Saturday, September 10, 2011

Welcome Julia Kanno

Greetings! Welcome to Michael's and I'm happy to have Julia Kanno on who writes m/m and m/f. She has some very interesting answers for my questions. I know you'll enjoy them!

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since about seventh grade. After I read S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and decided she’d f*cked up the ending and then, of course, re-wrote it…And well, it all kind of went downhill from there

What made you decide that you wanted to put yourself out there to publish?

Money. I know that is significantly less ‘noble’ than the average authors answer, but a girl’s gotta eat. Before I decided to make writing my career, I worked as a project manager for Bed, Bath and Beyond. I made pretty good money, but I was miserable and I never seemed to have time to write. So, I decided it was time to start making a living off of writing so I could spend my days doing something I actually enjoyed—and still afford a roof over my head.

Before you started, had you done any fanfiction? If so, what fandom?

Yes and no. I read tons of fanfiction before I became a full time author, but never actually wrote any. I was too busy working on my own original stories.

However, once I started writing full time I began to write Fan-fiction and still do to this day. I use Fan-fiction as a way of recharging my creative juices. Plus, I have a lot of fun doing it, especially because I can write without genre restrictions and don’t have to edit the piece a million times before I publish it.

As far as what Fandoms I write for: I write a lot of Anime fan-fiction. (Yes, I am a fangirl!) So far, I’ve published two stories: a m/m story for Fruits Basket, and a f/m story for Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom. You can find me under the penname: SlickCiggy.

Are you in agreement that writing fanfiction is a great way to practice ones craft, why or why not?

This is kind of a mix-n-match issue. Fan fiction can be good practice for anyone looking to eventually become a published author because you’re writing. That in itself is great practice. I like to tell people that you’re not a writer, unless you sit down and write SOMETHING every day. It can be a blog post, a personal diary entry, a kinky letter to your husband—I don’t care. As long as you’re flexing those creative muscles, you’re learning something.

Also, fanfiction is a community. Community means lots of different kinds of readers, which means lots of different sources for feedback. And believe me, if you’ve f*cked up a character’s traits—they will tell you so. Therefore, not only are you writing, you’re being forced to practice things like: consistency, plot development, characterization, etc. And all of those things are important for a successful story. Speaking of feedback, someone who writes fanfiction is also getting practice at accepting both positive and negative feedback, which is EXTREMELY important if they’re going to eventually pursue a career in the publishing industry.
However, that being said, fanfiction can also handicap an author. Here’s why: You’re writing someone else’s characters, someone else’s story, someone else’s world, etc. which means you’re not getting any practice developing your own. Therefore, when it comes time to create your own, you’re going to have a heck of a time trying to pin-point just how much information to insert where. A lot of ‘straight-from-fanfiction authors’ tend to write HUGE info dumps, i.e. backstory into their chapters because of their inexperience.

Also, in publishing, there are genre restrictions, publisher restrictions and things like grammar and spelling matter. Which is why, you’ll see those fanfiction writers that have enormous followings and hundreds of completed stories, but no publishing contract to their name.

Sometimes, you just can’t make the transition.

In addition, there’s that small matter of the freedom fan-fiction gives you that writing for publishing doesn’t. Publishing is a business. Period. Therefore, when you’re writing for the publishing industry vs. fan-fiction, an author has to understand: sure, go ahead and write what you want—but make sure we can sell it, too. It is all about the sales. Nothing else matters. It’s not a ‘nice’ way of saying it, but it sure is an honest one.

Since you write, m/m, m/f, mmf, do you find it difficult to switch back and forth?

No, but I think that’s because of the way I view people and characters in general. One of my favorite TV characters of all times said: ‘Gender is simply God’s way of accessorizing.’ Therefore, I don’t really think I give it too much thought. I create a character and then create another character that matches. If that match just so happens to have the same privates…oh, well.

Is there one that you haven’t tried that you see yourself doing in the future?

I’ve never written a ménage with more than three characters. I wonder if I could manage it. Sometimes, I think more than three people in ONE book would be impossible. As it is, I have a bitch of a time keeping my ménages under 120k words. However, I wonder if I could possibly work on a serial series of something like 5 or even six people all in one big ploy-amorous relationship.

Also, I’ve been tossing around the idea of writing something featuring three or more women all married to the same guy. Yes, that’s right. I intend to write polygamy and or polyandry at their best…one day.

What is your opinion on the “chicks with dicks” analogy? In your opinion, is it wrong for your males to be emotional or romantic?

Um, I don’t think I have a right to tell anyone how they’re ‘supposed’ to act, simply because of their gender. If a guy is sensitive, good for him. Personally, that is not my type. I’m a ‘dude with a clit,’ myself. (LOL) I think it just depends on how comfortable that person feels in their own skin. And if it makes them happy, then I don’t see why my opinion would even matter. Same goes for how I’d portray a character in a book.

Your first published book?

My first published book is actually not of the erotica/erotic romance genre. It is military fiction and perhaps one of the most difficult things I’ve ever written. It deals with the emotional and mental scars times of war leave behind.

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?

I think it depends on the reader’s perspective of a good story. Personally, the more far-fetched the story is, the less interested I’ll be. I tend to like my reading to be as realistic and gritty as possible. I know a lot of readers/writers, tend to pick at m/m erotica in particular because of the ‘over the top’ sex scenes or general disregard for things like bodily functions, condom usage, etc.

Personally, as someone who has been privy to multiple m/m encounters, I don’t see why ‘realism’ would make it any less sexy. Personally, I’m of the mind that it’s not ‘what’ is written but ‘HOW’ it’s written. However, like I said, ‘how’ an author chooses to write their story is entirely up to them. Likewise, what story a reader chooses to read is entirely their choice.

What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m working on a ménage for the New Dawning International Bookfair. Actually, that’s what I should be working on right this very instant. (*blush*)

When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?

Um…I think it’s a bit of a mix-n-match for me. For instance, I’ll take someone’s eyes and put it on a face I’ve pulled out of my imagination. However, sometimes when I’m having a hard time describing something, I’ll sketch it out so I can look at it and jot down exactly what I see. If I don’t actually sketch it out, I’ll find a picture of some random person on the web and write down my description that way.

If you write gay romance or erotica, just how descriptive are you during their sex scenes?

I tend to write descriptive sex scenes no matter what genre I’m supposed to be writing.  Therefore, unless it’s a closed door sex-scene, it should come as no surprise I spare absolutely no description—even the ‘not-so-nice’ parts or messy parts of sex.

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?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with answering reader reviews. However, I think every author needs to keep in mind that how they answer a reader review is going to echo throughout the publishing industry.

Had I received a negative review, I would’ve thanked the reviewer for taking the time to read my book and went on my merry way. Reader reviews are not for the author, they’re for other readers. However, if I really was curious about how I could’ve made things ‘better’ as far as they were concerned, I would’ve emailed them privately and asked them what they felt I could improve on. End of story.

Your favorite gay TV Show or Movie?

Queer as Folk (Showtime’s Version) is my favorite gay TV show. And my top three favorite movies are: ‘Mango Kisses,’ ‘Latter Days’ and ‘Better than Chocolate.’

Favorite character in one of your books?
My favorite gay character in one of my novels has to be Avery from Blood to Burn. He’s hilarious. Actually just thinking about him makes me want to giggle. Here’s a little sneak peak: [Excerpt Start]
“Dieting?” Panic fluttered in her chest, but she kept her tone light. “What are you talking about?”

“You’re figure. There’s not an ounce of fat on you. You’re absolutely stunning.”
Relief flooded through her, and she smiled. “My Prince, what use would you have with my dieting secrets? You are beautifully proportioned.”

“Oh, I know I am. They’re for my sister.” They rounded a corner and started down a long hall with a glittering silver staircase at the end of it. “Fucking cow.”

She covered her laughter under her gloved hand. “Surely, she can’t possibly…”

His brows shot up to his hairline. “I’m telling you she’s not my sister. She’s the girl who ate my sister. “

“You’re cruel, Avery.”

“No, I’m honest. The heir to the throne has two asses. I swear it.”

“Heir? Are you the younger child?”

 “No, I am the oldest. Carnare is a kingdom ruled by Queens.”

“No kings?”

“Nope, no kings. So, I am doomed a prince forever.”

A page carrying a chest surfaced at the top of the steps. His honey red hair framed his handsome high cheeks bones and strong chin. He lowered his eyes, his biceps strained against the white tunic and green vest. He smiled as he passed them, his ass outlined superbly in the matching green trousers.

Elora bit her lip and titled her head. “Poor you. Doomed to live in this castle forever.”

Avery ran his tongue over his teeth. “Oh, I know. It’s a damn shame.”

He took a step, following the page.

Her grip tightened on his forearm. “No, no. We’re going to dinner remember.”

“But it’s pretty. I want it.”

She laughed and tugged him towards the staircase. “No, no, come on. You were telling me about your kingdom.”

“Fine.” He stuck out his bottom lip. “Where was I?” [End Excerpt]

Do you feel that celebs who are gay or bi should come out the closet?
I think they should live however they are most comfortable. Who they’re sleeping with is no one’s business, but theirs.
Thank you for having me! J

Cover: Coming Soon!


When a man has a mid-life crisis, no one bats an eye at the new gym membership, the car he can't really afford, or the sudden attraction to women half his age. Well, what about a woman? Sylvia Chopin, a forty-six year old teacher with a peppermint candy addiction, and an odd habit of reciting Shakespeare in conversation, is a woman with a list. Even a mid-life crisis needs organization, damn it. Desperate to complete as many things on the list as possible before her next birthday Sylvia hires Jackson Householder, a male prostitute.

Jackson Householder is a man on a mission. Despite his uphill battle with a mountain of debt, he's determined to save enough money and take his ex-wife to court in an attempt to see his five year old daughter more than twice a month. As far as he's concerned, love is dead and as long as the Agency keeps dumping money into his pockets, he has no problem using his body and his charm to satisfy their clients. 

You know what they say about best laid plans…

 Something about the way Sylvia corrects his grammar, and digs her nails into his back has him second guessing his cynical outlook. Sylvia finds herself ensnared by the way Jackson makes her feel, by the way his presence seems to breathe life into her art, and her body. Soon their attraction blazes into a passion fit for words and perhaps something else that despite all of Shakespeare's efforts remains unwritten.

Buy Link: Coming Soon!