Welcome to another blog guest day at Michael's!
Today i'm pleased to have John Goode on the blog. Recommended by good friend and great author Sue Brown.
His first release, Maybe With a Chance of Certainty sounds like a great read. I've made a note to purchase the book. Please enjoy our virtual sitdown
How long have you been writing?
Since I was ten, how long have I been writing for real? I'd say about 5 or 6 years. That was when I decided to try to overcome the paralyzing fear of having other people read my writing.
What made you decide that you wanted to put yourself out there to publish?
A friend of mine, who is published writer herself, told me that I would be stupid not to. Turns out she was write, as she normally is.
Before you started, had you done any fanfiction? If so, what fandom?
Supernatural. Sam and Dean forever baby.
Are you in agreement that writing fanfiction is a great way to practice ones craft, why or why not?
I think it is and it isn't.
It's great because you already have characters and personalities, all you have to do is plug the plot in and hope you end up sounding like the show. I think it is invaluable at first, to get into the habit of writing constantly.
I think that it becomes a crutch after awhile, so much time and energy into stories that ultimately belong to someone else is destructive. I have read whole novels from people who invest months, sometimes years into these stories and all I can think is, Why are you wasting your time on Livejournal? It is easy to hide behind a show, and I think after awhile, you lose the ability to actually make original material that is based solely on your imagination.
So to summarize an answer to a question I bet you thought wasn't going to warrant such a response, yes at first, no in the long term.
What is your favorite subgenre to write?
Teen angst and emotional drama.
Is there one that you haven’t tried that you see yourself doing in the future?
Western I think, cowboys, like bowties, are hot.
Would you ever write a hetero romance? Why or why not?
I have a group of friends that read my stuff, all straight, and I get the same statement every time I write a romance. This could be a straight romance as well, which I think the point is. I want to write life, not gay life or straight life. If only part of the world can understand the feelings I am talking about I wrote it wrong. So yes, as long as I liked the story.
What is your opinion on the “chicks with dicks” analogy? In your opinion, is it wrong for your males to be emotional or romantic?
I assume we are talking in fiction and this isn't a question about my dating tastes. In fiction, I think there is a fine line since you need the audience to believe this character is in love and having feelings, but as a guy he is not supposed to show them. It's hard, but that's good because if it was easy then anyone could do it.
Your first published book?
Maybe with a Chance of Certainty: Tales from Foster High by Dreamspinner
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?
Wow what's real? If you are saying that erotica has to be expressive of actions that are possible in a world ruled by the laws of thermodynamics, then I say no. There has to be fantasy in erotica, it is what makes it erotic. No one, well no one I've met, wants to hear about a middle aged guy who comes home to the same person every day, hates his job and his bored with his spouse and ends up jerking off in front of his computer before bed. Real sex, for erotica sake, is boring, in my opinion. If I wanted real sex, I'd go out and run away from it myself.
Who are the authors that you look up to?
Well Douglas Adams was wicked tall, I mean that bastard was like 6'5”. Neil Gaiman is a big one, thought he tends to slump and slouch a lot so not sure if I would be looking up as casually glancing to the side.
What books are you reading at the moment? Its okay to give a fellow author a plug!
I just finished Hunger Games, which needs to damn plug since it is like THE book to read. I so wish I could be hip and say I didn't like but it gods! How that woman wrote those book and made me care...seriously. I've lost sleep over what makes those books enjoyable to read.
What are you working on now?
Well I finished the sequel to this book which is tentatively called The Beginning of the End: Further Tales from Foster High, which is taken from Brad's point of view. I also have a sci fi, fantasy thriller about a man who inherits a computer company with some pretty dark secrets. Fadeaway, a story about a college basketball player who is closeted and falls in love with the perfect guy for him and he is forced to choose which life he wants to lead. Really anxious to get that done. And I am rough drafts of a YA fantasy novel based on Midsummer Night's Dream.
When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
They come to me, I try not to go out of my way to describe characters because I think the ability to invent someone in your head is a gift everyone shares. I know every particle of my characters but I like sharing them with the reader so I try to be as vague as possible, to give the reader the freedom to dream themselves.
If you write gay romance or erotica, just how descriptive are your in their sex scenes?
Depends on how much sex has to do with the story. If it is life changing sex and it is the consummation of love, should be pretty detailed. Is it just something they did, like a guy they picked up and took home? I think saying he took him home, threw him on the bed and began to unbutton his shirt as the door closes says everything you need to know.
As a gay fiction writer, do you feel that the trend is changing where it is becoming more mainstream?
I'd hope so. I am fearful of it becoming the next bastion Harlequin romance novels. Tons of it written, millions of fans, no respect given because of it. That would be very sad.
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?
Huge hindrance. I do not write erotica. I can, I can quite well. I have written books and books of porny goodness and that is all, on a good day, erotica. But when I sit down and write a love story, or a spy thriller or a book about a deposed fairy prince, it's no more erotica than The Color Purple, which if you have not seen the director's cut...damn that is hot. Serious, someone's up in that junk.
But seriously, as long as we write erotica it will be called erotica. I like to write stories, and if they have people in them, sweet. If the gay people have sex in them, score! If we get to see them have the sex...well explain to me how it involves the plot and we're golden.
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?
I think it is fiction, fiction just as every other fiction. I know there are some black fiction areas in some book stores but I've never seen a Jewish author section or even a woman's author section. Just books, by the genre, and that's it. Not sure why we just don't get filed with those books.
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?
Well to be honest, I might have agree with them. I am my own worst critic and find myself more times agreeing with the people that say, he sucks then he's great! I would have thanked them for the review and if he had raised any actually questions that needed to be addressed, I'd done that. But sides that, it's cool. People don't like everything. It's like a law or something.
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?
Detracts? No. Because for it to detract it would have to be taking something away from it and I do not believe they aren't. I do believe they are modifying the expectations of readers in what exactly make erotica is. I have been told many times that my writing is undeniably male, which is a thing I guess. I mean I'm a male so saying that is like saying We have found your name to be the name you were given. Um, thanks, got that, what's it mean?
I think that a predominately female writing point of view exists in the m/m world and that is not a bad thing. They are writing some incredible stuff, no joke. The problem I would say will be when a male write submits a story and is then told he needs to write it more like a woman. At that point, there is a problem because there so many ways a story can be told, making someone change their tone based on someone else's work is unfair.
What is the major difference between male and female writers?
Vaginas? No scrap that, I know a guy who lies out in the Bronx...
Women, in my opinion, write an idealized version of male to male sex and relationships. For example a friend said she needed some help writing a three way. And my ears perked right on up because I am just that nice a guy. So we started talking about it and I explained to her the numerous threesomes I have been in...what? What? Say it. This ain’t Jerry Springer, no one gonna stop you from throwing that chair..I am proud to be a ho. Ho power! Ho power!!...huh? Oh right, threesome.
I explained to her the social mechanics on how I have always seen them initiated, how to draw someone into them, what each role plays, etc. She said it helped her immensely and I felt good for that because if she just ended up writing a Calvin Klien ad where three guys laid on the grass and caressed each other in black and white I'd have puked on her. I never see the raw emotion and underling pull of power and domination that ALL men go through with every relationship. Some do it damn good and most just make them a guy and a girl with an extra penis lying around and I am just shaking my head going, No one dates like that.
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
I would say those writers aren't trying hard enough. Again, like fanfiction, it is easy to hide behind a genre and get stuck writing the same damn thing over and over. Putting cowboy hats on them instead of marine uniforms does not change the story, only the props.
What is it about gay fiction and or romance that pleasures you to write it?
Writing actually men feeling actually love with each other. Not just lust, desire, carnal pleasure. That actual, pure, fucking ball breaking love that is so strong it forces you to look at it and never lets go.
Now some fun questions.
For the men in your books, commando or underwear?
If they are the lead or cocky, commando.
Favorite character in one of your books?
Kyle Devin, 6'8” basketball player with a heart of gold and a head of cabbage. Sweetest kid I have ever met.
The character you identify with?
Kyle from Maybe with a Chance of Certainty, we are the same alien survivors from another world altogether.
Buylink to story here
Lovely interview John. A lot of what you said I agreed on. I love finding out about new authors and their work. I'm sure we will hear a lot more about you in the future.
Thanks everyone for joining us. Be sure to be here for the WOW Wednesday and then Thursday, Margie Church.