March 28, 2012

Interview with Kage Alan #Outlantacon

Humor by Kage Alan.
Kage, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. I just want to say up front that after reading the "fill in the blanks" part of your interview, I understand why you write humor. It was a true gigglefest and I enjoyed it! What made you decide to become an Outlantacon guest?
First, it sounded like tremendous fun! It’s also the first opportunity I’ve had to attend a convention specifically geared towards an LGBT audience. What’s not to like about that? It’ll also be a wonderful opportunity to network, meet and interact with folks from all over. That’s the kind of fuel that can feed an author to keep writing.

How did you hear about Outlantacon?
A moderator on the Writer’s Track at DragonCon, Lee Martindale, told author T.C. Blue and I about it last year during a panel we participated in. It sounded like incredible fun, especially since OutlantaCon is still in the early growing process. Conventions at this stage tend to be far easier to connect with folks, get to know people, and establish relationships with them that carry on into future years.

What panel are you looking forward to the most?
The general LGBT writing panel. The focus in LGBT lit these days tends to be on Romance. While my novels have romantic elements in them, they’re mainly comedies and tend to have less attention paid to them because of that. A panel like this is a welcome opportunity to still address romance, but also introduce other sub-genres within the gay genre.

Do you play role playing games? Which ones?
Not technically, but my husband often tells me what my role is and how I should be playing it. Does that count?
A Funny Thing Happened...

What new project are you working on now?
I’m currently working on the second book in the Gaylias comedy series.  The first book clicked with readers and they’ve asked for more adventures with the Asian/white couple, Anthony and Nicholas. Unfortunately, it’s taking considerably longer to write at the moment because I’ve become a caregiver for my father, who’s suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s. I work a reduced amount of hours at my day job, then care for dad and when I have time, do all the lovely housework and chores that need to be done, then hopefully get a little writing done.

How do you come up with ideas?
There are times when I’ll get a nugget of an idea from a dream. Most other times, though, I’ll be listening to a song and it becomes like watching a film trailer in my head. Each section of the song inspires an image or action in my head and that starts to translate into a story. Gaylias started because of a song called Dancing Into Danger by German artist Inker & Hamilton. I loved the song and knew there was a really fun story to tell about an Asian/white couple sent on a government mission together, only I couldn’t come up with a single plot point. I knew the characters very well, only I didn’t have anything for them to do.

I was visiting my guy in Philadelphia two months later and heard (for the first time) a song called Thunderspell by female rocker Doro. Every single plot point fell completely into place and I knew exactly how the book was going to go. Music inspires me and I’ll go with that as long as it lasts.

What is the most important thing you do for your career?
I’d have to say keeping myself grounded. I probably don’t have much of a choice because my friends, family and husband would never let publishing go to my head. They’d bring me back down to earth quite forcefully if I ever showed any egotistical tendencies and I’m quite thankful for this. But, I also police myself.

I’ve seen authors who publish their first novel, then start to churn out advice to any and every other author as if what they’re saying is the gospel. It’s not gospel. It’s annoying. If asked, I’m more than happy to share information about something that’s either worked or not worked for me. Or, if I really think I have something to add, I’ll ask if they’d like to know.

I’m also always thankful when someone reads one of my books. They’ve got a huge selection out there to choose from, so if they’ve given one of my novels a try, then they’ve made it worth whatever I’ve gone through to make it available.

What do you enjoy most about life?
The laughter. Life is pretty dramatic on its own to the point where folks will create their own drama in the absence of it just because they feel there should be some. But when people experience happiness, something that makes them smile—especially when it’s out of character for them—those are just magical moments. I find I seek these instances out. I’m also a huge prankster, so if I see someone creating unnecessary drama, I’ll go out of my way to create a little excessive levity. It’s one of the reasons I write comedy.

Do you think keeping secrets is good or bad?
Gonna have to go with good on this one. Part of Chinese culture I’ve learned over the past 17 years is assisting family keep face. Nobody likes having their dirty laundry aired, so when something presents itself as undesirable information, it’s prudent to keep one’s mouth shut. Fortunately, this can work in your favor, too, if you ever find yourself on the end of needing help. It can also reinforce trust since you’ve proven you can keep your mouth shut, which is a desirable trait in most families.

As for one-on-one secrets, I find that keeping serious things from my partner to be both unwise and… Let’s leave it at unwise. Now, playful secrets? I love those, especially when they irritate him! And turnabout it always foreplay.

A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
Author Gets Lost In Blu-Ray Collection

How do you respond to negative people?
Gaylias - Operation Thunderspell
It truly depends on the level of negativity. If we’re talking a low, general sense of negativity, I’ll be polite and attempt to make witty remarks to get them to lighten up. Do that often enough and someone will alter their behavior around you. Hopefully. If they’re in the middle area of negativity, I will attempt to assist them in solving the issue of why they’re being negative. If we can, great! If we can’t, then I will attempt to be positive reinforcement for them moving forward in coming up with a way to solve the negativity issue. Now, when it comes to downright high level negativity, I’ll simply remove myself from the equation. I choose not to be around it and if they choose to try and include me in their misery, I’ll let them know in no uncertain terms, though politely, that I won’t be a party to it.

Finally, you have the real nasty negative folks who enjoy negativity for the sake of being negative and won’t do anything to change their situation. I’m not as nice with these folks anymore. If you don’t want to improve your situation, then go bring somebody else down, not me and mine.

If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
We’d split our time between Michigan (where our folks live), Hong Kong (where his evil Grandmonster lives and where some of the best shopping is) and the Virgin Islands (where he currently works). Then, too, San Diego is quite nice provided we could afford to stay at the Del whenever we wanted. Florida might be nice, preferably Key West so we could have friends want to visit on a regular basis. I kinda have a soft spot for Toronto now that I think about it…and Chicago wasn’t awful. Plus we just got married in Manhattan and the Chelsea area is quite lovely. Definitely wouldn’t want to live there year round, though. As long as there’s a Best Buy close by, I’m pretty sure we could be happy almost anywhere. Just not Philadelphia. There are some crazy ass drivers there.

What song would best describe your life?
Lovers in a Dangerous Time by Bruce Cockburn. My hubby played it for me very early on in the relationship and while I’m sure it was never written to address the struggle for gay folks to have their relationships acknowledged, plus the inherent threat of physical violence for being in one, the lyrics fit. We knew there would be a chance of people reacting badly to the two of us as a couple, so we always felt the need to be extra cautious in who we told.

If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Wash twice daily on delicate cycle unless with half Asian counterpart, in which case wash twice daily with half Asian counterpart and allow for passive-aggressive nature of the aforementioned half Asian counterpart to color, annoy and, ultimately, iron original article flat. Wear original article only in casual situations as article has a tendency to make non-stop sarcastic quips to lighten moods and irritate people for the pure sake of keeping edges sharp. Any discomfort with article can be smoothed over by presenting it a gift of Blu-Ray, which will make it as soft and warm as fleece.

Please fill in the blanks
I love pizza with pepperoni, onions, olives and ranch crust.
I'm always ready for the artistic, sarcastic response that I might perfect and use it in a book.
When I'm alone, I listen to very loud music and pretend I’m actually a far better singer than I am. And I’m a HORRIBLE singer. No melody, no rhythm and no vocal range. It’s sad, really.
Kage Alan
You'd never be able to tell, but my half Asian husband’s Grandmonster who lives in Hong Kong will one day take over Hell.
If I had a halo it would be edible…in case I need a snack.
If I could have multiple orgasms I'd quit my job and stay home all day.
I can never tell my guy “no” because he claims I’m not allowed to say that to him per a contract I don’t recall signing and never received a copy of.

The Public Can Find Me Here


  1. This is going to be one fun convention! Can't wait to meet you in person. Lee Martindale is a character. Glad you got to know her. ^_^ Thanks for hanging out on the blog today.

  2. Kage- How do you keep an optimistic viewpoint (or do you?) when approaching each new project? Do you have a clear idea of what makes a book a 'success,' or do you find that after each success you set the bar higher and expect bigger results the next time?


  3. Kayelle, I've watched Lee at DragonCon for a couple of years now and the woman is a stitch! I think it's going to be great fun with all of us there. And thank you for letting me be a part of your blog. =)

    Good morning Paul,

    Wow. lol I've tried to start an answer three different ways so far. Yes, I have an optimistic view of each project when I start, but only insomuch as the story makes me laugh just thinking about it. If and when that happens, I'll move forward with it.

    If I can write a book, go back to it later, laugh and wonder how in the world it ever came to me because I honestly don't remember, that to me is success. I know that dialogue is my strong point and that everything around it is there because it has to be, so I don't overdo the weaker points and instead focus on the stronger elements.

    The bar definitely gets set a little higher for me with each book, especially if it's a sequel. Establishing the characters is one story, then I get to unleash them in another without repeating what I did in the first book, yet keeping elements that readers enjoyed.

    I will say--and this doesn't always come across well depending on how I word it--that I write for myself first. Nothing of mine gets published that I don't feel positive about. Only after I'm good with a completed work will I share it with other readers.

    Finally, I never know what to expect in terms of readers either liking or disliking one of the books. Some do, some don't. I can't predict it. I can say that when a do a signing and get to interact with folks, they pick up very quickly on my personality. Then, when they start to read one of the books, many have written and said "I can hear you reading this. This is you." That's more of a success to me. =)

    Sorry. I seem to have given you a bit of a long-winded answer.


  4. Paul, that was a terrific question. I wish I'd said that!

    Kage, very much looking forward to talking to you at the con. I can relate to the feeling of looking back at what you wrote and wondering how you came up with it. I think all writers love the sound of words, and when we can capture what we hear for others, we've accomplished our purpose. I mentioned this interview on the Outlantacon Facebook page, and said I was going to ask about the Grandmonster in Hong Kong. Should I? Or would that be unleashing a whole new demon? =^_^=

  5. The Grandmonster is a unique highlight in my life. She’s my hubby’s Chinese grandmother who lives in Hong Kong and it’s been her sole duty to try and exterminate by any means necessary any potential suitor for her grandchildren she doesn’t approve of. And she’s never approved of anyone! Now, if I was a Chinese woman with a minimum of two doctorate degrees, spoke three language, made a tremendous amount of money, wanted to have many children and was willing to kiss her unholy rear end, then I might come halfway close to meeting her expectations. I have so much material on her from over the 17 years he and I have been together that she’ll be a character in the third Andy Stevenson novel…provided I continue to dodge her hit squads between now and then. Yeah, she’s a peach.

  6. Looking forward to seeing both of you at Outlantacon! :)

  7. Thanks, Shae! Do let me know you left a note on the blog. I want to shake your hand. ^_^


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