How much of yourself goes into a character?
A lot. I sculpt the character’s personalities & experiences based on my own life. My stories are set in places I’ve lived or visited (Thailand, China, Bali, Albany, South Carolina). My adoration for BDSM infiltrates almost every story. Several characters struggle with anxiety, which unfortunately I have too much experience with. Their professions echo my own jobs: I have my hair license in NY (like Andrew & Phillip). I’ve worked direct care in Human Services and I’m now writing (like Justin). It truly is easier to write what you know.
Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?
Usually my experiences with travel, or BDSM. Although in Secured and Free, one of the Doms adores piercing play, but needles = allergy shots for me = NOT SEXY. Fate allowed me to meet Revi at YaoiCon2016. She really enjoys needle play and based on her experiences, needs and desires I was able to add to Marcus Satir’s motivation enriching his character.
In The Craving, I had to generate planets and a star system for my characters to live, which was fascinating. I had to come up with why they evolved (with only a few expectations) into bipeds. I loved coming up with each planet’s societal views on sex, love and relationships.
I spent many, many, many hours in Thailand clubs talking to the fascinating performers… Illusions & Dreams is set in a ladyboy club in Bangkok…. We can call in research if you like.
Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?
Absolutely! Romances with happy endings are the be all in my world. They have always been tops with me. Seeing a sad movie or reading a non-happy ending makes me annoyed (especially if it wasn’t marketed it as such)… I didn’t care how meaningful it was. The world is horrible enough so I want happy! In my writing, I try to add a little bit of fluffy smexy goodness with a dap of happy.
Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?
HEA. We’re all going to die. Dark but true. While I’m dancing toward death I need love, hope and happiness as my partners. We get a limit number of moments in this life and my goal is to make as many of them as I can happy (for myself and others).
Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?
Romances are my drug of choice now and then. I have turned to them in the worst of times to allow me to escape if only for a little while. And I re-read them with joy to celebrate happiness.
How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?
I think some folks will always love paperbacks, but how amazing is it that we can hold all of our favorite stories right in the palm of your hand. I think ebooks allow people to explore genres that might not be comfortable having the world know what they are reading. For me: Ebooks are great because I’ve moved 13x in 23 years so not losing my books is an incredible gift. (Though when we left China I gifted reading coffee shops with 100’s of my m/m romances, so some good came out of my loss).
How do you choose your covers? (curious on my part)
Usually I try to capture a scene… then I find a very patient artist who tries to pull the character out of my head. See Secured and Free’s cover for what that looks like!!! K-Koji struggled with me over many e-mails perfecting Marcus, Orion and even the shadowy Hunter. Ahhhh, it’s glorious to actually show others who is in your head taunting you for years!
Do you have a favorite among your own stories? And why?
No. I love them all! How can any author chose? Though I like my writing in the most recent because I’m struggling to improve with each book.
What's next for you as an author?
The Librarian’s Rake will be released in the Fall.
Then I’m diving back into hot rockers. Going to head to Suzhou China where the fledging rock band Made in China is struggling to catch a break. I can’t wait!