Our day nine guest is an author I look up to as with all the writers that have graced our site these past few days. However, LA I admire not only for her writing talent but her knack to pit out such great work at lightening speed!
Here is a virtual interview. Please give her you undivided attention!
What made you decide that you wanted to put yourself out there to publish?
I’ve always wanted to be a published author. Not sure what the catalyst was, or what specific thing made me realize I wanted my name on the cover of a book. It’s been a goal for as long as I can remember.
Before you started, had you done any fanfiction? If so, what fandom?
I never wrote fanfiction, no.
Are you in agreement that writing fanfiction is a great way to practice ones craft, why or why not?
You know, I used to be really opposed to it. My thought was, “make your own characters, dammit!” But…I’ve since changed my tune. For one thing, people weren’t trying to pass off their fiction as original. It’s totally on the up-and-up that, no, these characters do not belong to the writer, and they acknowledge all copyrights where they belong. And for that matter, fandom can get really brutal when it comes to getting the characters and canon correct, which can result in very attentive, thorough analyses of characters, relationships, story lines, etc., before writing the story. And in some cases, the writing itself improves with time. As an example, author Misa Buckley is a friend of mine who started out writing fanfic. While I’ve always kind of turned up my nose at it, I agreed to read one of hers, and…it was good. It was really good. The writing and the characterization were spot-on. As she branched into original fiction, her grasp of the craft and her ability to freaking nail characterization carried over. So, I can definitely see the benefit of writing fanfiction, and have changed my opinion on it.
What is your favorite subgenre to write?
I don’t think I could pick one if I tried. I’ve recently discovered both steampunk and cyberpunk, and have had a blast with both. I love writing BDSM, but usually have to take a break and write a few vanilla books between kink books. They can get pretty emotionally intense.
Is there one that you haven’t tried that you see yourself doing in the future?
Probably historical. There are a few eras/places that fascinate me, but I haven’t quite worked up the nerve to try writing about them.
Would you ever write a hetero romance? Why or why not?
I have indeed, and have published several books under the name Lauren Gallagher. I actually started out writing hetero, and although I write mostly M/M these days, I still like M/F.
What is your opinion on the “chicks with dicks” analogy? In your opinion, is it wrong for your males to be emotional or romantic?
The “chicks with dicks” analogy annoys the hell out of me for several reasons now that I’ve had an education in gender issues and such from author M Jules Aedin. I won’t get into all of them, but basically, even though it isn’t intended to do so, it takes a swipe at trans women, not to mention implying that showing emotion is a negative thing for men. I could go on for pages, but I won’t. Bottom line: the analogy really, really bugs me. Now, with the actual phrasing aside, it’s referring to men who show a lot of emotion. Particularly those who cry or are romantic. I do find it a bit unrealistic—and irritating—when a guy is being over-the-top emotional, bursting into tears over every little thing, etc. I feel the same way when female characters do it. When it starts getting melodramatic, it’s annoying. If someone is crying every two pages, it loses its significance. When an otherwise stoic character – male, female, or otherwise – breaks down, I’m almost always on the verge of breaking down with them (which says a lot, because I don’t cry). So no, I have absolutely no problem with men being emotional or romantic. I just have a problem with ANY character being melodramatic to the point I want to medicate them.
Your first published book?
My first ever published book was an erotica novel – not a romance! – called Between Brothers, published by Carnal Passions in 2009, under my hetero pseudonym Lauren Gallagher. My first M/M followed a few months later, and that was Rules of Engagement, published by Dreamspinner Press.
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 don’t think it necessarily has to be real, but there’s a very fine line between fantasy and WTF. I’ll buy that a couple might get it on in a place where most people wouldn’t dream of it, but when your guy is instantly rock hard and ready to go again thirty seconds after an orgasm? Not so much. Also, if they start getting into positions that make me think less “Ooh, that’s innovative” and more “OMG, that sounds excruciating”, then…no.
When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
Physically, they have models. I need a face to go with the name. As far as their personalities, though, they are totally fictional. For example, I might use a photo of someone who I know is bubbly and touchy-feely, but the character will be more aloof and reserved.
If you write gay romance or erotica, just how descriptive are your in their sex scenes?
Depends on the scene and what I’m trying to accomplish with it. I do everything from fading to black to down-to-the-last-drop-of-sweat detailed. I’m not squeamish at all about being graphic, but some scenes (and stories) work better with less detail.
As a gay fiction writer, do you feel that the trend is changing where it is becoming more mainstream?
Yes and no. I think it’s gradually getting harder for people to ignore the fact that gay fiction exists, but mainstream? Well, let’s put it this way: online, I rarely run into people who don’t realize gay romance is insanely popular. When I meet people face to face, they’re nearly always stunned to not only learn that I write gay romance, but that there’s even a demand for it. The trend is changing, but it’s got a long way to go.
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?
It irritates me. If it’s erotica, call it erotica. If the only reason it qualifies as erotica is that the two main characters are male, then…I mean, come ON, people. There’s enough of a taboo on both gay fiction and erotic fiction. Putting all gay fiction into the erotica category is like deliberately giving it a double stigma. (Plus it makes it really difficult for readers to tell if the book they’re buying is truly erotic or if it’s just called that because it has men in it)
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?
The bottom line is that the genre of a book tells a reader what they’re getting. That’s all it should do, and it should do it effectively. If a book is gay erotica, call it gay erotica. If it’s gay romance, call it gay romance. If it’s fantasy with a couple of gay characters and some romantic overtones, then call it fantasy, not gay erotica. We’re not going to see gay fiction get anywhere near the mainstream market if we keep hiding it all a genre that a) not all readers of gay fiction wish to read and b) doesn’t apply to all books with gay characters in them.
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?
When I was a fledgling author, there was one piece of advice I heard over and over, and it’s always stuck with me: Never respond to a negative review unless it’s to say “thank you for taking the time to review my book.” That’s how I would have handled the situation if I were the author. That said, while she certainly behaved inappropriately, the dog-piling of dozens of readers and authors alike was a bit excessive. The point was made, but the dead horse was beaten way longer than it needed to be.
As a fellow fem in the genre, what is your stance on the difference between male and female gay writers?
The gender of the writer doesn’t make a difference to me. The important thing is writing our characters respectfully: without relying on stereotypes, not making the experiences of (for example) real gay men invisible by portraying ALL of our fictional gay men as having perfect lives that don’t include homophobia or discrimination, things like that. That’s not to say romance novels need to be political statements, but these are things we as authors should be aware of and sensitive to no matter what gender or orientation we write.
What are your thoughts on the fact that some gay male writers discriminate against women?
It’s their prerogative. I don’t agree with it, and I think it’s unfair to paint all female writers as committing the sins that some have, but I can empathize with those who’ve become jaded. I don’t argue that some female writers of M/M have, intentionally or otherwise, reinforced negative stereotypes and portrayed characters in ways that are insensitive and oblivious to the experiences of real life gay men. (I haven’t read enough male authors to be able to comment one way or the other on them; not for lack of desire to read them, I’m just that far behind on my TBR list) So, I can see both sides of it: yes, it bugs me, but…once bitten, right?
What is the major difference between male and female writers?
Riptide specific questions
Tell me what made you decide to hop on board with this brand new publisher? I have a lot of respect for Rachel and Aleks, the supervillains behind the whole operation, and I think they’ve got a good, solid approach to putting their business together. When they approached me about joining the Riptide revolution, I didn’t hesitate. I suppose it didn’t hurt that Rachel had a cattle prod in her hand and Aleks was standing beside a DieHard battery with a set of jumper cables at the ready. They’re very…persuasive…
What is your release that you have coming out with them?
A Chip In His Shoulder, which is a vampire/cyberpunk novella about an assassin who starts out with an ax to grind and winds up in a bit of a pickle with his intended victim.
In your opinion, what is the difference between Riptide and any other publisher that has just started?
Ballgags and jackboots, mostly.
Where do you see the publisher in the next 5 to 10 years?
In a giant citadel from which they will lord over the dystopian society that remains after the Great Tech War of 2028 – wait, you said 5 to 10 years? Hmm. Never mind…
Name two male celebs that you’d like to see in a hot make out session?
Jared Leto and Robert Downey Jr.
Your favorite gay tv show or movie?
What I’ve seen of Bedrooms & Hallways (still need to get that DVD so I can watch the whole thing).
Do you feel that celebs who are gay or bi should come out the closet?
I think they do the LGBT community as a whole a huge favor when they do come out. More visibility, more role models for kids and adults alike who may be afraid to come out. That said, I can’t say they should come out. It’s a personal decision, and one that has more repercussions for the individual coming out than anyone else. I mean, Chely Wright’s career took a huge hit when she came out, and I seem to recall she even received death threats over it. I could never presume to tell someone, especially someone who lives in a fishbowl already, that they owe it to anyone to broadcast something so personal. Basically, I applaud those who come out and support those who don’t.
For the men in your books, commando or underwear?
Depends on the guy. A lot of them seem to like boxers, some like briefs. Some don’t keep their clothes on long enough for me or anyone else to know.
Have you attended a pride parade? If so, where you inspired when doing so?
I have not, but I fully intend to when I return to the States this year.
Here's the blurb from Chip in His Shoulder:
“Contract killer” is a fitting job for a vampire, and it suits Liam just fine. Cast down from the wealth and status of the Sky for taking a human lover, Liam lurks in the poor and pollution-choked Gutter, killing to survive. Between his natural strengths and his Cybernetix mods, no mark has ever escaped him.
Liam’s ex-lover Daniel is the heir to Cybernetix—and its greatest threat. Horrified by people less man than machine and the exploitation of Gutter factory workers, he’d rather destroy Cybernetix than inherit it . . . if his father doesn’t destroy him first.
Years of anger and a heap of mods have kept Daniel and Liam apart. When Liam is hired to slaughter a man in his glass Sky tower, he walks right into a Daniel-shaped trap. Daniel’s father has betrayed them both, and only by working together can Daniel and Liam survive the coming day. They have no reason to trust each other, but as the dawn looms, a bargain that began with the simple urge to live soon reminds them of the love they once shared. Can they find each other again, or will the Cybernetix assassins find them first?
Chip was released on November 14. You can purchase at: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/chip-his-shoulder
Here's where readers can find me:
Author Name: L. A. Witt (Lori Witt)
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website URL: http://www.loriawitt.com
Blog URL: http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com
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Great interview LA the giveaway is anything from her backlist of the winners choice.
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Great interview LA the giveaway is anything from her backlist of the winners choice.