Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, PD. Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I’m a pharmacist and mom, who read voraciously until I found a universe with characters I wanted to play with. That’s where I ran into Eden Winters—we teased each other into writing original work.
What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
Fire on the Mountain was my first book, and it was published one year to the day after I woke up with the plot.
When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
The stories don’t have the same kind of gender baggage that plagues het romance, which I do not read. I came out of a rather slashy fandom, so original stories were the next step.
How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?
It was one year from “we can do this” to “it’s for sale!” I’ve published four novels, with two more under contract, plus a novella and lots of shorts.
Do you write full time?
Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer?
I was every author’s audience until I found a universe where I felt strongly enough about certain characters to try to tell their stories. I was definitely not the kid whose first novel was written in crayon—I was *coughcoughcoughcan’tcountthathigh* .
On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
The laptop goes to work with me—I can get 500-600 words on the page at lunch, and instead of watching TV in the evenings, I’ll write. My work schedule rotates, so quiet mornings are mine! *evil cackle*
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I am so Linear Girl. I write straight through, leaving a note here and there for the revision stage.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I know where I’m starting, where I need to end, and the major points along the way. How I get there is the adventure. Sometimes it’s a matter of having leftover bees.
What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
All sorts! I’ll use reference materials and Web resources, I’ll interview people and visit locations, I will go try something new. Or I may have had the experience and can get some mileage out of it. An eggbeater fall down a ski slope where my goggles got packed with snow ought to be good for something.
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters?
Every character has to be a composite: a trait here, a reaction there, a like or dislike from a third source. I like the six-situation method of character development—what if *this* happened.
Frex, say char A gets a letter from the Internal Revenue Service. What are they demanding, or did he get a refund? Why did he get it? What does he do now? How does he feel about it? How much trouble is he in? Depending on the answers, you might be seeing the beginnings of a scoundrel, a well-meaning nice guy, a business shark, or a… Then, say, he needs to buy a car. Why? What kind? How much does he spend? Et cetera. You know his personality pretty well after six of these, and can predict what he’d do in your plot situations. His first pet’s name and his middle school report cards are trivial.
How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read?
It can be a week for a short, or a year for a novel. It just depends on the story.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
If I’m blocked, it’s because my plot has taken a wrong turn and I have to figure out what it is and fix it. It may take a couple of days to decipher the real problem.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?
I hope the reader bonds with the characters and feels their pain and triumph, and is immersed in the reality of the story’s circumstances. If they learn something, that’s a bonus; I do accurate details, settings, and situations because I am thorough that way.
Can you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?
1) Keep good records: this is a business.
2) Have a tidy, well-organized and frequently updated website (not the sort of busy, busy mess I started with).
3) Don’t force yourself to do forms of social media that make you really uncomfortable—it shows, and it uses valuable writing time. Write the next story instead.
Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?
Titles have come before plots, during writing, and in one case, after the contract was signed.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
Quirky—I will laugh at everything from elaborate puns to pratfalls. Eden Winters and Carole Cummings riffing on possums makes my sides hurt.
What is the most frequently asked PD Singer question?
What’s up with Kurt and Jake? The answer’s here: www.pdsinger.com .
What are you working on now?
Another Mountain novel and a novel starring a pro bicycle racer and a journalist.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve received with respect to the art of writing?
I’ve received many valuable tidbits, but the hardest and most important is to get the first draft done and then revise. Otherwise momentum gets lost.
When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?
I’ve gone to GayRomLit in New Orleans, to hang with readers and other authors, and will be going to Albuquerque this year! It didn’t feel like lengths, because it was so danged much fun.
What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
I read other genres of fiction, lots of non-fiction, visit museums and attend events. I’m always open to new experiences. Except sky-diving. Not jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, uh uh no way.
What kind of books do you like to read?
It’s easier to say what I won’t read: horror and het romance. Everything else is fair game.
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
A part time stained glass artist—I put the tools down when I started writing, because I don’t have a thirty-six hour day.
Where did you get the idea for the stories you write?
Everywhere! Headline news, casual reading, a bad experience, a good experience. A fight with my husband. I have more notes in the WIP folder than I can get to in the next three years.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I play Irish fiddle, sew, crochet, garden, and ski.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
Mountain novels will be coming along like beads on a string, every two months starting in June!
New writers are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new writers?
Use the screen name, including email address, you want people to associate with you. If you call yourself MissWhiskers1973 but write as L.V. Beethoven, it will be twice as hard to remember you.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
My website with blog is here: www.pdsinger.com, I’m on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000815652448 and Twitter, @PD_Singer. See what I mean about remembering?
Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one of more of your stories with us?
Here’s a snippet from Maroon: Donal agus Jimmy.
The best jobs in 1911 Belfast are in the shipyards, but Donal Gallagher’s pay packet at Harland and Wolff doesn’t stretch far enough. He needs to find someone to share his rented room; fellow ship-builder Jimmy Healy’s bright smile and need for lodgings inspire Donal to offer. But how will he sleep, lying scant feet away from Jimmy? It seems Jimmy’s a restless sleeper, too, lying so near to Donal…
In a volatile political climate, building marine boilers and armed insurrection are strangely connected. Jimmy faces an uneasy choice: flee to America or risk turning gunrunner for Home Rule activists. He thinks he’s found the perfect answer to keep himself and his Donal safe, but shoveling coal on a luxury liner is an invitation to fate.
“Home with ye, don’t make a scene.” Donal didn’t care to hear his name coupled with a woman’s in marriage, but Jimmy’s full tenor wasn’t suffering much from the beer, aside from the high notes, and his arm lay warm against the back of Donal’s neck.
“Which way? Donal agus Morag…” Jimmy tried again, leaning heavily but letting Donal guide him out the door and down the road. If only this was not the sole reason to put an arm about Jimmy’s waist.
Not the first time he’d walked a gee-eyed friend home, and Jimmy was nice about it, stumbling but giving no sign of hurling. The gardie they met half-way back might have been a problem, but “Since you’re takin’ him home, and that not far,” they didn’t add an arrest for public drunkenness to the evening, and Donal heard a faint echo of “Donal agus Morag…” from behind them.
“Your song’s over,” Donal shushed Jimmy after a trip out back and before the ordeal of the stairs.
“Do not vex Mrs. Deegan!” Jimmy quit mid-word. He still needed a bit of help up, and once into their still dark room, he toppled into the bed, so abruptly that he didn’t let go of Donal’s neck, nor could Donal do aught but fall with him, arm trapped.
Jimmy lay quiet as stone, and near as heavy. Donal tried to pull his arm out from under his friend, but two or three tugs convinced him he was stuck fast. It could have been far worse — trapped with his head on Jimmy’s shoulder, he was at least cozy, so cozy he’d tell Jimmy that there was no getting his arm back from under a great lump of a bolloxed gingernut until he’d slept off the beer. How much had Jimmie drunk? Enough to believe the tale Donal would need to explain his hard willie? Perhaps Jimmy’s noticin’ wouldn’t run to that, pressed up against Jimmy’s leg though it was. Donal relaxed to the inevitable best he could, with his free arm over Jimmy’s belly. Oh, but the man was warm. He’d not worn a waistcoat and now Donal’s hand lay under the tweed of Jimmie’s jacket, with only a cotton shirt between them.
Thank the Lord Jimmy didn’t snore. Not that Donal could sleep, all his attention being on Jimmy like that. Not all — he needed some to keep his traitor body from humping against his companion. There’d be no explaining that. Donal hadn’t imagined a worse torment than trying to sleep across the room from Jimmy — now he cursed himself for a short-sighted fool. Quietly and repeatedly.
“If it’s that bad, I’ll let ye up.” Jimmy didn’t sound drunk at all — his murmur was clear and soft. “But I think ye’re fine where ye are.”
“Ye do, do ye?” Donal hissed, his body gone rigid. “What makes ye think I think it’s fine?”
“This.” Jimmy rubbed his leg against Donal’s cock, and the friction, even through two pairs of trousers, was almost enough to undo him. “And it’s yerself ye’re cursing, not me. At least stay while we talk — voices carry.”
The window was open, though it faced to the garden in back. The windows of the houses butted up to either side might be open, too, and who knew what the neighbors might hear if their windows were open to the soft spring night? Donal stayed.
“Ye feigned drunk,” Donal accused him. “Ye let me think ye were well potted.” He had no idea what to do with his hand, and holding his head above Jimmy’s shoulder was getting wearing.
“How else would I get your arm around me?” Damn Jimmy for sounding like the very voice of reason. “But if two pints were enough to tank me, I could not call meself an Irishman.”
In truth, Donal had wondered at three. “The third?”
Jimmy chuckled. “Switched glasses with the man with the bodhrán; better he should drink it than play.”
There was a thing that could not be argued. “But this? Ye want me to…?” Lacking words, Donal flopped back against Jimmy’s side.
“This. More than this. But if ye do not, say the word; I’ll let ye up, we’ll say no more of it. But I do not think ye really want that, and I know I do not.” Jimmy’s hand had crept to Donal’s forearm, and the small strokes of his rough fingers bunched and smoothed the wool. “Ye did not struggle but once or twice when we lay down together. Had ye tried harder, I would have rolled over.”
“When we fell down together.” Relieved that Jimmy was so far from anger, Donal was still stung at being duped. Yet Jimmy was right — how else would Donal’s head ever come to Jimmy’s shoulder? “What more do ye want?”
“I don’t know all the ‘more’ there could be,” Jimmy murmured into Donal’s hair. “Do you?”
Find it here, at Torquere. http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=96&products_id=3388
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