Only a couple of days left before I go to Gay Rom Lit, very excited. *SQUEE* I'll be meeting some heavy hitters and many people I've friended online there and I can't to attend. I'll make sure to have my first report when I return.
Anyway, today I'm happy to have Laura Tolomei, veteran writer with an interview. Please enjoy our virtual sitdown!
What made you decide that you wanted to put yourself out there to publish?
I thought my experience might help others. That’s why I tried to publish my first book—no actually my second, only the first one is still in my drawer LOL—which is about a very personal experience I’d lived in the US that taught me to broaden my mind in regards to sexual choices. Until then, I tended to label people into straights, gay or lesbians, and left them to rot in their categories. Yes, because labeling limits people. When I understood that whatever gender relationships don’t define individuals, it was truly eye-opening. So I wrote it down in my Italian full length novel, Piccolo Crocevia a Cinque (loosely translated Little Five Points) and began submitting it to Italian publishers. It took me twenty years to get it published, the book’s dated 41991, but I did it eventually. And it’s still a central theme of my writing whatever the language. As an example, here’s an explanatory excerpt from Tasting Leon’s Mark, sequel of Re-Scue, about my views regarding this subject:
The blond beauty took a deep breath. “I’ve always believed women didn’t attract me. Seeing them half-naked at the beach or on magazines is no turn-on, physically I mean. With men, instead, every sense becomes alert, my mind starts picturing sex, even if I don’t like them that much. This has never happened with a woman.”
“If it makes you feel better, it didn’t this time either. You liked one woman, which doesn’t mean you have to like them all. Like me, I only feel something for you, not for men in general.”
The blond beauty was silent for a while. “Maybe you’re right, but I don’t know—”
Leon forced him to turn around and look straight into his eyes. “You’re just worried you’ll lose your gay identity if you admit you like a woman. But I know you’re much too intelligent to let generalizations blind you. Gay doesn’t define you. It simply limits your choices. You’re a person, first of all, who happens to have his own particular tastes, which should never, ever become a label.”
The dazzling blue eyes flashed in anger. “Funny of you to talk like this since you’re the first to deny our relationship, afraid to let people know you’re doing it with a man.”
Leon searched the beautiful face for a moment. “You’re right, it’s my problem, too. If I haven’t told anyone, except Janet—”
Leon grinned at the appellative. “Right. I guess in a way I think along the same exclusive lines as if fucking one gender automatically excludes the other, as if by admitting I like you, I denied my heterosexual nature.”
“That’s what defines us, lover.”
What is your favorite subgenre to write?
Out of all the subgenres I tried my hand at —horror, paranormal, historical, contemporary —my favorite is fantasy, yes, definitely. I really love it for the freedom it allows me to paint fantastic worlds that apparently have nothing to do with our real one. No research necessary like with historical, no background check on technical info like with sci-fi, not even a look out if a certain restaurant exists in a certain town. It’s all up to my imagination. But the characters face the same problems ordinary people do. Don’t be fooled by the fantasy label! In my Virtus Saga, Duncan, Chris and Ylianor have so-called special power, but they’ll never be able to use them if they don’t solve their relationship issues first, which are like any other people face in their everyday life. So my fantasy characters become an excuse to show some of the dangerous mechanisms in relationships and try to offer not-so-fantastic solutions to very ordinary problems.
Is there one that you haven’t tried that you see yourself doing in the future?
I’d love to try my hand at sci-fi. It’s one of my secret wishes that I be able to write something on a futuristic world where things are different from ours. What has always stopped me is my basic lack of scientific knowledge. The genre isn’t called science-fiction for nothing, with the emphasis on SCIENCE. If that’s missing or inexact, the story is not credible. So I’m mustering my courage and refining my knowledge in order to come up with a credible sci-fi novel in the near future.
Would you ever write a hetero romance? Why or why not?
Straight heterosexual doesn’t interest me. In addition I believe so much has already been written on the subject I couldn’t possibly add anything new. On top of it, I find it less stimulating than GLBT stories. Having a same gender relationships is a choice that takes courage sometimes, a lot of self-analysis, a lot of questioning oneself about conventions, all thing straights don’t need to do ‘cause they’re accepted by society as the normality. Thus said, I do on occasion write MF, but only with a very different twist. My best example is Re-Scue, which is a story of two souls chasing one another through different lifetimes in order to play an over-the-edge game of blood and sex. The book comprises four stories in total, and the first three are MF until the resolution that takes place when the two souls reincarnate both as men. So it was MF, but with an evolution to MM in the end, and that’s why I enjoyed writing it.
Your first published book?
My first published work is “Trespassing All Hallows Eve” released October 15, 2008 by eXtasy Books. It’s a personal interpretation of the beginning of the Halloween myth as seen through Brighit’s eyes, a fascinating alien that comes from another world but soon finds a place in our myths. Throughout the ages, she has been revered as a Celtic and Hindu goddess while today we honor her as St. Brigid. This adventurous F/F, M/M & ménage tale spans time and space in a variety of genres, dark fantasy, paranormal, Halloween to give readers a rare insight on a fascinating world that can still be alive if only through our imagination. Yet, since my novels all have multiple reading levels, it’s also a passionate love story between Brighit and her Indian guru, Gourav, living their burning desire in ancient India, at the beginning of human history itself, until tragedy strikes. But love never dies and Brighit will find it once more though the eyes of her Roman centurion Aurelius and his lover Attilio. Their relationship was so good, I had to write a prequel to it, Roman Seduction, which tells of how they met and what tied them before they met Brighit. Come to think of it, it’s one of my most romantic works to date LOL
Who are the authors that you look up to?
Well, the first inkling came from wondering how it would be like to live in a violence-free world. I mean, can you imagine living without wars, without a police force to keep human beings from stealing or killing one another? I couldn’t either, so I built a world where this could be possible. But then my Philip K. Dick instinct got the better of me, saying such a world could not exist without deceptions, which meant it couldn’t be natural, rather something artificially created for that purpose. And it had to be a mechanical device to do the trick, programmed ad hoc, perhaps as part of a scientific experiment devised by another civilization, and used to curb violent instincts, turning them into sexual impulses. And since it seemed like a great idea, it became Virtus’s foundation, though like all experiments, it was bound to get out of hands, which it did in the best of Dick’s traditions, and that’s how the saga begun.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on several projects at the moment. Out Oct. 15, The Demon Waiter, a horror, dark fantasy and paranormal in my best Halloween tradition. It’s a HOT tale about a Frenchman, Laurent De Berger, who discovers a book on The Secrets of Halloween and tries to summon the demon world to get his heart’s desire fulfilled. Hardly an easy task and what he gets isn’t what he expects either.
A mere month and a half later, on Dec. 1, the sequel of To Seduce A Soul Mate will be out. The Pirate’s Surrender picks up where To Seduce A Soul Mate left off, which is in Ireland. But if seduction turns to love, then Pirate Drake is in deep waters, way beyond his usual paths and must learn to deal with something so shattering yet so new it devastates him. And the hot sex with the devil doesn’t help matters, if anything complicates them.
Coming up by the end of the year @ Romance Divine, Re-Scue - However you lived your past, today you’re the key to changing your future, the prequel to Tasting Leon’s Mark, an original borderline story about two souls chasing one another through repeated lifetimes in order to satisfy their bloodlust through a passionate game of sex and knives. No feelings is the only rule the hunter warn, but his prey inevitably falls in love with him, which results in tragedy most of the times until…well, you just have to read it, even if true balance is reached only in Tasting Leon’s Mark, the sequel now available @ Whiskey Creek Torrid.
Then I’m working on the next release of the Virtus Saga, The Leader Book 4, where Duncan will officially come to power, but only if he learns to accept his responsibilities, the ones to his beloveds among all, the same he needs to convince them into The Pledge, Book 5.
When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
No, I don’t have models, but they’re not totally fictional either. Let’s say I use features I like of the people who surround me and blend them into my characters. Like with Leon Sterling, the protagonist of Tasting Leon’s Mark and Re-Scue. He’s his own man, but for his business style I used that of a friend of mine at work and used it so extensively I had to dedicate Re-Scue to him. He really inspired me and Leon wouldn’t have come out as he did without him. For many, I use my husband, bits and pieces of him thrown in the general mix and it’s really funny when he recognizes them while reading my books. Mostly, though, they’re born out of my imagination and out of the situations, too, ‘cause environment always influences personalities, so they adapt to it, rather than being taken out of a model and forced on it.
If you write gay romance or erotica, just how descriptive are your in their sex scenes?
Extremely descriptive and I go into a lot of details. I know I’m not a man, but I have one who lives next to me who has no qualms in telling me how a man who likes other man would act, in and out of bed. And he’s so good in his accounts, I wrote a first person POV book, Bloody Passion, where it’s a man’s POV that tells all the story, including the sex. And my husband praised it, too.
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?
Like any author, I get my share of bad reviews. It’s normal in a business that revolves around people’s tastes and opinions, and we all know they are as varied as the number of people inhabiting this great big world of ours. Thus said, I believe reviews can help me better my style, understand my flaws, correct recurrent mistakes, so I never take it as bad period. I always try to learn something from it and blend it into my next book. But sometimes, there’s no constructive criticism and that can get an author pissed. Sometimes you get the feeling a reviewer hasn’t really read your book, just a few pages here and there, then made up his or her mind about it and wrote down the first thing that popped in his or her mind. Other times, they don’t take into account the broader picture relating to a book. It happened with The Sex, Book 1 of my Virtus Saga, where the reviewer didn’t like it because neither of the two men said he loved the woman. For Christ’s sake. The Saga is about ten books long, and she didn’t even consider the fact the men might have a change of heart? I mean, they had nine more books to make up their minds about it LOL
This superficiality drives me crazy about reviewers sometimes. From that to treating them badly on a blog or anywhere else, well that’s a long shot. We should always be civil ‘cause reviewers don’t come out and attack people, though it’s the way sometimes authors feel about them. Rather what I did with my bad reviews, I wrote blogs about them pointing out the reviews, so readers could make up their minds about the book with a more open-mind. And I think it worked, too.
What is the major difference between male and female writers?
This is easy! Male authors are more focused on action, on DOING. Females, instead, go for the feelings, for the BEING. We describe what characters ARE, they describe what characters DO. And that’s a very big difference between male and female POVs.
Fun questions pick at least 3
Do you feel that celebs who are gay or bi should come out the closet?
Like with any normal person, it’s their biz what they do or don’t do in their private lives, and being a celeb doesn’t change the fact they’re entitled to one!
Create a gay scene for your two gay stars in 5 sentences or less?
“Hey, you, sexy boy.”
“Talking to me, handsome?”
“Yeah, who else? Do you know I love you?”
“Course I do.”
“Then unzip your fly.”
Favorite character in one of your books?
My favorite character out of all my books, and this is a recent discovery for me, to win Christopher Templeton. As to why, it must be because he’s got such a complicated personality, and unlike any of my other characters, he talks though his sexual life. It may sound horny, but I just realized while I was finishing the edits to The Game, due out May 15, Chris expresses not just his feelings, but his opinions about a person from the way he has sex with them. If he doesn’t give a damn about them, he’ll be open and available, almost submissive in his apparent lack of interest in what they’ll do to him while deeply enjoying it. If he cares about someone though, it’ll be a totally different sex scene, like all the ones he has with Duncan when they’re alone. And then there’s Ylianor. You already know he hates her at the beginning and treats her like he’s out for revenge, being cruel and hurtful on purpose yet when things start to change, there’s a definite shift in their sex, too. And his moods, rapidly shifting from up to down, reflect this roller coaster behavior he keeps in bed. Really, I didn’t think I had it in me to create such a complex character, but in the end, he’s surprising even me, his author LOL
Goodreads Friendship requests
Coffee Time Group
Gay Starta http://www.bebo.com/c/home/index.html
The Blood Bank (Bitten by Books)
Erotic Romance Writers & Readers
Thank you for being a guest on Tabooindeed or IRM!
My latest release and a great Halloween offering:
Shapeshifting never sounded better!
GENRE: GLBT (m/m), Horror, Shapeshifter, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, m/m/m, m/m/m/m
HEAT LEVEL: 4 flames
RELEASE DATE: November 15th, 2010
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
COVER: Angela Water
It wasn’t till he took me to his bed and made love to me, for the first time—no competition between us, no unspoken challenge, no master-slave, no blood, no death, nothing but intense emotions overwhelming me with the sheer power of his feelings, a sea so deep, a tide so strong I thought I’d drown as he took me face up, raising my legs above his shoulders and plunging deep before preying on my mouth, too, in a never-ending kiss that took my breath, not to mention my resolve, away—that in spite of everything, I gave him what he wanted most, my soul in its entirety, for I knew right there and then I was sealing my destiny forever.