Let’s give author Cardeno C. a HUGE Top 2 Bottom welcome!
Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?
Iced tea, please. And a Diet Coke. Is there milk? If so, I’ll take a coffee too. Can’t ever have too much caffeine.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hmm, well, not much to tell. I don’t sleep enough, drink too much caffeine, hate the gym but try to force myself to go, work in a stodgy-corporate-type job, and write trashy romance novels whenever I have a free moment.
When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?
No words, just a giant smile. The smile hasn’t left; it just keeps getting bigger with every book. I’m not sure how I got this lucky, but I’m constantly thankful for the opportunity to share my writing.
What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?
I started writing because I wanted to portray positive, loving, healthy gay relationships. I felt like there weren’t enough of these types of relationships shown in entertainment and if I had to watch one more movie where the gay character died of AIDS or was beaten to death or was otherwise tragically damaged, I thought I’d pull my hair out. I also feel like within the community itself there are sometimes negative comments and stigma and I very much want to write stories that show different types of people and help readers relate to those people, despite (or maybe because of) their differences.
When I first started writing gay romance novels, I posted them online because I didn’t realize there were publishers out there that worked in this genre. I’d actually never read a gay romance novel until some readers sent me over to Dreamspinner Press. Yet another reason I’m endlessly grateful to readers.
Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.
Hmmm. I’m really more of a savory person than a sweet person (cue rolling eyes from anyone who has read my cavity-inducing stories), so I’ll skip it. But thanks!
How many hours a day do you spending writing?
Not nearly as many hours as I’d like. Some days there is no writing time. Other days I can get a couple of hours in before sleep becomes imperative. I’m constantly trying to find more time to write. If anyone can help me add more hours to the day, please send me a note.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I revise constantly. I find that helps improve the story and it helps cement the characters in my mind because I’m repeatedly reinforcing where they’ve been. Also, as the story progresses, more details about the characters make it onto the page and I’m able to add information earlier in the novel that will be helpful during later pages.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I think I do something in between. I have a general plan for a story before I start. Often that includes an ending and mile markers in between the beginning and the ending. That said, I don’t plan everything. I just start writing and let the characters tell their story.
Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?
That is a really hard question because I think there different aspects to different characters that I appreciate, much like we have friends in real life that have different qualities we value, though we don’t like one more than another.
For example, Zach from He Completes Me makes me laugh. I also admire his strength and resilience. He spends a lot of time in my head even now and it’s been a long time since I wrote that book.
Ben from Just What the Truth Is, Noah from Home Again, and their parents remind me not to be judgmental of anyone else’s journey. It’s not just a matter of walking in someone else’s shoes because people aren’t accessories. We’re each different. I’m as guilty as the next person of rolling my eyes and saying I’d never do this or I’d act like that, but who knows what I’d do or how I’d act if I was living someone else’s life. And, besides, the world is an interesting place because we’re different. I wouldn’t want to eat a salad with just iceberg lettuce. I want tomatoes and cucumbers and spring mix and cheese and … you get the idea, lots of flavors make a delicious salad. It’s the same with people; our differences are what make us interesting and fun and enlightening and, well, delicious.
Nate and Jake from Where He Ends and I Begin remind me about the importance of loyalty. There are a lot of bright and shiny distractions in life, a lot of reasons we can get mad and walk away from people we once cared about. Or, we can stop, remember what matters, and stick it out. To me, Jake and Nate’s story shows exactly that – sticking it out, staying together, and working through anything and everything that comes our way.
Jonathan from Love at First Sight reminds me to be optimistic. Sometimes it’s so much easier to give up or walk away or become disillusioned. I’ve felt that way more times than I can count. But even though it’s hard to keep a positive attitude and to get back up with a smile on my face after something pushes me down, I try to do it. Jonathan got pushed down a lot in life, but he kept smiling, didn’t let himself become jaded or angry, and, in the end, he found exactly what he’d been seeking.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
Writer’s block, no. Some books are harder to write than others. When that happens, I might take a step back and write something that comes a little easier, but then I go back, focus on the characters, listen to music that reminds me of them and their journey, and then I write.
Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)
My most common writing spots are in bed and in a comfy chair in my living room.
When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?
I’ve never thought of that idea! Keep out – Writing in Progress. Genius!
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
I love to laugh and it doesn’t take much to get me there. I enjoy dirty jokes, those postcard things people post on FB, sarcasm, even those goofy cat pictures with comment bubbles. It’s all good.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on a recently finished Until Forever Comes, the next book in the Mates series, and submitted a story for Dreamspinner’s upcoming sports daily dose. And now I’m working and on something new that I’m very, very hopeful/excited/giddy about.
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
I am inspired by my friends. I constantly send myself little notes with anecdotes they share, which I add to a story ideas list. I’m also motivated/inspired by political things, though I try to cover my soapbox with heaping shovelfuls of sugar to make it more palatable.
What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?
These days I’m so busy with work and family and friends and volunteering and, well, life, that I have very limited free time. That means no television and only enough time to read what I really love. That tends to be the MM genre.
Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer-
Well, astronaut is out because I’m afraid of moving heights. Horse trainer, not really my gig either. Scientist sounds interesting so that’s a definite maybe. But if money wasn’t an object, I’d choose retail. I’ve worked retail and I loved it. The mall is the happiest place on earth.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, listening to music, and reading.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
Well, Something in the Way He Needs is my shiny new book and it’s available now. It’s a bit different for me, more intense (or at least that was my goal). But you can still count on warm fuzzies and a happily ever after.
You can also keep your eyes out for Until Forever Comes, the next Mates book. It’ll be released in May or June and I’m damn proud of it.
And then there’s my current project. It’s not done yet but I’m having a blast writing it. This one is co-written with the great Mary Calmes and since I’m a HUGE fan of her writing, it’s like a dream come true. Really and truly.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!
Absolutely! How do you feel about vegetarian food? Because if you’re willing to give up the dead animals, I can make you a delicious meal.