics first: what’s your new book about, and how can readers get their hands on it?

Home is the sequel to my first novel, Broken, and it’s about what happens after Eli and Alec get together, after they take that step or leap to give it a try. They had a lot to get through in the first book, but there’s always more trouble ahead, plenty of doubt, fear, and secrets to go around. Luckily, there’s also plenty of love. You can find both books at Dreamspinner Press [link to author page] primarily, but [my books are] also available at Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and Rainbow eBooks.

Where did the inspiration for your story come from?

Home really came out of not wanting to let these characters go, once Broken was finished. I began toying with the idea for Home right after Broken was published. I would find myself wondering what they were up to, as if I could somehow drop by their house and hang out with them. It was strange. I really missed them. Also, I had several readers tell me that one complaint they had with Broken was that it wasn’t longer, and I wanted to try to improve on the first novel. Taking those things into account and me realizing that, with Eli’s history, it was unlikely that it would be smooth sailing after he hooked up with Alec, I wrote Home.

How did you get started writing fiction?

I have no idea. I studied journalism in college and worked as a copy editor for a daily newspaper for eight years. I wrote columns about things like meeting kd lang, buying my first car, and watching Ellen’s coming-out episode with other lesbian friends. I remember having a ridiculously active imagination. I used to make up stories for my best friend about a band we both liked in high school—sort of verbal fanfic, if you will. She seemed to really enjoy them, but I never wrote anything down. But after becoming an avid reader of m/m fiction, Eli and his story came to me.

How much time do you spend writing—by the day, week, month, however you define it?

Not nearly enough. Because of poor health, I’m living with my parents and younger brother, so there’s always something going on around me. I couldn’t begin to give you an estimate because I write when the mood strikes. I’ve never set deadlines for myself, and if I’m not “feeling” a story, I won’t work on it until I do “feel” it. The bulk of my time is spent on the Internet (it’s how I connect with the outside world) and freelance editing other people’s work.

Do you write just one story at time, or do you usually have several works in progress?

I used to think I could only write one at a time, but I now have two m/m romance pieces in the works and a sci-fi thriller that needs to be rewritten. That’s the one my mom wants me to get published so she can “properly” brag about me.

Other than simply finding the time, what’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you?

Research. Most of the time it’s fun and helps the world in the story come alive for me, but when I’ve missed something, it’s like a kick in the gut, and no matter how much praise I may get for my work, it’s the mistakes that linger in the back of my mind. But that’s a problem within me.

What are your long-term goals as a writer?

The dream would be to make a living with my writing, but the satisfaction of writing comes in hearing from readers who have enjoyed my work. I’ve had that recently, and it’s the most wonderful experience. It’s almost surreal when someone tells me how affected they were by my characters, how touched they were by the story. That’s priceless.

>Seven Questions With Sullivan Wheeler

>Billionaire’s Row
By Sullivan Wheeler

Paperback & eBook, Dreamspinner Press, July 2010

The basics first: what’s your new book about, and how can readers get their hands on it?

My new book, Billionaire’s Row, is about a closeted police detective named Michael Weiss. When the body of a wealthy defense lawyer turns up on the front lawn of Sam Christiansen, a former television star, Michael is assigned to investigate the murder. Things quickly get complicated, though. Before Michael knows it, he’s being drawn into a world of money and fame, unsure of who to trust, and finding himself drawn more and more to the handsome and enigmatic Sam. The book is available at the Dreamspinner Press website (see links above), Amazon.com, and AllRomanceEbooks.com.

Where did the inspiration for your story come from?

With this story, that’s actually a difficult question to answer. With this murder mystery, I worked backwards: I knew who did it before I knew how Michael was going to find it out. So, if I were to tell you how I came up with the story, I would be giving away the ending. Other things, though, I can say. For instance, the setting—Ponte Bonita, Florida—is based on an oceanside community I worked in near my house. One of the main characters, Deanna Davies, the victim’s very young, very beautiful wife, is based in part on a woman I worked for (who, for reasons that will be obvious to anyone who reads the book, shall remain unnamed). Certain things, like the house fire, came from experiences people I know have had: someone my husband worked for had his brand new McMansion burn to the ground in a possible arson. So, a lot of the details just come out of my life and my experiences, smoothed over with a lot of imagination.

How long did it take you to write and revise the story, start to publication?

I started thinking about the plot a few years ago. Actually, I never intended to publish it. I was just thinking that I would write it to entertain a friend of mine. I turned the plot over in my head for about a year and then I sat down and wrote the first three chapters. For some reason—I can’t really remember what it was, now—I got bored, and I put it away and started working on some other things. I had this other project that I was wrestling with and then it became obvious that that was never going to pan out, so I pulled the manuscript that would become Billionaire’s Row out of the drawer and got to work. It was about three months after that that I sent it to Dreamspinner Press, which scooped it up pretty quickly. That was in March. Alltogether, it’s probably been about four years since I first had the idea. But that’s how I work. There’s always about half a dozen potential stories floating around in my brain, just waiting for me to start putting them down on paper.

How did you get started writing fiction?

It was something that I’ve always done, even before I really knew why I did it. When I was a kid, I used to make up and act out stories in my back yard, just by myself (I must have looked like a lunatic to anyone observing). The first story I ever remember writing down was in kindergarten, and it just sort of went from there. I kept writing as I got older, and in college I was a writing major. That was a decade ago (boy, do I hate admitting that!), and I’m just now getting around to having a novel published.

You know, writing is one of those things that really, really takes practice. If someone says that the first novel they got published is the first one they ever tried to write, you can probably call them a liar (or you can call their novel not very good). Every time you write, even if you don’t necessarily finish the project, you learn something, and I think it takes a lot of these little lessons to have enough knowledge and experience to write 100,000+ words that people want to pay money to read. So, it’s all really been a journey to get from that first story in kindergarten (which was about a farm, in case you’re interested) to a full-length murder mystery.

How much time do you spend writing—by the day, week, month, however you define it?

I don’t really have any defined set of time that I use to write. It generally seems to be that I spend a lot of time thinking about a plot and then, all of a sudden, I will feel ready to start writing. Once I start writing, I’ll spend several hours a day (basically every minute when I’m not asleep or at my regular day job) writing. I shoot for 5,000 or more words per day. There’s a few months of that until I’m done, and then it begins all over again: think, think, think, write.

Do you write just one story at time, or do you usually have several works in progress?

Like I said, I usually have several stories cooking in my brain at any given time. But when it comes to actually writing, I’m generally just working on one thing at a time. Occasionally, I will take a quick break from a big project (novel or novella) that I’m working on to write a short story, but that’s never more than a few days.

What are your long-term goals as a writer?

If you had asked me this a few years ago, I would have said that I wanted to write mainstream novels, and I may still write mainstream novels. I never intended to write gay fiction, and just sort of fell into it backwards. Now that I’m in it, though, I’m finding it very rewarding. Not only do I appear to have some talent for it, but it’s a nice, laid-back kind of world. And Dreamspinner has been a dream to work with; they treat their authors very well and are really helping me to grow as a writer. Definitely for the time being, I will continue to write gay fiction. I think my biggest long-term goal (and I hope it’s not too long term) right now is to be able to make a living writing.

>Seven Questions With Rachel West

>The Cellmate
By Rachel West
eBook, Dreamspinner Press, June 16, 2010

Let’s start with the basics: what’s your story about, and how can readers get their hands on it?

The Cellmate is a novella about two men who find love in the unlikeliest of places. The story focuses on Andy Bingham and Jesse Cohen, two genuinely good guys who have made some genuinely bad decisions and end up sharing a prison cell. They quickly begin a relationship that starts out as just sex but, to their mutual surprise, turns into something more. It’s available at Dreamspinner Press [link above].

How did you get started writing fiction?

Like a lot of other romance/erotica writers, I started in fanfiction. It began as nothing more than a fun hobby, but I found that I absolutely loved it, and it started taking up more and more of my time. After a while, I decided to branch out and try my hand at original writing. My first book, Everything Under the Sun, came out earlier this year.

Where did the inspiration for The Cellmate come from?

I never know how to answer inspiration questions. I had an image in my head of two guys in a jail cell having strictly physical sex, with no kissing, no false intimacies, and yet somehow, it meant something more than that to both of them. And I couldn’t stop thinking about that image, and the story that might lie behind it, so one day I sat down and just wrote it out. But where did the image come from in the first place? I haven’t the foggiest idea. Sorry, that’s not very helpful! 🙂

How long did it take you to write and revise the book—start to publication?

The Cellmate happened very quickly; from start to finish, about two weeks. I didn’t submit it for publication until much later, though. And it is not a full-length book—it’s only about 21,000 words long. Still, that’s much faster than I usually work. Everything Under the Sun, which was 58,000 words, took about six months.

How much time do you spending writing—by the day, week, month, however you define it?

Probably more than I really should. Heh. I pretty much am writing all the time, or plotting or planning my writing. Except for those times when my dang job gets in the way. Or, y’know, sleep, or food, or being married. 🙂

How do you write, physically speaking? Longhand, laptop, desktop, inside or out, at a desk, comfy chair, in bed?

Yes. Well, almost all of those—strike longhand and outside. But I’ve made thorough use of all the rest of those options.

Other than simply finding the time, what’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you? What comes easiest?

For me, writing the sex scenes is the easiest. The most difficult is deeply emotional scenes, especially confrontations. But all of that is definitely eclipsed by the difficulty of finding the time.

Thanks so much again for having me, Shae!

>Seven Questions With Mickie B. Ashling

>Loving Edits
By Mickie B. Ashling
Paperback & eBook, Dreamspinner Press, June 14, 2010

Let’s start with the basics: what’s your new book about, and how can readers get their hands on it?

My latest novel is a m/m/m romance about three men in crisis. Don’t let the blurb scare you [full blurb on the Dreamspinner website].

Loving Edits celebrates the joys and sorrows of true love while exploring the human spirit. When bestselling novelist Mick Henley contacts his editor and former lover, Paul Alcott, after a seven-year absence, hearing Mick’s voice reinforces what Paul has known all along—he still loves Mick—but his hopes are dashed when he learns Mick is in a loving relationship with Tono Garat. Mick soon reveals he’s been diagnosed with a fatal disease, and Paul and Tono must figure out if they can overcome their differences to provide the loving support necessary to sustain the man they love.

How did you get started writing fiction?

I had a mother who was a voracious reader. She always had a book in her hand, and it was a natural thing for me to gravitate toward her favorite pastime. English and literature were favorite subjects in school, and my vivid imagination just made for a great combination.

How much time do you spend writing—by the day, week, month, however you define it?

I write every day from 3:00 A.M. to 5:30 A.M. Then I get ready for my day job. I never take a break from my schedule, even when I’m on vacation. If nothing new comes to mind, I edit. I’m one of those lucky people who can survive on five hours of sleep.

What’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you?

Finding the perfect words for what I want to say. For instance, it’s always difficult to come up with fresh and different ways to describe a sex scene. There are certain key words that are used to death in this genre (m/m), and I find it challenging to come up with variations of the same.

What comes easiest?

Plotting. I never seem to run out of ideas. Having four sons is very helpful when you’re writing about men. Our conversations usually start with my question and their reply which goes like this. “Eww, don’t ask me that” or “Promise you won’t put this in a book” or “You want to know how to say WHAT in a different way?” It’s always fun to hear the shock, followed by the burst of laughter. I’m amazed I get anything done, but I must say that they have been very helpful with all the ick questions I throw at them.

How do you write, physically speaking? Longhand, laptop, desktop, inside or out, at a desk, comfy chair, in bed?

I use a desktop when I’m at home and a laptop when I’m traveling. I never write in longhand anymore. I can’t write as fast as I create, and it’s frustrating , not to mention difficult, to read my own scribble once I get done. I love computers. They’ve made a huge difference in the way I write. There’s nothing more exciting to me than filling up a blank screen.

Do you write just one story at time, or do you usually have several works in progress?

One at a time. I can’t move on to the next project until the one I’m working on is completed, edited, and submitted. Even after that, I’m on tenterhooks until I get word that it’s under contract. Then I can relax and start on a new story.

What are your long-term goals as a writer?

Quitting my day job is something I dream about. I want to have more time to write, so I’m working toward that goal. As for the actual writing, I enjoy reading historical fiction but have never attempted that genre. I’d love to try my hand at it someday. And who doesn’t dream of the movie deal? That’s the ultimate fantasy for a writer, isn’t it?

Find Mickie on LiveJournal and at her website.

>Seven Questions With Anne Brooke

>New short stories by Anne Brooke:
Angels and Airheads
eBook, Torquere Press, June 12, 2010
Martin and The Wolf
eBook, Amber Allure Press, June 13, 2010

Let’s start with the basics: what are your newest stories about, and how and when can readers get their hands on them?

I have two new stories coming out in June. First off, there’s Angels and Airheads, a gay comic short story. Ricky has been secretly in love with his best friend Jez forever, but he’s never dared confess his feelings as he thinks Jez is too high-class for him. One evening, a mysterious angel, Madred, appears to persuade Ricky to take a chance on love. But Ricky doesn’t believe in angels, and Madred is forced to take desperate measures in an attempt to show the reluctant Ricky the truth. When the angel leaves, can Ricky find the courage to declare himself to Jez and what will happen if he does?

My second publication is Martin and The Wolf, a gay fantasy short stBoldory. When lecturer Martin meets the mysterious Lucas at a neighbor’s midsummer party, the attraction is instant and hot. The two men soon start a relationship, but Martin is puzzled by Lucas’ behavior. He’s not like any other man he’s ever known, and Martin wants to find out why. But when one August night, he tracks Lucas to the depths of the local park, he realizes more eye-opening truths about his new lover and the pack of strange wolves he runs with than he’d ever before thought possible.

How did you get started writing fiction?

I’ve been writing poetry for years, but in 2000 I went through quite a difficult time and found I couldn’t write any more. I complained so much to my mother that she (bless her!) got quite snippety and told me to stop worrying about the poetry and just write prose instead. It worked! I started writing fiction, and found I enjoyed it so much I just kept on going. Even when the poetry came back.

How much time do you spending writing—by the day, week, month, however you define it?

I tend to write something every day, however small. On Mondays to Wednesdays, I write in the evenings, usually short stories, as during those days I work part-time for my local university. On Thursdays and Fridays, on my days off, I concentrate on the current novel, and I also spend some time over the weekend on it, too. In that case, I like to write about 1,000 words a day, just to keep it ticking over. It used to be 2,000 words, but that was way too much and it was driving me mad, so I scaled it down!

Do you write just one story at time, or do you usually have several works in progress?

I like to have several on the go, but only one in each genre. At the moment, I’m working on the third novel in my fantasy trilogy, The Executioner’s Cane. I’m also working on a lesbian erotic short story, Butterfly Girl. Alongside this, I work fairly regularly on a spiritual novel, The Prayer Seeker’s Journal, which I’m blogging on a fortnightly basis.

And, of course, the poetry pops up every now and then too!

How do you write, physically speaking? Longhand, laptop, desktop, inside or out, at a desk, comfy chair, in bed?

I write fiction straight on to the computer in my spare room. I have a terror of laptops, so it’s a desktop computer! In terms of poetry, I always write it out longhand in my living room or at the dining table, and then type it up onto the computer.

What’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you? What comes easiest?

In terms of fiction, the most challenging part is working out what the characters are going to do next! As I don’t work to a definite plan, but only have a vague notion of where things are going, I sometimes find I write my characters into a corner and then have to try and get them out of the crisis—it does make it more exciting that way though, if tricky.

Strangely, the part of the process I do enjoy—where many don’t—is the editing. I like seeing the whole concept when it’s done and then making it work properly—I get a lot of satisfaction from that.

As for the poetry, the most challenging part is not being too wordy! I’m a great believer that less is more, so it does make cutting fun.

What are your long-term goals as a writer?

This is a question I always find hugely difficult to answer. I’m not sure I really have a long-term plan, though I’d like to keep writing and producing books that people enjoy. On a practical level, I’m looking forward to the publication of the first novel in my fantasy trilogy, The Gifting, which has just been accepted by Bluewood Publishing, so I’m hoping they might take the second and third of the trilogy, too, depending on how things work out. I’m also hoping to produce a chapbook of some of my haikus (I write one a week and include them in my blog) at some stage, but I suspect it won’t be soon.

Apart from that, I’d like to go on developing as a writer and enjoying where this very strange but never dull vocation takes me!

>Seven Questions With William Cooper

>Broken Bones, Mended Hearts
By William Cooper
eBook, Dreamspinner Press, May 2010

Periodically, I’ll be featuring a short interview with an author here. My first victim … er, guest is Dreamspinner author William Cooper. Special thanks to Rachel West for the e-introduction!

Let’s start with the basics: what’s your story about, and how can readers get their hands on it?

My story is about two college guys who’ve been best friends for years. After Noah, the main character, is attacked outside the library, Mark realizes how much he really cares for his best friend.

How did you get started writing fiction?

I started writing fiction back in middle school. My seventh grade teacher gave us an assignment—take one of our favorite novels and rewrite the ending to it. Ever since then, I’ve been writing non-stop.

Where did the inspiration for “Broken Bones, Mended Hearts” come from?

In part, it’s based on my own best friend. Like Mark, my best friend has always been there for me through everything. (Though sadly, he doesn’t have a romantic interest in me.)

The story was originally written for Dreamspinner’s A Brush of Wings anthology. When I read the prompt about stories about angels, I thought of a figurative angel, rather than a literal one. And Mark is Noah’s angel.

How much time do you spending writing—by the day, week, month, however you define it?

I try to write every day. Some days I only manage to get a couple paragraphs done, others I’m practically glued to my keyboard. I have a whole folder filled with random scenes and drabbles that I popped into my head that I had to write down. Some I’ll probably never use, but occasionally I go back through them and add to them or use them in a WIP.

How do you write, physically speaking? Longhand, laptop, desktop, inside or out, at a desk, comfy chair, in bed?

90% of my writing is done on my laptop. I write pretty much wherever I am—at home at my desk, in the middle of my Ancient Literature class, or even while I’m working at the flea market. I always have a notebook with me in case I need to jot down a quick scene or idea. A large part of “Broken Bones, Mended Hearts” was written during my British Literature class. (Sorry, Dr. Chuska.)

What’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you? What comes easiest?

The hardest part of the writing process is the waiting. I’m extremely impatient so I’m constantly pacing waiting for replies. It seems like a lot of the writing process is waiting—waiting for your beta reader, waiting for an acceptance/rejection, waiting for edits, waiting for a proof copy, waiting for a cover and then waiting for release. Sometimes I think I’m in the wrong field when I think about all the waiting I have to do.

The easiest part is coming up with the story. I’ve constantly got stories floating around in my head so it’s not hard to pick one and turn it into words. (Although it’s hard to stick to one very long sometimes.)

What are your long-term goals as a writer?

My long-term goal is to make my living as a writer. I’d love to be able to spend my days writing and get paid for it. Maybe then my friends will stop looking at me like I’m mental when I say I’d rather sit home and write then go out to a party.