BY CONNIE WARD
- What made you decide to become a fiction writer?
That question sounds funny to me. While I have two BSB books coming out this year and a proposal under consideration, I still find it strange to call myself a writer, but I am and I love it. I decided to write a book on a bet from an old friend. He was teasing me about telling him a story. He always said I told good ones, but I thought they should be at least loosely based on fact—you know, 10% true. He said, “Nah, just write something down. I’d like to read it.” Next thing you know I had about 30,000 words and the beginning of what became Live and Love Again. Now I realize I am a fiction writer, and I enjoy it very much. I still have a day job, but I have a long-term goal to make writing my full-time job as soon as reasonable.
- What type of stories do you write? And why?
My first few stories have been romances, mainly because I love a happy ending. One of my favorite classics is Pride and Prejudice. Sometimes it’s nice to escape the challenges of life and experience two people happy and in love.
Also, I’m in the middle of a young-adult/coming-of-age story, and I’m really excited about it. I have hopes of writing a mystery/suspense novel in the future.
- What do your family/friends think about your writing?
My family and friends are very happy for me and excited, especially my wife, who is the most amazing woman. She works from home so she was there when BSB sent the authors’ copies of my book. She kept it a secret all day. She wrapped the box up and went out and bought flowers. When I got home the wrapped box was on my desk, and I had no idea what it was. She was so excited and created a special event for me. It truly is exciting to see your first book in print.
- Where do you get your ideas?
That is a great question, and I wish I knew the answer so I could go there and get some more when I’m struggling with the next new book. I think most of them start out based on some real event I’m familiar with and then transition to a more interesting fictional story. And that amazing wife of mine, she is my muse. It is important for me to talk through an idea as I’m working on it. I often sit and discuss what I’m thinking about, and she helps me bring it all together.
- How do you write; do you plan everything out or just write?
With my first three stories, I just sat down and started writing about a couple of characters I’d created in my head, but as I’ve struggled through the editing process I’m beginning to realize a little more planning would be beneficial. It’s interesting that the “just write” method has worked for me because I’m a planner.
- What makes Live and Love Again special to you?
- How much of yourself and the people you know are in your characters?
I’d say that most of my characters start out based on myself or someone I know, but they generally evolve into having their own personality. In some cases I think they have turned into more of the ideal me. Despite their flaws they generally handle themselves through the challenges perfectly—well, sort of.
- Which gay/lesbian authors inspired you the most?
I have to go with Sarah Waters. I truly love her stories, and her amazing prose flows so beautifully. It helps that she writes suspenseful historical fiction—all my favorites wrapped into one. I’m generally not too fooled by her twists anymore because I’m expecting them, but they work every time. It would be a dream come true to pull off a suspense story the way she does.
- Do you have a favorite of this author(s)?
Besides Sarah, I’m a huge fan of Stephen King. I would like to meet him someday and have a cool malt beverage with him. I’m not a big fan of horror, but King’s suspense and character development always keep me interested, even when I don’t necessarily enjoy the story. My favorite King of all time is Misery—great story.
- Do you have any suggestions for new writers?
My only advice is write. I have a good friend who keeps telling me he wants to be an author, but he never writes. He keeps coming up with outlines and researching characters and making notes. I’m still pretty new at this myself, but I believe you just have to start writing to get something on paper. The editing comes later.
- When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?
When I’m not writing, I build custom furniture. Like the main character in Live and Love Again, I’m a woodworker. My wife and I have a small cabin in the mountains north of Albuquerque, and I’m currently building all the furniture for the cabin, including a futon, desk, end tables, bed, and nightstand. The list is long, but I’m about halfway through, though I’m sure my wife will add something to the list, and I won’t mind a bit.