Welcome to Michael's. Hope your Xmas was good to you and you're resting comfortably to get ready for the new year.
Today, I'm happy to have my good friend Julie Lynn Hayes on my blog with an interview. Please enjoy this virtual sitdown.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for over forty years. I know, that makes me ancient, right? Lol
Before you started, had you done any fanfiction? If so, what fandom?
I wrote original fiction first, but then I discovered fanfiction, because of my daughters, and I wrote a crossover fanfiction novel. Most of my fanfiction is in the Harry Potter fandom, but I have forayed into other worlds as well, including but not limited to: Xena, Carnival, Doctor Who, Deadwood, Hannibal Lecter, and more.
Are you in agreement that writing fanfiction is a great way to practice ones craft, why or why not?
It is an excellent way of honing ones craft. When I started, I was weak in the areas of characterization and plot. Now those are strong areas for me.
For Fanfiction writers, did you ever do any Real Person Fan fic? If so of who, if not do you think it’s wrong to do that?
Yes, I did that too. Mine involved Gary Oldman and David Thewlis, with appearances by Jason Isaacs and Alan Rickman. I’ve also done a couple of stories with myself and Gary Oldman lol
Are you a fan of Yaoi? If so tell us what you enjoy about it?
I am a HUGE fan of yaoi, and own many volumes of yaoi manga. I love the boys love aspect of it, and I love a great deal of the art, which is beautiful. The stories are more accepting of men who love men, and I like that. A lot of them are set in Japan, and they have very beautiful men.
What is your favorite subgenre to write?
I like to write in a lot of different areas, but I seem drawn to paranormal a great deal.
Is there one that you haven’t tried that you see yourself doing in the future?
I’d like to try my hand at a time travel romance.
Would you ever write a hetero romance? Why or why not?
I have. Dark Love is mine, written under the pen name Reinette.
What is your opinion on the “chicks with dicks” analogy? In your opinion, is it wrong for your males to be emotional or romantic?
Some romance novel characters do seem to be “chicks with dicks”, I’ll admit. But having said that, that is a general statement, very broad. There are sensitive men and there are insensitive women. Men can be emotional and romantic both. People come in all kinds, it’s ridiculous to stereotype them, put them into categories and never deviate.
Your first published book?
To the Max
Who are the authors that you look up to?
The authors that I consider to be my mentor/role models are William Faulkner and PG Wodehouse. I look up to Stephen King for his tremendous storytelling ability, and to James Michener for his ability to bring history to life. And to Mike Carey for creating his version of Lucifer, whom I adore.
What books are you reading at the moment? Its okay to give a fellow author a plug!
I just finished Adel’s Purr by Sui Lynn, and am currently reading Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. I have some Mimi Riser books I’m looking forward to reading, and some Charlie Cochrane.
What are you working on now?
Many many things lol I am working on two books with Sui Lynn – one is a sci fi m/m romance novel, Reality Check, about a love between a spoiled princeling and a eco-conscious native, the other is an American Steampunk series set during Prohibition; the first book features ex-WWI aviators. With SL Danielson, I am working on a YA series set in Georgia. For myself, I have a few sequels going – third Max book, sequel to Leonardo di Caprio, and to Sex on the Beach Christmas Style. I also have an anthology of short stories I’m working on, all of which involve food and/or drink. The first story is the Belgian Chocolate Remedy, and the second, the one I’m on now, is The Insomniac Sommelier.
When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
It’s hard not to incorporate aspects of the people you know. Sometimes I do use a person as a model. I have a leitmotif utilizing my daughter Sarah; she appears in several of my novels, often as Sarah. In the Max series, she’s Maggie. I like to pick out models for the faces of my men; it helps me to write their descriptions, and to see them in my mind’s eye better.
If you write gay romance or erotica, just how descriptive are your in their sex scenes?
Very descriptive. Sometimes I fade to black, it all depends on the situation and whether the scene is really necessary to write out or not.
As a gay fiction or m/m romance author, do you feel that the trend is changing where it is becoming more mainstream?
Slowly, but very slowly. Personally, I’d be happy to have a section of B&N labeled m/m romance, situated near the het romances. I don’t even want to be scattered with the het romances, being separate makes them easier to find.
What is your opinion as to why publishers only want to group all manlove stories under erotica?
I think they make the assumption that they’re all about the sex. Personally, I don’t really write erotica, I write romance. There’s a big difference between the two.
Do you feel this is a hindrance to our genre?
At times, yes. I responded to a call from a book reviewing site with some of my books, and got an email requesting clarification, as they had asked for no erotica, and she had seen that I wrote m/m romance. I set her straight on the difference.
What is the distinct difference between m/m and gay fiction?
I have no idea. Is there one?
Do you believe it’s important for you to know the gender of the author?
Only if they’re claiming to possess certain knowledge or credentials. In days past, women wrote under male pseudonyms, because it wasn’t acceptable for women to be writers. No one knew, and it didn’t make a difference.
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 know how you can sabotage a career by responding to a reviewer. It’s America, a free country, where open discussion is everyone’s right. I don’t know what was said or what was responded to, so I can’t really say anything about how I might have handled it. Generally, I wouldn’t respond, because it’s that person’s opinion. However, if it’s based on false information and/or assumptions, it would be hard not to say whoa, stop right there, let me tell you how it really is. Especially those done by people who don’t bother to finish reading the book, and whose assumptions about the contents of the book are therefore erroneous.
As a fellow fem in the genre, what is your stance on the difference between male and female gay writers?
The only difference is that between any two writers—difference in writing style or quality. Gender makes no difference otherwise.
If female What are your thoughts on the fact that some gay male writers discriminate against women?
I think that’s a crock. What, are they jealous? Worried that their domain has been invaded? Or worried that we might just do it better than some of them?
How do you feel about m/f writers making the jump into the m/m romance genre just because it’s popular?
If that is their motivation, then they’re probably wasting their time. I think you have to feel it to do it justice. It’s not a fad, or a passing fancy. It’s a way of life. If you don’t feel and care for your characters, how can you make your readers care?
What is your stance on issues in society like same sex marriage, DOMA, etc?
It shouldn’t even be an issue. It’s a basic human right. Period. DOMA needs to be repealed, stat, and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell should never have been. It’s not a popularity contest here, folks, it’s a matter of doing what is right. In this case, it’s not majority rules. At one time, everyone thought the world was flat. Didn’t make it so. If everyone decided black people or Latinos or Asians were wrong as a people, would that make it right? Of course not. We’re all human: end of story.
What is your opinion about some review sites not accepting m/m books?
It depends on their reasons for not accepting them. If they only review one genre, for example, mystery – then they should at least take m/m mysteries even if not paranormal or contemporary. Whatever they take, though, they should be consistent. If they don’t take m/m because of prejudice against the genre, then that’s just wrong.
As an m/m romance author or gay fiction author, should there be more m/m or gay YA novels?
Why or why not?
Because there are gay teenagers, duh. lol
Why do you feel homoerotic images are not acceptable on place like FB?
Because straight men are scared that they might find themselves attracted and considered to be gay.
Fun questions pick at least 3
Your favorite gay tv show or movie?
Queer as Folk. I’m watching the fifth and final season now. I’ll be sad to see it end.
Are you tired of Lady Gaga yet?
Way past tired, never did like her.
For the men in your books, commando or underwear?
Depends on the man. Max wears underwear, I believe Richard goes commando.
Favorite character in one of your books?
Max is my darling alter ego, a real sweetheart.
The character you identify with?
I think I just answered that lol Max Montague
My blog: http://julielynnhayes.blogspot.com
My facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527332074
Romance First Publishing: http://romancefirst publishing.blogspot.com/
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_222
Blurb: When Alan Sherman’s wife leaves him for greener pastures, Alan finds himself with a house on his hands and a yard he knows nothing about. Can the young man from Able and Willing Lawn Care help put the spring back into Alan’s lawn, with perhaps a little personal attention for the homeowner?
Excerpt: When my wife left me for another man, I can't say that I was unduly upset, because I wasn't. Her absence from the house caused me little heartache or regret, and I shed no tears for her as I stretched out alone, for the first time in years, in my suddenly full-sized bed. In fact, I actually felt sorry for the other man. I considered sending him a sympathy card, but eventually decided against it. That might have been going a bit far, and could only lead to trouble. Or communications with my wife, which was something I realized that I didn't want.
No, I wasn't terribly unhappy, except for the fact that I was left with a house on my hands—and no knowledge of how to run it. I’d left all the daily drudgery to she who’d run away—and although I was able to find the kitchen without a map, my culinary skills were non-existent. As were my cleaning skills. When it came to the plants inside the house, much less the flowers and shrubs outside of it—forget it—I was totally clueless as to how they were supposed to be cared for.
So I finally decided to pull my head out of my ass and do something about it. Or rather I was nudged into it by one of the neighbors—a sympathetic busty blonde who brought me a casserole and told me that unless I did something about it, my azaleas would soon die. I have azaleas? I wisely didn't let on just clueless I really was. And after I’d finished repelling her thinly disguised advances—I'd had enough of women for one lifetime, thank you—and listening to her mindless chatter, finally propelling her out the door with a promise to do lunch sometime soon—part of what she’d said actually filtered back into my consciousness. Something about a service she used for her own landscaping and lawn needs. What was the name? For the life of me, I couldn't remember. But rather than take a chance on having to talk to her again, I merely bided my time, spying on the vehicles that came in and out of the subdivision, watching and waiting, until one day I found what I was looking for—a big white truck parked in front of her house, pulling a trailer upon which rested a rider-mower. Able and Willing Lawn Care was written in red lettering on the truck's side, along with a phone number. I picked up the phone and made an appointment straight away. I told the girl who manned the phone lines that it was an emergency, I was in desperate straits—otherwise I would’ve had to wait two weeks. I was told someone would be out the very next day.
As it so happened, I was working at home, something I could’ve been doing for a long time, but had chosen not to as I hadn't had the desire to spend any more time there than I needed to. This should have been an indication to me that perhaps this marriage wasn't for me, but of course it wasn't. So that's where I was, sprawled comfortably in my den, casually attired as those of us who are home-commuters tend to be—why dress up when you're the only one there? Sloppy shorts, an old Janis Joplin t-shirt, barefoot—blasting The Doors on the stereo, and compiling statistics for a report like there was no tomorrow. I almost didn't hear the doorbell, but the dog did—yes, she left him behind. I guess because she found a new plaything—a large unwieldy Doberman with the horrible appellation of Spike. He went into high gear, blasting out his vicious attack warning, as he aimed himself at the door. Spike is purely bark though, no bite. Which fact I hastily made sure to tell the person on the other side, lest they decide to sue me or something.
And when I opened the door—there he was. I found myself standing there, staring at him like some sort of idiot, slack-jawed to the max. He stood about five foot eleven or so, a few inches shorter than myself. Sun-bleached blond hair. Bright blue eyes, once he peeled off his Hollywood shades, the same hue as the water in my pool on a summer day. Tan skin, unblemished, that stretched as far as the eye could see. He wore no shirt, and I could see the breadth of his shoulders, not overly broad but wide enough, tapering down to a narrow waist, firm pecs, and a six-pack I'd have died to possess. I was no slouch in that department myself, but certainly no match for this veritable Greek god before me. Gravity will work its magic, after all, on all of us, at some point. Flat stomach with soft blond hairs which formed into a line which headed down toward… and when I caught myself looking at his crotch, I pulled myself up sharply. What the hell was I doing, anyway? I forced myself to look back at his eyes, and they were definitely twinkling with bemusement, at my expense. I flushed under his scrutiny. What was he? All of twenty-two, three, maybe?
Then I became aware of the cap on his head, an absurdly garish thing, in some sort of neon green, with the simple embroidered inscription—LAWN BOY—in tangerine. What kind of cheesy name was that, I wondered. "Mr. Sherman?" he asked. "Roy Hudson, Able and Willing…” My heart skipped a beat unexpectedly, even as my cock hardened, and I had to mentally tell myself to calm down.