Hello, Alex, thank you for joining us today. We are excited and honored to have you. Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I was born and raised in Williamsburg, VA, which is a ghost town for a few months that explodes with tourists every spring through fall. I went to the College of William and Mary right in the heart of the Historic District, and I’m fairly positive I’ll die right here in the Commonwealth. The wine is too good here to leave.
What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
My first book as Alex Bowman was Losing His Religion. I was quite lucky and got a yes from the first publisher I submitted to, so I’m sure my story isn’t typical. I wrote it in three weeks and two months later is was available for sale.
When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
I’ve been writing just about all my life and I’m published in another genre. A good friend had been nudging me to try MM erotic romance for the past few years. An idea hit one day that I really liked and didn’t feel like I could ignore and the Soul Collector’s world was born.
How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?
I’ve published two in the Soul Collector’s series, plus I have a short in the Lover Unexpected Anthology from Evernight. That short is also the start of a new series of contemporary shorts wrapped around a troupe of male erotic dancers. Magic Mike came around and stole my thunder! But they’re pretty, so I’m not mad.
Do you write full time?
One day I hope to. Now, I have a boring job pushing papers. I’d love to be able to focus on writing only. I’m jealous of the authors who can do that!
Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?
I was a chubby kid, always picked last for dodge ball. Books were a way to escape the world and all the hateful bullies out there. Being a voracious reader, writing just seemed to come naturally to me, but I never once imagined I’d be paid to do it. It humbles me every time I have someone say that they enjoyed reading my stories.
On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
First off, I need coffee to lubricate the brain and wake it up. Then I usually open up iTunes to listen to opera. Yes, opera, and no, I’m not stuffy, I promise. I love opera and it seems to make me very productive. Then I re-read at least the last few chapters to get back into the swing of things. Hour-long sprints from there on, until I can’t see straight or I have to leave the screen. If I’m lucky, someone will take pity on me and peek in and throw a sandwich or an apple my way.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
Typically no, unless I find a huge plot hole that I want to sew up. Those don’t happen too often, but no one’s perfect. Otherwise, I edit after I type THE END.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I am one of those weird plot-pantsers. I do walk into a new story with a very loose outline and a definite direction of where I want to go. But then sometimes tangents happen. Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad. The second Soul Collectors novel was supposed to be completely different, but Sheriff Jason McCall came into a scene and took over from there. The original premise and plan got thrown into the garbage (which is a lie, because I realized that a huge chunk of it would be perfect for the third novel and I had no idea why I’d given it to Elia in the first place.)
What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
Ultimately it depends on what I’m writing. Paranormal is freeing to a point that you are creating whole worlds that do not exist and are only limited by your imagination and writing skill. Research is not as in-depth as it would be on something like a Historical.
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
I think a lot of an author ends up in their characters. No matter how hard you work to keep your own POV out of it and let the character speak, you’re going to impact it in some way, shape or form. As far as development, that’s still something I’m learning as I go. I try to think about who the person is, where he came from, what he wants in his life, and how he’d react to certain situations before I ever write one word on a page. But even then, sometimes your characters challenge you or surprise the hell out of you. Jason is foul-mouthed. He cusses up a storm. Some readers may not like it, but that’s how he sounded in my head and that’s what got written.
How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read? Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?
If my muse is in a good mood, I can complete a near novel-length novella in as little as two weeks. And I typically write straight through without revision.
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’ve had moments were I just didn’t “feel” a story was working for me and felt like I’d hit a brick wall. Usually I either take a break or pull out something else to work on that calls to me. I write every single day and have for the past couple of years. Though, sometimes a person just needs a day or two off, but those are rare.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?
I write to entertain, to make people forget their problems for an hour or two, just like books have always done for me. I would hope that they rooted for my heroes and wanted to see them come together and find happiness, and that my story was unique enough to make it an interesting read.
Can you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?
1. Write every day.
2. If you want it to be a full-time career, don’t treat it like a hobby. Be professional in all things you do.
3. Continue to challenge yourself and develop your skill. Seek out information about the industry and the craft of writing.
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?
I’ve met authors who say they know the title before they ever put fingers to keyboard. Not me. I didn’t title Laying Down the Lawman until the day I submitted it to my publisher. Now that I unknowingly started a trend with the L-ing words, I’m racking my brain trying to come up with something spiffy for the third one. Spiffy isn’t me, though. Sigh.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
I’m a bit of a Smart-Alec. (Jeez, that was bad.) I tend to love bawdy humor and things that toe across the PC line. But I also like things that make me think. George Carlin should have been made an Immortal.
What is the most frequently asked Alex Bowman question?
I’m a newbie here in MM land, so I’m still flying under the radar. The only thing I’ve been asked was when I was writing my next one. Suppose that’s a good thing?
What are you working on now?
The third Soul Collector title. It’s time to tell Graeae’s story. Now that’s a question I’m sure some people haven’t asked me but wondered. How to pronounce Graeae? I’ve personally heard it two ways. Gray-ee and Gree. In my mind for this character, it’s the latter.
I’m also working on the Men of Rock Candy short series.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve received with respect to the art of writing? How did you implement it into your work?
Speak dialogue out loud when you’re editing to make sure it sounds like something someone would say. I’ve been told that my dialogue is great, and I think that’s why.
When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?
I suck at promotion. I feel like a beggar on a corner, holding a sign saying “Please Buy My Book.” I guess my thoughts are that the writing will eventually speak for itself, one way or another. If you write it (and well), they will come. If it’s not good, it will drift and die. Oh, and I can die happy now that I’ve used a sappy Field of Dreams quote. Score! But with so many writers out there in writerland, I don’t know if my way of doing things will ultimately work. But for now, I shall keep on writing.
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 what’s out there, seeing what wildly imaginative things other people in the author community write never ends to amaze me every day. That and porn. (LOL) I have a deep love of History and Sci-Fi, so in my off hours, I watch Nova or something on National Geographic. You would be amazed at what one little thing could give you that ‘aha!’ moment. I have been lucky so far that the well has never tapped out. I may hit that proverbial wall, but there has always been another story out there that I could move on to. I love writing. My mind is almost always churning with ideas, even when I’m pushing papers in a boring job.
What kind of books do you like to read?
Historical Non-fiction, Sci-Fi (RIP Ray Bradbury), romance in various forms.
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
A porn star. LOL…I better watch it or I’ll get a rep for being a creep. A History professor. It’s what I should have done instead of what I’m doing now. But I was too lazy to do post-grad work.
Where did you get the idea for the stories you write?
A big slap on the back of the head from my muse? Stardust? I couldn’t say. They just come. Thankfully.
When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?
Oh, you want to get me in trouble with my publisher, don’t you? Naughty girl. I will preface this with the fact I love my publisher and I’ve gotten nice covers. The one for the Lover Unexpected anthology is absolutely gorgeous. Both Soul Collectors covers weren’t exactly how I envisioned the characters, but such is life. There are only but so many pieces of stock photography out there, and really it’s all subjective. What one person sees as perfect won’t be right in the mind of another, just the like books they cover.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Traveling, fine wine, concerts, dancing, and four-wheeling in my Jeep.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
Just more from the Soul Collectors and the bad boys of Rock Candy. The Soul Collectors series has become larger than I ever imagined. It started with the idea for one book, but this is really a much larger story. As the world in the pages gets bigger and bigger, it will just keep coming I hope.
New writers are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new writers?
If you feel overwhelmed, tear it down into smaller segments. An outline can break it up chapter by chapter as to where you want to go and give you direction. Then don’t look at it as a whole novel, look at writing just one chapter, which doesn’t seem so daunting. Eventually, those chapters begin to add up.
What future projects do you have in the works?
The next Soul Collector title and a new Men of Rock Candy short.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
My blog has details of what’s going on in my writing world, and readers can find me on Facebook: http://authoralexbowman.blogspot.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/authoralexbowman. As I said before, I suck at promo, so I’m not on either half as much as I probably should be.
Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one of more of your stories with us?
This is from Losing His Religion and is in Ios’s POV. He’s trying to hold back the lust he feels for Jamie but he’s failing at it miserably.
He’d walked into this arrangement knowing Jamie would probably never accept him for what he was. So he’d decided before he’d finally gotten close to the human to keep his distance and ignore the lust he’d felt from the first moment he’d laid eyes on him. He’d already crossed that line numerous times, and he was sure it would continue to happen.
Maybe he should just tell Jamie the truth. Get it out in the open. Best possible scenario would have Jamie accepting him. Worst, Jamie would push him away completely and it would cut his romantic aspirations in the bud. It would also put Jamie in grave danger. He needed to prepare him first, before he told him the truth, give the human a fighting chance. Hopefully Ios could keep his dick in his pants long enough for that to happen.
Watching Jamie’s smaller frame, his hips rolling as he walked, brought his attention to his rounded ass. Licking his lips, he imagined holding on to that as he surged forward into his body, his ass gripping him like a fist. He shook his head, clearing his thoughts, but not before his dick had caught wind of the vision. His hard-on popped up and throbbed against the zipper of his jeans, making him suck in a breath from the torture.
“What’s wrong?” Jamie turned around as he asked. Their gazes caught and then his eyes wandered further down and caught sight of Ios’s erection.
Ios nearly groaned from the wave of desire that rolled over Jamie’s face, and could have growled as the human tightened his features to hide his response. He sensed Jamie’s confusion, had all along. And it was more than just his being attracted to another male. The human’s thoughts were scrambled, disjointed. Some things he was actually able to hide away, deep in the recesses of his mind, but the emotions he felt ran closer to the surface. Ios could pluck them easily, but couldn’t get to his memories.
It didn’t matter. He seemed quite capable of seeing the visions running through Jamie’s mind now and they were worse than those that had caused the erection in the first place. He fisted his hard cock in one palm through his jeans, the fiery trail the little human was taking him down enough for him to lose his control. And potentially, his mind.
“Keep thinking those thoughts and you are going to get fucked, hard. And exactly the way you’re currently imagining.”