Please give a big Top2Bottom welcome to Jacob Z. Flores!
Jacob we’re thrilled to have your here!!
I’d like to thank you for having me back here at Top2Bottom. This is one of my favorite blogs for m/m fiction, and with a name like Top2Bottom, who wouldn’t love it? But beyond the great name, Top2Bottom was very welcoming when I took my first tentative steps into m/m fiction back when I started in this business, so thank you so much for being so great to me!
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?
I’ll take a Sprite, please. Luckily, I always carry around a flask of Vodka. Just in case of an emergency. And Sprite without Vodka is definitely an emergency! I brought enough for everyone. What can I say? I’m a giver!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, not only am I good at giving, I’m good at receiving as well! What? Why are you looking at me like that? I’m talking about gifts, nothing else! Such dirty minds around here. I love it!
But seriously, I lead the typical family life with a husband, three children, and two dogs. So I’m pretty much just like everyone else out there.
The only thing that may make me slightly different is that I also occasionally work with a traveling circus as a contortionist. I don’t think anyone wants to hear about that, right?
Um, yes we do! Jacob, you tease!! Next time you visit, we want to hear more about it!!
When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?
I don’t think it was a word. It was more like an unintelligible, high pitched squeal that only dogs or bats could hear. I even got all the neighborhood dogs to join in! I consider that quite the accomplishment.
Obviously, I was super excited that When Love Takes Over was accepted by Dreamspinner Press. It’s the first book of The Provincetown Series, and it’s a series I’ve wanted to write for a while. To have the manuscript accepted meant that I would finally be able to share Provincetown, a place that I love dearly, with readers. I couldn’t have been happier about that.
What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?
It was a longing to tell stories that were unique to me. From my experiences and my perspective. I had been a fan of mainstream authors like Stephen King, James Patterson, and James Rollins to name a few, and I loved their stories. But something was missing. I didn’t know what it was at the time, and I didn’t figure it out until I came across my first Michael Thomas Ford book.
Then, I understood what was missing from King and the others. Sure, their stories were great, but their stories weren’t told from a point of view that I could relate to. Ford’s books made me realize that, and that’s when my passion for writing, which I had allowed to sit on the back burner for professional reasons, reignited.
I just had to write, and that has gotten me to where I am today.
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.
OMG! Cookies or cake? That’s torture! How about cookies and cake? That’s so much better. I’ll have a chocolate chip cookie and a wedge of chocolate cake. Yes, I said wedge, and no, what you’re cutting is not a wedge.
Aww! Come on Jacob! Let us spoil you!
What can I say? I’m obsessed with chocolate, and I don’t apologize for that. Not one bit.
How many hours a day do you spending writing?
It’s hard to talk with my mouth full of chocolate cake, but I shall try.
During the summer when I’m not teaching, I can write 4,000 words a day on a good day. During the school year, though, I average about 1,000 words, which still isn’t bad. I enjoy writing so much that I get a bit pissy when I have to go back to school. I know it’s the day job and helps pay the bills, but I long for the day when I write full time. That would be even better than chocolate cake. Yes, you heard me right. I love writing more than chocolate. Luckily though, when I write, I can have both.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I revise as I go along. It’s the English teacher in me.
I typically write the scene as it flows, and if I get to a point where I’m stuck, I go back, re-read, revise as I go, and then pick up where I left off. When I finish a chapter, I re-read it and revise it again. I could revise until the end of time. Thankfully, I have deadlines that prevent that from happening.
When I get round one or two of edits, though, I’m typically pretty excited. It means that I get another chance to edit the work and make it shine. That’s pretty weird, huh? Not too many writers like edits but I’m weird and I embrace it freely!
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
What’s funny about the answer to this question is that it has changed. When I wrote Moral Authority and 3, I crafted an outline from beginning to end. It worked really well for those books. When I started writing The Gifted One, I had a general idea of where I wanted to go, but I just couldn’t write the outline. So I started writing, and the novel just came to me as I went.
For When Love Takes Over, and the rest of the Provincetown books, I had no outline whatsoever. I created the characters and set them loose. I’ve been pleased with the overall results so far. Sure, it creates panic sometimes when I don’t know where to go next, but thankfully my muse hits me upside my head with a baseball bat to get me going again.
Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?
That’s a tough question because the answer is never the same. I think today my favorite character is Zach from When Love Takes Over. I believe he’s very relatable in that he is a flawed good guy, trying to figure out why his life has gone to hell. I think Zach will speak a lot to people. Who hasn’t known someone like Zach or even been in Zach’s shoes? Plus, Zach’s a clumsy goofball, and that kind of personality just makes me smile.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
I never suffer from writer’s block. Stories flow seamlessly from my brain, out my fingers, and onto the keyboard. Yeah, I wish!
Whenever I get writer’s block, I get very pissy. Just ask my husband. Poor guy has to put up with me when I get stuck. He always tells me that I’ll get past it, that I always do, and that I got stuck in my previous book too. His support is typically the most helpful.
If that doesn’t work, I will sit down and read. Usually that will do the trick. Reading someone else’s words often times gets my creative juices flowing again, and I’m back on track.
Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone?
Yes. It’s my comfy, oversized chair in the family room. It’s where I create, and when I’m in writer’s mode, no one can sit there. I become like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, and remind people, “That’s my spot!”
Thankfully, no one really sits there any more. I think my family has finally realized it’s better to just sit elsewhere.
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 don’t because my comfy, oversized chair is in the family room. I would love to have a study. An entire room just for me to write. That’s my dream. Our oldest is leaving for college this fall, so I may just commandeer part of the room and make it my new writing space. We shall see if that actually happens though. She’s very territorial as well.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
I have no sense of humor. I am cold and unfeeling and rarely smile.
Yeah, I couldn’t pull that off, could I? I don’t know how to describe my sense of humor because pretty much anything can make me laugh. Big Bang Theory is my favorite show. When Sheldon and Amy Farrah Fowler are in scenes together, I’m usually dying of laughter. I also like Family Guy for it’s off-the-wall and sometimes off-color humor.
What is the most frequently asked Jacob Z. Flores question?
Hmmmm. There are several. Some people want to know why I’m always smiling. Or if there’ll be a follow up book to 3 or The Gifted One. And the answers to those questions are I smile because I’m friendly. Or I’m flirting. Who am I kidding? I’m a terrible flirt, so it’s most likely friendly flirting. And right now, there are no follow up books planned for 3 or The Gifted One. The potential is there, but I’ve got other irons in the fire right now.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on When Love Comes to Town, the fourth and final book of the Provincetown Series. I won’t give too much away, but the story is about Brody O’Shea, a reformed horn dog, who is looking for love, and Eric Vasquez, a grief-stricken man of the law, who lives only for his daughter. Both men have certain expectations about Provincetown and what they want out of life, but when they meet each other, their expectations may prove to be unrealistic.
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?
Reading helps with the creative spark. When I read, I typically consider how the author constructed the plot and the characters. I try to figure out where the plot is going and how the characters will evolve. I even imagine alternate paths that the author could have chosen but didn’t. I think of reading as a creative writing exercise.
What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?
Horror is my absolute favorite. I’ve always been a big fan of the horror genre, whether it’s in the theater or in a book. There’s just something about being terrified that makes me happy. My family thinks it’s strange. They hate to be scared, but I crave it. A good scary book can make me happy.
Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer-
Astronaut. Because they get to go out in space. I would love to do that!
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy traveling. It’s one of my favorite things to do. That wasn’t always the case. Before I met my husband, I was pretty much a homebody. My husband, however, loves to travel, and since he introduced me to the joys of traveling, I’ve been hooked. It’s actually because of him that we ended up in Provincetown that first time eight years ago. It was his Father’s Day gift to me. If he hadn’t given that trip to me, this series might never have been written.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
Yes, the second and third books of the Provincetown Series. The next book is a novella titled Chasing the Sun. This book is actually a spin-off of When Love Takes Over. We leave Provincetown for one book and head back to Texas, where Zach Kelly, one of the main characters is from. Chasing the Sun tells the story of Gil Kelly, who is Zach’s father, and his search for love. It will be released in October/November.
After that, When Love Gets Hairy will be out in January/February 2014. It tells the story of Van’s best friend Nino. He wakes up one morning from a beach party he cannot remember and finds a naked bear laying next to him in bed.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
You can buy When Love Takes Over here:
And I urge readers to visit me at any or all of my social media sites:
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!!
Thank you for having me, and of course I can help. But before we get started on the dishes, I want to thank everyone who joined me here today.