Thank you for joining us today.
LA Witt: Thanks for having me. I promise I won’t cause too much trouble. And I’m not the one who dumped the cup of paper umbrellas on the floor behind the bar. Just saying.
MM: So tell me, how long have you been writing?
LA Witt: Since I could hold a pen upright. I’ve tinkered with writing since I was a kid, studied the craft since I was a teenager, and decided to buckle down and get serious in late 2008. That was also when I switched from attempted epic fantasy to erotic romance, which turned out to be my niche.
MM: What is your favorite subgenre to write?
LA Witt: Well, in the last year or so, I’ve been dabbling in different subgenres, and I haven’t decided what my favorite is. I’m rather enjoying urban fantasy; I’m finishing my second right now, and my first, Static, is due out from Amber Allure in June. I’ve also been getting into BDSM, and suspense/thrillers, plus I’m working on a collaborative steampunk project, which is something new. If I absolutely had to pick a favorite subgenre, and I’m not even sure if this one counts, I’d probably say ménage, whether it’s BDSM or vanilla. Relationship dynamics are always fun to play with, and when you add a third person to the mix, things get really interesting.
MM: Is there one that you haven’t tried that you see yourself doing in the future?
LA Witt: I’ve been itching to write something in the fantasy genre. Not just urban fantasy, but straight-up fantasy. (With lots of sex and romance, of course) I miss that genre from my still-cutting-my-teeth days, and I’d like to revisit it. That or some hardcore sci-fi. (Interpret “hardcore” however you please…)
MM: I’m of the opinion that erotica doesn’t have to be real all the time to make a good story, what are your thoughts?
LA Witt: It doesn’t have to be real ALL the time, but certain things will take me right out of the scene because they’re ridiculous, squicky, or downright painful. I don’t care if the two hot guys are horny as hell, in the middle of nowhere, and don’t have access to a bottle of AstroGlide…they’d better come up with some sort of lubricant if they’re going to engage in any anal action. If they’re having sex on the beach, at least some kind of anti-sand precaution. For the record, I can’t watch that scene in From Here to Eternity without imagining someone getting a wave-full of sand or a slimy wad of kelp in a place sand and kelp don’t belong.
But for the most part, no, it doesn’t have to be 100% real 100% of the time.
MM: Who are the authors that you look up to?
LA Witt: Far, far too many to list. I work with Aislinn Kerry and Anitra Lynn McLeod a lot, so I look up to them as mentors, colleagues, and writing buddies. They rock…and they put up with me on a regular basis, so they have the patience of saints. M Jules Aedin has also been a huge influence in terms of my understanding of—and writing about—gender issues, sexuality, etc. So, I would definitely say I look up to all three of them.
MM: Tell me about your latest release, With the Band?
LA Witt: This is a story about a couple of ambitious musicians who really shouldn’t be involved with each other, but can’t resist, and the effect that has on them, their relationship, and the band as a whole. It was a fun one to write because I had a tight-knit group of characters to play with, all of whom were snarky and bantery. And…I admit it. I love Bastian. I just do.
Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Lia Wolff, who wrote the lyrics to the song (Un)Fading, which plays a significant role in the book. I had a total author-fail moment and didn’t mention her in the dedication, and I feel like a complete and utter tool for that oversight. So, thank you, Lia!
The book is currently available from Loose Id, LLC.
MM: Me and my muses are big fans of stories with rock stars. Are there any you would personally recommend besides yours?
LA Witt: To be honest, most of my TBR list for the last year or so has been BDSM, steampunk, and urban fantasy. I just sat here for ten minutes trying to remember if I’d read anything with a rock band in it, and I could swear I did, but for the life of me, the title’s escaped me.
MM: What are you working on now?
LA Witt: At the moment, I’m about 2/3 of the way through The Given & The Taken, which is my first foray into the world of vampires and werewolves. It’s been quite a ride, and it’s very likely this will be the start of a series. There will be at least one sequel, that much I know. Assuming these boys don’t completely fry my brain…
After that, I’ve got a F/F/M contemporary in the offing, a M/M/F contemporary, a couple of steampunk stories, at least one M/M novella, and possibly third books in both the Light Switch (written as Lauren Gallagher) and Cover Me series. Needless to say, I have plenty to keep me busy.
MM: When I noticed how many new books you have coming out, I was astounded. What is your writing schedule like?
LA Witt: Haha yeah, this year has been kind of crazy as far as releases go. Between my two pseudonyms (I also write hetero as Lauren Gallagher), I have at least 9 more releases between now and the end of the year. It’s been a little busy lately. LOL
My schedule pretty much consists of get out of bed around 8ish. I check e-mails, screw off on the internet, blog, chat with writing buddies, eat breakfast, and update my website for a while, and I start writing no later than noon. I write until midnight or I hit my daily quota (5,000 words). If I hit my quota really early on, sometimes I’ll aim for more, other times I’ll take the evening off to work on my webcomic or spend time with that man who lives in my house and shares my last name. Throughout the day, I’ll take little breaks here and there to go to the gym or eat dinner and watch a little TV, but it’s pretty more or less nose-to-the-grindstone until I’m done.
The weekends are a little more lax, but I’m a workaholic, so I’m usually working then too.
MM: When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
LA Witt: I use photos to put a face with the name. Sometimes actors, sometimes just random people. I find having a face gives me a good jumping off point for figuring the character out, and from there, they kind of run off and become their own person. I can’t tell you how many times a story has started just by putting two (or three) pictures together and giving them names. By the time I’m done, the characters are completely separate in my head from whoever I based them on, so the resemblance is entirely physical.
MM: As an M/M writer, do you feel that the trend is changing where it is becoming more mainstream?
LA Witt: Yes and no. From the way M/M fiction is received online, and how popular it is, it certainly appears to be becoming more mainstream. Times have definitely changed.
That said, when I tell people face-to-face that I write M/M, and I get the “you do what, now?” reaction, followed by “people actually read that??”, I’m inclined to believe we have a long way to go before I’d call M/M mainstream.
MM: Recently, a writer sabotaged her career by answering a bad review on a blog. How would you have handled this and do you think authors should answer their reviews?
LA Witt: Wow, what a debacle. I think there was a lot to be learned from that whole fiasco. An author should, IMHO, never respond negatively to a review. Just…don’t. If I see a review of one of my books, whether it’s positive or negative, I’ll usually leave a comment thanking them for taking the time to review it. I mean, whether or not I agree with the review, they’ve put in the time to read my book and post something about it. I appreciate that either way.
I also had to cringe a bit at the response to the author. After a few people had responded, ripping into her for her lack of professionalism, the point was made. After a few dozen more, the point had been driven into the ground. When it was post after post after post of people dog-piling her, I…kinda thought that was a wee bit of overkill. If the best thing for an author is to ignore a negative review, then perhaps the best thing for the rest of us to do is ignore authors who don’t leave well enough alone…especially after we’ve been beaten to the punch by a few dozen others.
MM: As a fellow fem in the genre, what is your stance on the difference between male and female gay writers?
LA Witt: This is actually something I ranted about on my personal blog a few months ago, so I’ll spare you the entire lengthy tirade. Personally, I don’t care about the gender of the writer, I care about how they approach their characters. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with women writing about gay men.
That said, when there is backlash against female M/M writers, and accusations that we’re fetishizing gay men, it would behoove us to stop and make sure that’s not what we’re doing. I think we as authors need to be sensitive to the people we’re portraying. There’s more to being gay than just being attracted to the same sex, and this is something I’ve discussed at length with M Jules Aedin.
We live in a heteronormative society that views homosexuality, bisexuality, etc., as “other.” It’s “different”, and those air quotes frequently imply a certain sense of disgust, discomfort, even hostility. For someone in that “different” category, they don’t just skate through life without ever thinking twice about it. When any person who finds out what you are could respond negatively, and that negative response could be anything from a slight wrinkle of the nose to an act of violence, that awareness is always in the back of your mind.
Does that mean every book should be full of characters constantly looking over their shoulders, encountering homophobia, and generally being unnerved by every person they meet? No, of course not. But it also means when we receive criticism for what we write, it wouldn’t hurt to stop and look objectively at what we’re writing. Are we, for the sake of writing our own fantasies, completely ignoring something that a gay man can’t ignore? Are we, in effect, erasing their very real and very serious struggles for our own enjoyment? I’ve been guilty of it myself, and the more this backlash has made me aware of it, the more I’ve tried to steer in the opposite direction.
So, in short, I think women are just as capable as anyone else of writing M/M fiction, erotic or otherwise, but we owe it to the gay community to do so respectfully. Write ABOUT people, not OVER them.
MM: I read a blog about M/M writer’s losing their imagination because they are writing the same subjects repeatedly, what are your thoughts? http //www.reviewsbyjessewave.com/?p=42883
LA Witt: Oh, I think authors of every genre are guilty of that to a degree. Is it a bigger problem in M/M than elsewhere? Hard to say. And really, I think most of those subjects, even those that have been done to death, can be written in a new, fresh way. So, I’m hesitant to say “yeah, we should all avoid this or that” because someone may have some really cool spin to put on it.
That said, one of the things mentioned in that article is rape. That’s something that bothers me in any erotic fiction, particularly BDSM. It’s actually what got me writing about BDSM in the first place, because I saw so much rape showing up and being labeled as kink. I can’t think of ANY situation where I can forgive a “hero” who rapes the heroine/other hero. I just…I can’t.
And I absolutely can’t forgive an author who writes about a “hero” raping someone, and tries to make me believe it’s not rape for some incredibly twisted, squicky reason. Like “well, in his mind, he really was enjoying it, and even though the guy doing the raping couldn’t possibly KNOW THAT, it makes it okay”. GROSS. That’s right up there with “he didn’t stop because he knew she actually liked it.” I tried to read one book a year or so ago in which the two male main characters each raped the other within the first three chapters. I don’t know what happened in the fourth chapter or beyond because I was too busy bleaching my ereader and taking the hottest shower I could.
(Can you tell this is a soapbox issue for me?)
MM: What is it about M/M that pleasures you to write it?
LA Witt: Same thing as hetero, F/F, etc: sex and relationships are fascinating. A lot of people say sex is overrated and it isn’t important, but if it was, people wouldn’t go to such lengths (so to speak) to get it. I think it’s a very significant part of the human condition, and same goes for love (and yes, I believe you can have one without the other…sex without love, love without sex). So, I like exploring how it can affect individuals, couples, etc., regardless of gender. That, and it’s hot…again, regardless of gender. (And yes, I am writing some F/F too)
MM: Where can we find you on the web?
LA Witt: Pretty much everywhere! :D
Website – http://www.loriawitt.com
Twitter – GallagherWitt
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lauren-Gallagher-Romance-Author/187999894436#!/pages/L-A-Witt-MM-Fiction/187063289526
Also as Lauren Gallagher: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lauren-Gallagher-Romance-Author/187999894436
I even have a webcomic now, because I’m insane: http://marginallyunhinged.blogspot.com
MM: Thank you for taking the time to spend with us today LA Witt and continued success on your work.
LA Witt: Thanks for having me! I’ll send in the cleanup crew…
Taken from the Loose ID site:
ISBN: 978-1-60737-978-2 Genre: LGBT Contemporary Length: Novel Plus
Hard rock band Schadenfreude is finally on the verge of the success that’s eluded them for the last several years. With Aaron McClure as their new lead singer, nothing’s going to stop them…except maybe a steamy, secret relationship between Aaron and bassist Bastian Koehler. Aaron knows all too well what can happen when band members get involved with each other. After all, his last band was a casualty of his last relationship, and Schadenfreude forbids band members from dating for that very reason. But Bastian is too hot to resist, and besides, it’s just sex, so what’s the harm?
Bastian has just gotten out of a long relationship with his volatile ex-fiancée when Aaron catches his eye. The sexy singer is irresistible, and in spite of the potential for strife within the band if this comes out, Bastian can’t help himself.
Their passion in the bedroom is rivaled only by their ambition as musicians, though, and pretty soon, it's going to tear them, and Schadenfreude apart, if they can't get back to playing with the band.
What a great interview! I cannot wait to read this book! The gals, (Rawiya and BL) love the stories of gay male stars just as much as I do. LA, I don't mind you getting on your soapbox. I do it all the time at IRM! Continued success dearie and I look forward to all of your release. LOL
If you're looking for today's Sip by Michael, it's at Rawiya's
Next up on our guest list, fab author GA Hauser! Until then...