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?
Tea, please. Preferably, herbal tea, but I’ll drink almost anything where tea is concerned.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a purple haired, forty-something, genderqueer writer of gay and trans* romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies, platform shoes, and the colours black, purple, and red, who sings her way through life, and wants to be in a band when she grows up.
I little over twenty-four years ago, I met the love of my life, moved in with him less than two months later, and married him August the year after that. Together, we’ve tried to turn two mischievous boys into polite young men and managed to gain a foster son along the way as well. Now we form a five-adults-household… in theory. In practice, only our dog could be considered an adult.
When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted by Storm Moon Press, what were the first words that fell from your mouth?
The first sound was a loud and enthusiastic SQUEE, but the first words were probably, “Honey, come read this,” while barely unable to contain further squeeing (as to not deafen hubby). We were at a campsite at the time, but had few neighbours, so I don’t think I startled any of them.
What forces brought you over to the GLBT Genre? Do you focus on one part of the QUILTBAG or do you write various identities, expressions, or orientations? What made you want to write what you do?
Forces? I’d say the media, or rather the very annoyingly negative portrayal of homosexuality in the news. Which is also how I started writing gay characters in lead roles and gay romance. I was a young, dreamy, and naïve sixteen-year-old, and it was the mid-eighties, so most of the news was about AIDS at the time, but it irked me. I couldn’t stand the way gay people were treated, and I wanted to change that. I wanted to show the world how beautiful love between men could be.
I mostly focus on m/m, but I’ve started writing trans* stories as well. The part of trans* that I draw from features stories that are still m/m at heart. It was my first love, and will always be precious to me.
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.
Oh… my diet screams go for the oatmeal ones, the plain ones. But I can smuggle a bit now and then, so, got any chocolate cake? *licks fingers at even the idea of digging in*
How many hours a day do you spending writing?
Between appointments running my family—which often means staring at my men in the hope they’ll do my chores, and make sure they don’t forget their appointments and actually get out of bed in the morning—I strive for a full day of writing, but it varies a lot. Some days, I can manage six hours of writing, while others I get barely two.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I mostly write right through. Though, with shorter stories, I’ve been known to revise while writing as well. I try not to go back and make changes as I write, but sometimes I can’t avoid it. If the bit of plot changes the story in a major way and a simple note doesn’t cut it, I might as well go back and change it immediately.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I tend to make backgrounds of my characters and put down some basic plotty things, like the world they live in, some rules about their culture(s), their magic. Other than that, I write freely. I’ve tried planning in advance, but I can’t seem to do it. It doesn’t work for me.
Of your characters, do you have a favorite and why?
You’re really asking me to play favourites? Damn, and after I’ve managed for years not to do that to my kids…
I once said that the Guide from The Forester was my favourite character, but I can’t help say that right now, Callum from my WIP Wisc’d Away is my favourite. I just absolutely love him. He’s a transman nearing forty, working as a field agent for a security company. Though he pretends it isn’t, his upcoming birthday is a bit of a thing for him. Mainly because his stepsister—and boss—has been threatening to put him on desk duty permanently if he can’t cut it in the field anymore, just ’cause he broke his leg while scaling a building. He’s a driven workaholic (is there any other kind?) in an open relationship with a man who won’t be tied down, about to fall for a purple faerie…
I love him because he’s the sort of guy I wish I could be… well, maybe not the scaling buildings part. I don’t tend to do well with heights.
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, for me, is mostly a motivation and concentration problem. Something I suffered from a lot the first few months of this year. I’ve been tired a lot, and really struggled to get something on paper. The only measures I’ve taken is just sticking to it. I didn’t care how long I stared at the screen, I needed to get the story done. Can’t say it worked very well, since it took me more than two months to write a 16K story. So, I could do with some tips.
Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)
My office. I’m surrounded by all sorts of ‘me’ things there. I can look out the window and see the sky (yeah… rest of the view isn’t that impressive), or watch at the bits and bobs I’ve hung on my walls. Everything I need is within easy reach.
When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?
It’s no use. No matter where I sit, there’s always someone who seems to have forgotten that mummy is working, and will start talking to me until I glare at them. Of course, by then, my concentration is shot anyway, so I’ll ask them, in a very unfriendly tone, what they want, so I can get back to writing again… hopefully.
When I put up my noise reduction headphones they tend to get the hint quicker, but I can’t wear them all day, I need to have time without hearing my own heart beat while I work. They’re a brilliant short term solution, though.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
Dirty, and a bit black, I think. A lot makes me laugh, even things I really don’t think should be laughed about, but I love the way my husband makes me laugh. Because he’s a very quiet sort of man, you don’t always expect it, but I think he’s very funny.
What question is your most frequently asked as an author?
You write in English? Somehow, that seems more important than the fact I write about men falling in love with men.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on Callum’s story. I wrote most of that story during NaNoWriMo, but I started out from the wrong POV, so I still have plenty to do.
As I mentioned above, Callum is a security agent, and he and his team are looking for a thief who manages to break in to highly secured buildings, and whom they can’t seem to catch. It involves espionage, a plan to kill the Faerie Ambassador, and a young Faerie who seems to be the only one capable of solving the case, and who manages to steal Callum’s heart. In short.
I’m also working on the third part of my Forester trilogy. The second part was recently acquired by Storm Moon Press and will be released in December.
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your lifestyle as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive, both in your work and out of it?
Nothing consciously, really. Even the littlest things can spark my writing. My mind constantly comes up with new ideas, that I often have to write down and shelf for another time. I do need to quiet my mind down regularly, though, to keep from tiring myself out. My singing lessons are really good for that, because my singing teacher is constantly trying to make me be in the here and now, instead of constantly living in my head.
What kind of books do you like to read outside of the GLBT Genre?
I’m reading PG Wodehouse at the moment. His The World of Blandings is hilarious. Aside from that, I love Fantasy and mysteries.
Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer.
Scientist. Just the word is enough to make me think of Rodney McKay and Sheldon Cooper. Great characters, both of them.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I sing in a choir and have singing lessons—I hope to be in a band some day, but I can’t seem to find the time to actively look for one. I’ve also taken up knitting earlier this year. A friend challenged me, and I have to admit, it’s a nice way of winding down. And I read… a lot. Not a day goes by without reading at least a page or two.
Any special projects from you at Storm Moon Press that came out recently or will be coming out soon we should watch for?
At the end of April, Legal Briefs came out. It’s a Storm Moon Press Charity anthology, of which all net proceeds go to Lambda Legal. It’s a mix of m/m, f/f, and trans*. It’s legal themed, which was a challenge for me, since I didn’t know much about any legal system, aside from attending a truancy hearing once. “Oren’s Right” is a trans* story about Legal researcher Daru em Caron, who starts his first day at Surim Court by getting shot as he protects Defender Illan em Murq, his idol and team member. Daru can’t help falling in love with his idol when he sees the human behind the Defender, and the attraction seems mutual. But Master Illan is skittish about being touched after suffering a bad experience, and Daru has to work hard to break through his defenses and show Illan he is no less than any man
I don’t have anything coming out soon, but in December the second part in the Forester trilogy—The Forester: Lost and Found—will come out. I’ve never written a series before, and getting back into my characters’ heads after a year wasn’t easy, but once I finished the first draft and started editing, it was much easier to connect with Kelnaht, Ianys, and Taruif again. In this part, Truth Seeker Kelnaht struggles with a missing stripling, sneaking around to find some quality time with his lovers, and waiting for the elders to decide whether or not to reduce Taruif’s sentence.
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!!
It was fun. Thanks for having me! *eyes widen at the sight of the kitchen* Oh, man! Buddy from Cake Boss would be appalled to see your work surfaces. *grabs a towel and wonders where to start*