April 30, 2012

Dennis R Upkins Interview #Outlantacon

Denny, I'm pleased to have you here. Welcome to Romance Lives Forever! Tell us what made you decide to become an Outlantacon guest?
DRU: I had been attending Outlantacon for a few years and even then I was interested in becoming a guest. When my novel Hollowstone was released last summer, I especially knew I wanted to be a guest and share my experiences about being a novelist and aiming for more diversity in the media.
How did you hear about Outlantacon?
DRU: If I'm not mistaken, I believe I heard about Outlantacon while I was at Dragoncon one year. I get down to Atlanta pretty regularly so I decided to make a weekend of it. I won't lie, I was very nervous. I didn't know anyone and I didn't know what to expect. But everyone was very warm and welcoming and you could tell everyone was just excited to be there. I was able to relax, make some friends, and I had a blast. I felt safe and as a queer POC that's very rare in LGBT settings. I've been coming back to Outlantacon ever since and they can't seem to get rid of me.
What panel are you looking forward to the most?
DRU: The comic book panel is always fun and I'm looking forward to whatever panel they put me on this year.
A view on the world
Do you play role playing games? Which ones?
DRU: The only RPGs I ever play are video game RPGs and my favorites would include Final Fantasy 7 and the Kingdom Hearts series.
What new project are you working on now?
DRU: I'm currently working on a novella entitled West of Sunset. It features gay wizard detectives, vampire bikers, witchy heroines and it's all in Los Angeles. It's a light and fun romp. Another publisher is interested in it so that's taken priority for me at the moment.
How do you come up with ideas?
DRU: It's usually random but a good story will strike me. It can be a lyric from a song I hear or life experiences. I've found that more often than not, reality is lot more bizarre and over-the-top than what I can devise.
What is the most important thing you do for your career?
DRU: The most important thing I can do for my career is stay true to my voice and true to myself.
What do you enjoy most about life?
DRU: As hokey as it sounds, I enjoy spending time with loved ones who make life worth living. I enjoy being able to immerse myself in creating art. That's usually when I truly feel alive.
How do you balance life with deadlines and work?
DRU: I learned early on the importance of managing your time because once it's gone, you can't get it back. For me, if I have a lot to do and very little time to do it, I prioritize and make a list of the things that need to get done and I proceed to do them and check them off the list while I complete them.
What is the craziest thing you did as a kid?
DRU: I honestly don't have any crazy childhood misadventure stories. As a kid I was pretty mild-mannered, reserved and lived in my head. Just to provide context, when I was a teen, I used to get lectures from my parents about loosening up and having more fun. That should tell you plenty right there.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice about life what would it be?
Denny with Hollowstone
DRU: It's okay to be human. You don't have to be perfect all the time. You are allowed to be happy and to be loved.
List two authors we would find you reading.
DRU: JK Rowling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle immediately come to mind.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
DRU: Strange Days And All Things In Between
How do you respond to negative people?
DRU: Unfortunately negative people are something you have to contend with constantly throughout life, especially if you're aspiring to achieve some high goals like being a successful writer. You face all the more hatred and bigotry when you're a queer writer of color. Releasing Hollowstone last year was a sober reminder that not everyone is going to be happy for your success. I had friends, a lot of them aspiring writers, who begin to resent me and continuously make some cutting remarks. After awhile I realized there was a level of racism at play because the black guy accomplished what my white friends couldn't or wouldn't do.
Being outspoken and demanding better representation of people of color and LGBTQs, I've also been relentlessly harassed by racist trolls. But as loved ones have told me, I must be doing something right.
In my experience, the best thing to do is keep your eye on the prize, don't be derailed, keep heart, stand your ground and expend as little energy on the haters as possible.
One thing I learned about negative people is that they're expending all of this energy on trying (and failing) to shut me down because they're miserable, pathetic, and have nothing going for themselves. The best response is to let the fruit of your labors speak for you. At the end of the day, the fact remains I'm the one who released a great novel, I'm doing what I love, I'm making money, I'm being interviewed by extraordinary people, I'm being invited to conventions, I'm being blessed with all of these wonderful opportunities. Me, not them. And I'm just getting started.
What's the best way to say no?
DRU: "No." LOL!
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
DRU: Vancouver, BC. Hands down. Love the city. It is a beautiful city and when I visited, I did not want to leave.
Denny relaxing
What song would best describe your life?
"Take Good Care Of The Poor Boy" by Sloan
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
DRU: Electronics and books. It would probably be something akin to the Apple store meets Barnes & Noble or a really hipster comic book store.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
DRU: The creative writing classes and Awards Day because I usually racked up.
Tell us an embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story about a significant other will do. ^_^
DRU: A significant other? Oh yeah. About a year back an old flame and I were in the shower in his hotel room and we both learned the importance of placing the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door, less risk interruption by an over-eager but very lovely house-keeping lady who didn't take the running shower as a hint not to enter the bathroom.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Please fill in the blanks
I love pizza with comic books.
I'm always ready for sex.
When I'm alone, I can finally recharge.
You'd never be able to tell, but I am very shy and introverted.
If I had a halo it would be a golden chakram similar to the one Xena used to use.
If I could train, I'd get back into gymnastics today, in a heartbeat.
I can never settle for mediocre because it's embedded in me to always overachieve.
Upcoming Projects
Denny Upkins
DRU: LOL! I had to think about that one for a moment. I'm actually excited and blessed to state that I've got a very full plate at the moment. I'm working on a few things with Parker Publishing. I can't go into specifics at this time but I'm pretty stoked about it and I can't wait until they're released.
I'm in the middle of writing my novella, West of Sunset which I hope to complete soon. I've also got another novella and a few other projects in the works.
Stay tuned.
The Public Can Find Me Here


  1. Welcome! I'm so excited to have you here. I remember meeting you at the first Outlantacon. You were a great encouragment to me and I'm pleased to host you today. Looking forward to the con next week.

  2. I'm definitely looking forward to meeting you, Dennis, and seeing several of the panels! Readers get a real feel for authors during the panels, especially our personalities, and that's what they tend to take with them. I think that's my favorite part. =) Very nice interview.

  3. Great interview. He also chose great authors he'd be reading.

  4. Kage, he's a sweetheart. I can see you two being friends.

    Miranda, I agree - but he forgot my name! ;)

  5. Thanks everyone for the very kind words.



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