How did you get into writing m/m? What inspires you (besides beautiful men that is)?
Like a lot of m/m writers I’ve met, I got into it through fan fiction. I wrote four mainstream novels some years ago and the last one took me three years and I got rather burnt-out and discouraged when it didn’t sell hugely. So I stopped writing fiction for a while. Then last year I became obsessed with BBC Sherlock and started reading fan fiction and then writing it (johnlock, the Sherlock/Watson pairing). I had such fun doing it, and I got such great encouragement from readers, that I decided to try writing professionally again. By then I was hooked on m/m, including regular m/m fiction, and decided that’s what I was passionate about writing.
What do you read in your spare time?
I’m a big m/m romance reader and a goodreads junkie. I mostly prefer contemporaries. A few of my favorite authors are Amy Lane, Andrews Grey, J.L. Merrow, Sue Brown, and Z.A. Maxfield. I also enjoy m/m YA and love the work of Madison Parker and Jeff Erno.
Who is your superhero?
Wow, interesting question! I’m not sure I have a superhero in quite the sense it is used in Superhero. But my husband is definitely my number one supporter and chief cheerleader. He’s always encouraged me in whatever I wanted to do and never judged me or made me feel like I should be anything other than what I am.
Was the character of Ray in Superhero based on anyone you know?
Ray is not based on a specific person, but I have been following the stories of bullying and suicide in the press and have cried over more than a few of the “It Gets Better” videos. My father was a minister and we had a number of mentally disabled people in our small congregation, so I grew up with the mindset of helping others. And I experienced bullying myself. Just before 6th grade, my family moved from a small town in Pennsylvania to Champaign, Illinois where I attended a big inner city school. I was a bit overweight and a small town ‘hick’ and I got bullied horribly by three girls in my grade. It was so bad that a few times I hid in my closet in the morning and sat in there all day quietly so my mom wouldn’t find me and send me to school. I finally stood up for myself and smacked one of the girls as she was tormenting me. I didn’t plan it, that anger just came out of me. After that they backed off. But yeah, I’ve always been passionate about sticking up for underdogs and I hate, hate bullying. It felt like it needed to be part of Owen and Jordan’s story.
Owen and Jordan have been friends since forever. Do you have anyone like that?
I do not. I had some extremely close best friends growing up, but my family moved often and I am not still in touch with any of them, sadly.
Is there a genre (fiction/self-help/ gasp m/f) lol. or subject you really would love to write about, but haven’t yet?
I have been playing with the idea for a mainstream YA series for a while, so I will likely do that. But see my answer below for more on this timely topic. LOL
You’ve written a fairy tale (Before I Wake) a historical (Lion and the Crow) and YA (Superhero), which was the most fun/easiest for you? Which would you like to write more of?
Yeah, that’s a bit weird, hey? I didn’t mean to be all over the board, it just sort of happened that way. Before I Wake I would consider a m/m contemporary with a fairy tale theme, the historical I did for the Love Has No Boundaries event—the prompt just spoke to me and I thought it would be a fun creative challenge to write a m/m romance set in medieval times. For Superhero, I didn’t set out to write a YA specifically, I just wanted to write a contemporary m/m romance set in high school (duh). It was only after I wrote it that I was clued to the fact that it was YA! So, yeah. Great strategic planning there. But it worked out well and I’m thrilled with Harmony Ink’s cover and nice job publishing it.
Superhero was the most fun for me to write. I enjoy writing in first person because it’s like letting someone else take over my head and it just flows. But my plan for the next year or so is to focus on adult m/m contemporaries of the sweet/spicy/a little humorous vein. I have two like that coming out in August and September – The Trouble with Tony and Puzzle Me This.
If you could meet with someone living or dead who would it be?
Hum. Cool. I feel like I’m on The Actor’s Studio or something! This may sound strange, but I always wished I could go back in time and just sort of witness Jesus from afar. My parents were very conservative religiously and I am by nature very liberal. So I’ve rejected a lot of the Christian interpretation of his teachings but yet he’s a fascinating figure to me. I’ve always been curious what the ‘real’ story is behind the historical person. I would say some famous writer or celebrity, but I’ve met a few people I am fans of and I’m always just awkward and have no clue what to say, so I’m not sure if would be a very edifying experience!
Do you watch a lot of porn…you know for research..(asking for links lol) Hrrmm. Are any of my neighbors reading this? LOL. Yes, I have and do watch gay porn, and it’s been very instructional, though usually I prefer to read m/m romance because I really need the emotional side of a relationship as well. But yes. Purely for research purposes, of course, I have watched Corbin Fisher videos and I’m a particular fan of their model Travis because he’s sort of shy and sweet.
As for the sex in my stories – Superhero does not have anal because it just didn’t seem like something the boys would explore that quickly together, but it does have more explicit sex than is usual for YA. In fact I was worried I wouldn’t find a publisher for that reason.
My general feeling about sex in m/m romance is that it isn’t the focus of the story for me – I would say UST is what I really love in a romance so I try to build that in each story. By definition, once they have sex the UST is not quite the same, so usually my characters are not in bed together by page 14. But on the other hand, if you build up the UST then you have to pay that off and pay if off handsomely, IMHO, with some hot sex eventually. Otherwise it’s like getting a box of Cracker Jacks and getting to the end and there’s no prize! And that just sucks.
What’s the hardest part of writing for you? the easiest ?
I don’t have any problem coming up with the ideas for books or the beginning, big climatic scenes, and the end. The middle, and the sort of filler stuff that goes around the really big stuff, is sometimes a challenge for me to write.
Do you keep like a ‘notebook/bible’ about the characters to keep them all straight? Oh huh..punny.
I have a plot outline doc as well as my manuscript doc and in that outline doc I keep the basic bios of my characters, timelines, and all that factual stuff you need to keep ‘straight’. I also ALWAYS google around and find pictures of my MCs and I have them on my desktop when I’m writing for inspiration.
Do you read reviews or leave it as too stressful?
I have followed reviews closely for the m/m I’ve published so far, and so far they’ve mostly been really good and that’s encouraging. If I get to a place where I feel the reviews are critical enough that they’re doing me more harm than good to read, I’ll stop. I have felt that way about some of my writing in the past.
Do family/friends know what you write, and do they care?
My family does. My husband is very supportive. My sisters are sort of like, um, okay, if that’s what you want to do. But they don’t have any interest whatsoever in reading it. I have made a few good friends in the m/m author community that I Skype or email with and that means a lot to me in terms of support and a sounding board.
Do you have a wrestler fetish? Heh. Well, I never did before, but after writing Superhero I think I might! Definitely not pro wrestling –those guys are a little too butch for me, but college level yeah, those guys are cute!
Guilty pleasure? (Show us pics!)
Well, honestly, my guilty pleasure at the moment is reading and writing m/m romance. But here’s a youtube video of Travis from Corbin Fisher for your guilty viewing pleasure (he was physically the inspiration for Christian in “The Lion and the Crow”): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzDrauF5f38
You can get a little more on Eli here: Eli Easton
Leave a comment for Eli before 8/11 for a random chance to win a copy of Superhero! CONGRATULATIONS LENA!!