MM: First off, thank you for joining us. How long have you been writing?
Lee: For publication, about eight months- prior to this I wrote for myself
MM: Cool, what made you decide that you wanted to put yourself out there to publish?
Lee: Someone else convinced me that what I wrote was good enough.
MM: That’s great. Before you started, had you done any fanfiction? If so, what fandom?
Lee: Never- I still haven’t done any fan fic.
MM: Are you in agreement that writing fanfiction is a great way to practice ones craft, why or why not?
Lee: I actually think it’s a good way of practicing, but a difficult thing to do. You’re working with established characters that are well loved and opening yourself to criticsm if your vision isn’t true to character
MM: That’s very true. What is your favorite subgenre to write?
Lee: I write contemporary m/m romance… I’d like to write regency- but the harshest reviews I’ve seen are on historicals – so it’s a bit intimidating
MM: I’m in agreement with that! Is there one that you haven’t tried that you see yourself doing in the future?
Lee: Oh, I plan to write a Regency m/m, I just need to get my research ready first
MM: Would you ever write a hetero romance? Why or why not?
Lee: Actually, I did. I wrote Giving Up, which is the Third book in the Truth or Dare series, and its hetero. The sixth book in that series is also planned as a hetero. Why? Because statistically speaking all four Blake brothers couldn’t be gay. Could they?
MM: What is your opinion on the “chicks with dicks” analogy? In your opinion, is it wrong for your males to be emotional or romantic?
Lee: Well, no. I think that’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. I hate labels of all kinds. There are romantic men, emotional men, stoic men, and so on. I strive to make the men in my books romantic. Why? Because I recognize that the primary readership I’m looking at is female. I think m/m romance that doesn’t recognize the value of emotion or romance is destined to fail.
MM: I totally agree with that. Awesome answer. Your first published book?
Lee: A Beautiful Silence was published at the end of October 2010.
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?
Lee: I’m not sure what you mean by real. Does it have to be plausible? Sure. Can every guy in the story have a fantasy dick? Sure. But lets face it, too much reality would fuck up a good story. I don’t want to read or write reality. I believe reading is a form of escapism.
MM: Great answer! Who are the authors that you look up to?
Lee: I have a great deal of admiration for many fellow writers. Josh Lanyon is a great favorite of mine, not just because he can spin a story, but because he is unfailingly helpful, polite, and positive. Another is AJ Llewellyn. That man has the most incredible work ethic I have ever seen!
MM: What books are you reading at the moment? Its okay to give a fellow author a plug!
Lee: I’m in the middle of a few things right now: Love’s Blood by AJ Llewellyn, The Best Revenge by Andrew Grey and Into the Woods by ML Rhodes.
MM: What are you working on now?
Lee: Lol. I’m just finishing up a novella called Trapping Drake, which is a sort of sequel to The Man Trap, which you can read on my blog.
MM: When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
Lee: My characters are totally fictional.
MM: If you write gay romance or erotica, just how descriptive are your in their sex scenes?
Lee: It depends on the story. My first story, Silence, was I believe very explicitly graphic. Keeping House, which released May 6th, is much less so. The sex suits the story. I don’t add sex into a story just because. If the story calls for it, I put it in. I actually have a story I’m hoping to publish that has no descriptive sex. Just kind of “fade into black” moments.
MM: As a gay fiction writer, do you feel that the trend is changing where it is becoming more mainstream?
Lee: I think it is. I certainly hope so. It’s been a niche market for a long time.
MM: What is your opinion as to why publishers only want to group all manlove stories under erotica? Do you feel this is a hindrance to our genre?
Lee: I do, actually. I don’t classify everything I write as erotic in content. Some, yes, is very erotic. But primarily I consider myself a romance writer. What I try to convey to the reader is the emotion behind sex, and I think pushing all m/m titles into the erotica category cheapens that a bit. Some people don’t read erotica. If you called it romance, you might broaden the market, who knows?
MM: Great answer, so do you think it’s time for publishers to begin calling gay fiction/erotica what it is instead of m/m? Why or why not?
Lee: Hmmm. Not sure on this one. I think that we still need the gay or m/m subcategory. The world isn’t ready to pick up an m/m novel by accident. Would it be lovely if someday you could find a Harlequin Gay Line? Like the Hispanic and African American lines? Yeah- when we can reach that level of acceptance, then maybe it would be safe to remove labels like m/m romance and just call it all romance.
MM: I like your answer to that. On another topic, 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?
Lee: I read about that. It’s a fascinating conundrum, isn’t it? I think if you request a review, then you owe the writer a “Thank you” whether the review is good or not. If someone buys your book, and trashes it in a public venue of their own accord, then no, I don’t think you need to respond. You should, of course, never respond with a “fuck you’ to any review. A simple “thank you for your time” is sufficient.
MM: Great approach. Do you think women being a good portion of the amount of gay fiction writers detracts from the genre? Be honest and why or why not?
Lee: No. Some of my favorite writers are female. I don’t believe that gender is relevant to much of anything in life. Oh, I’ll grant you child birth. Shakespeare didn’t need to be a woman to write Juliet as a believably angsty teenage girl in love, and you don’t have to be a man to know how love between two men works. Besides, the predominate readership is female. It would be hypocritical, wouldn’t it, to say they can read it but not write it?
MM: Very true! What is the major difference between male and female writers?
Lee: No idea. I was actually surprised to find out that someone I thought was male was female. I don’t think you can take a piece of writing and lay it out and say… quantify it and analyze it and come to a conclusion about the gender of the author.
MM: I read a blog about gay fiction writer’s losing their imagination because they are writing the same subjects repeatedly, what are your thoughts? http//www.reviewsbyjessewave.com/?p=42883
Lee: You know, I was just thinking about this the other day. Since ancient Greece there’s been this lament,that every story has been told before. I would contend that we each tell it differently. Romance as a genre is one story. People meet and fall in love. How we expand on that story line is up to us. Each decade of writing tells that story differently. Each writer tells it his way. Example: My friends and I have a group called Story Orgy. We write m/m romance. Every Monday we get three words. Each of us takes the same three words and the genre, and we all write something incredibly different. Guess bottom line, I’m of the opinion that the story is worth retelling.
MM: That’s a great answer! What is it about gay fiction and or romance that pleasures you to write it?
Lee: Falling in love was the best thing that ever happened to me. I have the privilege of living every day with the one I love, knowing I’m loved, and that’s what I want to share with everyone. There is love out there, and it is for everyone, not just certain people.
MM: That’s awesome Lee, now, I have some more relaxed questions! Do you feel that celebs who are gay or bi should come out the closet?
Lee: I think this is a personal choice. No one owes it to anyone else to come out. I’ve seen that argument, and it really bothers me. Celebrities are treated like public property. I can completely sympathize with a celebrity who wants to keep the press out of his/her bedroom. Can you imagine? The celebrity Joe Blow makes his announcement, “I’m gay.” Reporter number one, “Are you a top or a bottom?”
MM: That's a good answer. For the men in your books, commando or underwear?
Lee: Underwear- though commando is sexy
MM: It is! Favorite character in one of your books?
Lee: I love all my characters- but I think Mischa Blake has to be my favorite
MM: Lastly, the character you identify with?
Lee: Oh, that’s tough- I actually see myself in a lot of my characters, but Brandon Blake in the upcoming Giving Up is probably pretty close to me
MM: Thank you Lee. I loved your answers! Much continued success!
Mischa knew his brothers were up to something.
He didn't know it would lead him to Donovan Holloway and change his carefree lifestyle forever.