I'm delighted to be here at R.J.'s today. She asked me do a mini-interview – picking three questions from a larger set – and then to provide a blurb and excerpt. I'm only too happy to oblige!
RJ: Where do you get your ideas for sex scenes? Porn? LGBT friends? Personal experience?
I know it will sound weird, but even when I'm writing M/M sex, I draw on my personal experiences. Arousal begins in the mind, and I believe that regardless of gender or orientation humans have some commonalities in terms of their reactions to sexual stimuli. I know how it feels to want someone. I've experienced all the attendant emotional complexities: fear, embarrassment, guilt, and of course love. The physical actions in a sexual encounter flow from imagination and emotion; when I start there, writing the outward manifestations is pretty straightforward.
Another answer to this question is that the ideas really aren't mine – they belong to my characters. Especially in writing M/M, I find that the characters tell me what they want to do – and sometimes surprise me. For example, a guy who has, up to that point, mostly been the sexual aggressor in a relationship will indicate that he wants to be penetrated. I know better than to argue!
RJ: What do YOU like to read? How do you find satisfying reading stuff, when you have whole worlds in your head? Do you read completely different genres, or do you read m/m? And can you even do that without thinking at some point that you could do better?
I read almost every genre – science fiction, fantasy, mystery, humor, historical, “literary” fiction, and some non-fiction – in addition to erotica and erotic romance. Recently I've completed Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles (literary fiction); The Women by T.C. Boyle (historical fiction); Minority Affairs by Scottie Lowe (erotica); and a French spy thriller called Arnaque a Brunei, by Gérard de Villiers (with a lot of help from my French dictionary LOL!). I'm currently in the middle of Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen (humorous fiction) and Elemental Fire by K.D. Grace (paranormal erotica). Next on my TBR pile is The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage (non-fiction).
I tend to discover great books by accident, picking them up in used book stores or at library sales. Two recent finds were The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (dark fantasy) and The Windup Girl by Paulo Bacigalupi (science fiction). When I'm in the middle of a fabulous read, I'm typically very emotionally involved. I talk about the book to every one I know. I may even dream about the characters or the setting.
In terms of M/M fiction, I'm actually more likely to read gay erotica than gay romance. This is partly from a desire to keep my own work fresh and different. I don't want to be overly influenced by the conventions of the genre.
RJ: Do you ever compare yourself to other authors and feel like you're lacking and if so how do you overcome that feeling of being not good enough?
Don't we all? I'm particularly depressed, sometimes, by my low level of productivity compared to my peers. (Like you, for instance!) I don't write full time, or even every day – my life doesn't allow that luxury – so I'm lucky to put out two or three new books per year.
When I start feeling down about this, I remind myself that publishing is a pleasure for me, not a duty. I don't make my living off my writing, and so every book I can bring into the world is in some sense a gift. Furthermore, although I don't produce many books or stories, my rejection rate is quite low.
I also combat feelings of inadequacy by reaching out to new authors. They have so many more insecurities than I do! And, given my fourteen years of experience in publishing, sometimes I can be of concrete assistance.
With the questions out of the way, we can get down to the good stuff! Here's the blurb and a romantic but sexy excerpt from my most recent M/M title, a dystopic science fiction novel entitled Quarantine.
When love is forbidden, the whole world's a prison.
Dylan Moore will do anything for freedom. Seven years ago, a gay plague spread to heterosexuals, killing millions and sparking brutal anti-gay riots. The Guardians rounded up men who tested positive for the homogene and imprisoned them in remote quarantine centers like desolate Camp Malheur. Since then, Dylan has hacked the camp's security systems and hoarded spare bits of electronics, seeking some way to escape. He has concluded the human guards are the only weakness in the facility's defenses.
Camp guard Rafe Cowell is H-negative. He figures the lust he feels watching prisoner 3218 masturbate on the surveillance cameras must be due to his loneliness and isolation. When he finally meets the young queer, he discovers that Dylan is brilliant, brave, sexy as hell – and claims to be in love with
Rafe. Despite his qualms, Rafe finds he can't resist the other man's charm. By the time Dylan asks for his help in escaping, Rafe cares too much for Dylan to refuse.
Dylan's plan goes awry and Rafe comes to his rescue. Soon they're both fugitives, fleeing from militant survivalists, murderous androids, homophobic ideologues and a powerful man who wants Dylan as his sexual toy. Hiding in the Plague-ravaged city of Sanfran, Dylan and Rafe learn there's far more than
their own safety at stake. Can they help prevent the deaths of millions more people? And can Rafe trust the love of a man who deliberately seduced him in order to escape from quarantine?
Link to Trailer: http://youtu.be/zZUL9LGjd9s
Buy in ebook from Total-E-Bound: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?P_ID=1725
Buy in print from Total-E-Bound: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?P_ID=1822
Buy in ebook from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Quarantine-ebook/dp/B009CDWH5M/
Buy in print from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Quarantine-Lisabet-Sarai/dp/1781845271/
(Also available from Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks, and other online outlets.)
Rafe had already been snoring when Dylan came upstairs, his head pounding, numbers and symbols dancing in his brain. The black man’s features were twisted into a scowl. Even in sleep, his fists clenched. Dylan had brushed his lips across his lover’s brow and stroked the incipient beard. Rafe didn’t wake, but his tense features relaxed somewhat and he breathed more deeply. Although Dylan’s body had cried out for comfort, he didn’t want to be selfish.
Poor guy has endured a lot for my sake. Dylan shook his head. The camp had accustomed him to the constant fight for survival. He’d realised long ago that carrying the homogene marked him for an early death, one way or another, and that his intellect was his only defence. Rafe, though… Sure, he’d been in a gang, but there was something innocent and vulnerable about the man nevertheless. He wasn’t used to being hunted the way Dylan was.
A Guardian armoured vehicle rumbled past, sweeping its spotlight across the battered facades on either side of the street. Dylan pulled back, away from the window, though with the room unlit it was unlikely they could detect his presence.
Will we ever have a peaceful time together, without this constant fear? Dylan recalled his months with Miguel before the Plague hit, the glorious freedom to finally be himself, the joy they’d found in each other’s arms. It seemed like a long-ago dream now—one that belonged to someone else. Would he and Rafe ever experience anything like that?
“Dylan, baby?” Rafe’s groggy voice pulled him back to the present. “I missed you.”
Dylan turned his back on the window. “I didn’t want to wake you. It was after midnight by the time we finished.”
He hoisted himself onto the tall four-poster and pressed his body against Rafe. His lover still wore an undershirt and briefs. Dylan slid his hands under the shirt, across Rafe’s warm, smooth belly to the furry swell of his pecs. When he flicked the nipples with his thumbs, Rafe moaned.
“I missed you too,” Dylan added, pushing up the fabric so he could duck down to purse his lips around one of the tight little nubs.
“Oh…oh, fuck, that’s good!” Rafe reached around to grip Dylan’s butt. He rubbed his stiffening cock against Dylan’s stomach. “C’mere, boy.” He hauled Dylan up until they were face to face, then seized him by the back of the head and mashed their lips together.
Dylan opened to Rafe’s probing tongue, letting the other man take the lead. Rafe was like a starving man presented with a feast. He devoured Dylan’s mouth with a ferocity that sent stabs of pleasure straight to Dylan’s groin. A taste of copper mingled with the mint of Rafe’s toothpaste as the ex-guard’s teeth tore into Dylan’s lip. Lust crashed like lightning through Dylan’s body.
“Oh, God…” he breathed into the hot mouth sealed to his. “Oh, Rafe…”
He clutched at the stretchy material of Rafe’s shorts, seeking the hard flesh underneath. The briefs clung to Rafe’s ass, defeating Dylan’s attempts to remove or push them aside. Rafe dragged him closer, grinding Dylan’s cock against his own clothing-sheathed erection. Dylan groaned in frustration.
“Get these damn things off,” he gasped, breaking the kiss. “Please—I need to feel your skin on mine.”
My warmest thanks to RJ for having me as her guest. And thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read my post. To reward you, I'm giving away an autographed print copy of Quarantine to one lucky person who leaves a comment on this post. Please be sure to include your email in the body of your comment!