Before we go on to learn more of this fantastic gifted artist, let me first say… The doors here are open, and will be but I can’t say there will be reviews like there has been…All I can say is keep checking in, subscribe to get an email so you can see when I manage to update, or? All I know is that it’s very hard for me to kill what took me and a few others so long to build. I just can’t keep the pace of the past. I have a life to live, stories to write, and goals to meet…
Now, here’s the very special…S.N. Graves!!!
What’s your favorite comfort food?
Sushi. Sushi makes everything better.
Who do you turn to for encouragement when you feel your writing isn’t all you think it can be?
Once upon a time that person was my mother. She was the only one I ever let read everything I wrote, and she was such a super fan of the characters in my world it was hard to feel like anything less than a rock star when she was giggling at my every dumb joke and tearing up at all the right places.
My mother was taken by a stroke several years ago, and without my instant audience, I sort of stopped writing. Before her stoke I had signed up for a graduate degree at Seton Hill University in Writing Popular Fiction. I almost didn’t go because I felt like I’d never be able to write again anyway, but once my mentor, Barbara Miller, got a look at my work, she became that encouraging voice I needed, and slowly, over the course of a couple years, I got my mojo back. In that time my sons became teenagers, and now they are my most rabid fans, and the people I look to when I need help getting through the low moments of the writing life.
Do you have pets? If yes, what are their names?
I could spend a whole interview naming pets. I have far too many because my husband and I are suckers when it comes to a critter in need. I have Mojo the pit bull with the broken tail, Pooh Bear the cat with the missing eye, Sassy and Gary the cats, who both have leukemia, Derp the cat, Django the cat, and just recently we adopted a pitty/Doberman mix named Mokey.
What do you think your strongest asset is in writing? Or weakness?
I think my strongest asset is my ability to write engaging dialogue. That probably comes from my tendency to forget these are fictional people I am writing for, and so when they start throwing tantrums in my head or making wise cracks at one another, I just type everything that comes out of their mouths. If you build strong characters and give them a rich history and passionate convictions and opinions of their own, and then put them in a room in your head with other characters built in the same way, fireworks are bound to happen. Every time I get more than two or three characters in a scene it reminds of Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house—no one is going to agree on anything, food may end up splattered against the wall, things may get broken and people will storm out, but it is a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
As for my greatest weakness… That would be a tossup between the comma, which always conspires to make me look like an idiot, and the word “don’t.” If someone tells me not to do something in my writing, if they declare it a rule, my brain translates that as “Oh, do it? Do it now? Do it HARD? Well okay then, if you say so.”
What mundane thing do you have to do that you totally dislike?
Sleeping. Seriously, ain’t nobody got time for that.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I like monsters, freaks, weird people in weird situations. I don’t care if I find them in horror or fantasy or romance, I just don’t do normal people—I find it too hard to suspend disbelief. (DITTO)
What is your favorite genre to write?
Horror and romance. I suspect that’s what landed me in the paranormal category.
What classes have you taken – or want to take, to improve your writing skills?
I graduated from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program, and despite some low points, it did wonders for making me feel like a legitimate author. If I had the money and time I would sign up for so many different writing classes. Honestly though, I think the best courses for would-be writers are not English courses or how-to-write courses, but classes on acting, film studies, psychology—anything that helps an author understand storytelling from a viewer’s perspective or that helps them understand people in general.
What would you say to a budding M/M writer?
Don’t write stereotypes. Write all people as people with unique habits and gestures and quirks. Don’t depend on the depictions you see on TV to guide your hand in crafting your heroes. Make them fully realized people, don’t limit them to lisps and assigned roles of top and bottom.
Would you consider writing in a genre you’ve never done before? If no, why?
It would be kind of difficult to find a genre I haven’t written in some capacity before. I love a challenge, and I don’t consider any genre off limits.
What do you do for fun?
I…don’t know what that is anymore. When I am taking a break from editing or writing I watch movies, I read, or I role-play. Not the slutty nurse and dirty doctor sort of Role-Playing, but the AD&D sort. I pretty much live and breathe storytelling in one form or another. It might make me a little boring in real life, but fantasy is much more interesting anyway.
Where is your favorite place to write?
At the beach, in a nice hotel with the windows open so the sea air can blow the curtains up and fill the room. Especially at night. If not the beach then anywhere that I can hear a good thunderstorm going on outside.
How does your family and friends react to what you write?
With the exception of my mother and my sons, they have all just recently been allowed to read any of it. For the most part what I write is not really their thing, ya know? Either they are put off by the romance elements, or put off by the horror and paranormal elements, or completely lose it when the M/M elements show up. They aren’t my target audience, and I try not to let it make me sob in a corner that they don’t love everything I write.
Do you have a favorite recipe to share that you make when you are in a time crunch?
Step One: Find a man. (S.N., if you can point me in the right direction please?)
Step Two: Agitate well until man shows signs of breaking.
Step Three: Tell the man you are hungry and on a deadline.
Step Four: Give the man every reason in the world to get the hell away from you (i.e. scare him toward the kitchen).
Step Five: Promise reprieve when noms are delivered.
Step Six: A slight cooling off period may be required, but soon you should smell the delicious aroma of noms. Wait quietly, but don’t be afraid to shout the occasional demand for a progress update.
Step Seven: Voila! Noms magically appear on your desk, though make sure you clear a good sized space for them because the dish may well be flung at you. Results may vary, depending on how well you have trained your man.
When you feel discouraged with a current work in process, what do you do?
Cry in the shower. Cry into my pillow. Sob at my kids. Beat my head against the wall. Then make a cup of coffee and reevaluate what I am doing. Often I find just reading back over previous work is enough to get my head into gear and get the words flowing again.
HAHA! I so understand all of the above. (Michele)
What are some of your other creative outlets?
I draw and paint. I like drawing my characters and even doing little comic book panels of scenes I’m writing. I also do a lot of cover art—for my books or other people’s.
What’s your favorite season to write about?(Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter)
I’m a fall and winter kind of gal. Fall always smells so nice and the air just feels like magic. Winter encourages characters to snuggle for warmth, and who doesn’t like that? (I’m with you!)
Are you a morning, afternoon or night owl?
I hate mornings. It doesn’t matter if my morning starts at 6AM or at 3PM, whenever I first get up I’m a snarly beast. It doesn’t help that I have neurological damage, and so my head will wake up a good 20 minutes sometimes before my legs do. If I wake up and try to jump right out of bed, I’m going to faceplant into the carpet, never fails. My father used to get the biggest kick out of waking me up in the mornings for school. He’d slam the door open and give that drill sergeant shout “Get your lazy butt out of bed. It’s chow time!” and then he’d stand there a minute and snicker as I launched myself out of bed, and my noodle legs flung me all over the room until I crashed face first into the floor. Ahhh, good times.
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
Own a full scale Pit Bull rescue.
Own a house bigger than a breadbox.
Live on the beach.
What music do you listen to when you write? Or do you have to have total silence?
I must have music when I write. I will sometimes spend days setting up the right playlist for a series of scenes, and when I sit down to write that playlist will play over and over again. Sometimes, it’s just one song that I put on repeat, because once you find something that gets you in the right mood, you cling to it. I almost had a full scale revolt on my hands when writing some of the scenes for Look Back in Anger, because I had the same song on loop for about three days.
Katie Melua – The Flood http://youtu.be/4E4-9yKTv_I
The kids and the husband wanted to strangle me.
What social medias seem to work for you?
Mostly Facebook, and that is only because I am old and Twitter scares me. I just signed up for Ello, and I have no idea how to even use it. By the time I figure it out, it will go the way of MySpace, and I will have to move over to something else.
How did you discover M/M romance?
When I was a kid in the 90s the closest thing I had to M/M was a picture I had of David Bowie and Mick Jagger cuddled up on a couch together. I live in the bible belt, so it was incredibly hard to find anything M/M or F/F anywhere, and it wasn’t until I got out on my own and discovered the internet that I actually found real M/M stories—some of my favorites being P.L Nunn’s work and Tricia Owens. It’s still pretty much all I want to write, and most of my fictional worlds are heavily populated with M/M stories. I do have women in my stories, and they do play a big role, but for the most part my focus is on my gay or bi male characters –Zakai and Vander, Arthur and Vincent, Alex, Eli, even Jesse. I think I decided to start with Samantha as my main protagonist instead of any of the men because there was so much world building that needed to go into that first serial, and I wanted Samantha to stand in for my readers (predominantly female) as someone new to that world and learning about it as the story moved forward. Unless I hear a huge outcry for more female leads, Samantha may be the last female protagonist I have for a long while.
Beverage of choice?
Coconut water! OMG, I just discovered this recently and it is amazing. I have never felt better than when I have a bottle of Zico next to me.
What kind of computer do you work on?
Um…it’s black? Kinda a big blocky square? I think it is an HP? Oh! It has this awesome little light bar on the front that makes it look like a Battlestar Galactica cylon. Yes, I bought my computer because it had a pretty, shiny light on the front.
Do you hear voices in your head telling you what to write or are you inspired by what goes on in the world?
Both. Everything I write is inspired by things I have seen in the world, but my characters sometimes make themselves. Once they start to take shape, I do hear them on a constant basis until I start writing them. My husband likes to make fun of me because I often move my lips as I type, sort of acting out the characters and their dialogues as I go. He’ll also never let me live down the times he’s caught me in the shower doing little one women plays where I am voicing the characters in a scene and trying to figure out what is going on. He said the first time he heard it he thought there was someone in there with me, and when he realized I was alone, he got a little scared. Now he knows it’s just me writing, and to leave me alone or suffer the wrath of a wet, perturbed writer.
How do you feel about the future of books? More e-books or will print always be around?
I think print will always be around on some level. There really is nothing like a good, fully stocked bookshelf, but I don’t think paper will remain the standard. E-books are so much easier to use, they take up no space, don’t kill trees, and don’t get frayed and worn the more you read them.
What do you prefer to read? E books, blogs, magazines or print?
E-books. I have enough clutter in my house.
Do you watch gay porn to get ideas?
There is sex in my books, lots of it over the course of the whole series actually, but no I don’t watch porn. I’m not really into video porn of any kind—it just doesn’t do it for me. I need emotional connections. The only place I have found solid emotional connection between characters is in written fiction.
What is nearest and dearest to your heart?
My boys. All three of them. I don’t know what I would do without my sons and my husband. They are the great strength in my life that gets me through all the dark times.
Do you have a story or an author who inspires you?
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Whenever I feel like I have just forgotten how to write, I pick that book back up and read it cover to cover. I have my mom’s copy now, so that makes it even more precious to me.
If you are sick, what is the first thing you do?
I’m chronically ill. I’m always sick, so the first thing I do is realize, yup, I’m still breathing. Then I get to work.
What is your personality like?
I think I’m a mix of all my characters. Alex, Samantha, Zakai… If you read them, you know me.
What do you look for when seeking out an on line friendship?
Honesty and kindness. Mean people suck. I can’t handle negative people on any level. I spend so much of my life these days looking at kitten videos, and trying to keep myself from sinking into a dark place, that the last thing I need is someone who is negative.
What makes you laugh/sad/angry?
It’s really not hard to make me laugh. I love to laugh, and so I watch a lot of stand-up comedy. What makes me equally sad and angry is when people fail to see that the world goes beyond their own personal experiences. People have a tendency to assume the life they have lived and the experiences they have had are how it is for everyone. This leads to people denying that the horrors of poverty, racism, classism, and chronic illness exist. They assume if you are broke, you must be lazy. If you have suffered racial or class injustice, you’re probably just too sensitive and looking for an excuse. If you are sick all the time, you should probably just go see a doctor or stop being a wimp. It makes me sad and angry, because unless you have lived in a person’s shoes, you have no idea what their experience has been.
I want to thank you for letting me dig around a bit…You deserve great big HUGS!!
To see more of S.N. click here