|Big Gay Wedding|
Ah weddings – they bring out the best and worst in all of us. This month you're invited to Loose Id's wedding extravaganza where marriage equity means equal opportunity wedding disasters. Kate McMurray writes about the thorny problem of finding a hot date to one's ex's wedding while Cassandra Gold's hero agrees to be best man at his brother's wedding only to discover that his new in-laws include someone he's, um, met before. Meanwhile, in J.A. Rock's sequel, on the way to the altar the brat and his dom have to deal with everything from another bickering couple to an intimidating dildo. Dominique Frost explores whether a depraved hedonist can find love with the innocent and proper man he married for money. And Dev Bentham's story has an emotionally damaged catering chef who needs to tame his demons or lose the love of his life. Something borrowed, blue, old and new for everyone this month at
Tell us about your latest book, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
Dev: Bread, Salt and Wine is a contemporary m/m romance.
Cassandra: Always a Groomsman is a contemporary gay romance. Despite the issues myMCs have to overcome to find happiness, it's a lighthearted wedding tale.
Kate: Save the Date is a romantic comedy about a guy who needs a date to his ex's wedding. It's kind of an homage to those romantic comedies from the 90s starring actresses like Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan. It's a little light and fluffy, but it's got some real emotion in it, too.
Dominique: My latest book is called The Bitter Rednesses of Love, and it's pseudo-historical romance with steampunk elements. In it, a degenerate aristocrat discovers the meaning of love when he finds himself trapped in a marriage of convenience to a highly moralistic young man who is his opposite in every way. And, well, opposites attract, don't they?
How do you come up with ideas?
Cassandra: I come up with ideas in a lot of ways. Sometimes a song, TV commercial, movie, or book will spark the idea. Occasionally I'll get a title idea, or the idea for a first line or character, and the story will evolve from there. Other times I'll just be sitting and think what if… That's how I got the idea for my latest release.
I wondered what would happen if a character went to his brother's wedding expecting to meet the bride's twin sister, only to learn she has a twin brother. The whole story fell into place after that.
Dominique: I don't so much come up with them as get struck by them out of the blue. I had long wanted to do a rewrite of history favoring marriage equality, but the idea of this novel actually came from a dream I had in which a man was nervously waiting at the altar for his intended to arrive, and it was a marriage of convenience. Most of my ideas are sparks of inspiration from unlikely sources!
Dev: My stories usually start with a single scene or just a setting in which I meet the two protagonists and the stories unravel from there in a series of what if's. For example, the other day I was listening to a program on trail maintenance in the national forests and someone mentioned putting on wet long underwear for the fifth day in a row. I started thinking--two guys in the woods, dirty, wet and sore from days of hacking trail. Oh, and maybe there'd be grizzly bears in the neighborhood. Now that would make for a great romance. Don't know if I'll ever write it, but if I do, by the time I finish only one of the guys will be with the forest service (or wait, maybe he'll be an archeologist) and the other will be a cook or a rancher or a tourist, maybe a doctor who's lost a patient and has gone to the woods to mourn and has gotten lost. The story could start with the doctor waking in the morning on a hard stone ledge and wiggling out of his sleeping bag to pull on wet long underwear for the fifth day in a row. That's how the ideas come.
Are your stories driven by plot or character?
Dev: I strive to write character driven fiction. Plot doesn't make sense to me unless it comes out of character – particularly in romance. We're funny, prickly, inconsistent beings and it's my experience that our paths are mapped by our choices more than by external events.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
JA: I write BDSM, but I like to focus more on the everyday aspect of it, rather than the clubs and leather and magic doms. I'm interested in how we negotiate kinky relationships in real life, and how we balance them with work, school, family, etc. So I guess I hope I can leave readers with a sense that these relationships do exist, and that there's more to them than fancy equipment and contracts and earth-shattering orgasms.
Cassandra: I would like to think they've had an enjoyable escape from their everyday lives. After reading many of my stories, if I've done my job, they'll get the warm, fuzzy, "awwwww" feeling. And one thing all of my work, no matter how light or dark in tone, has is a sense of hope, so I would like readers to take that with them as well.
Dominique: Well, I hope they enjoy it, first things first. If they find themselves at all changed by my work - or so deeply affected by it that they look at some aspect of life differently - then that's all I can hope for.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
Dominique: To be quite honest, I'm a bit of a carefree writer - I start writing first, from the very beginning of the book and the very first scene, without bothering with research, plotting or an outline. It's only when I hit a snag of some sort that I sit back and go: "Oh, well. That needs looking into, doesn't it?" And then I go off and do my research (about which I try to be very thorough), or do a brief exercise in plotting. Usually, I skip plotting altogether, because books tend to arrive in my head fully plotted. I'm still not quite sure how that works, but miraculously, it does.
Cassandra: I'm more a pantser than a plotter. I tend to jump into the first scene that comes to mind and go from there. Research, attempts to plot, and vague outlines follow. It's probably a bit cart-before-the-horse, but it's the way I work best.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Kate: Writing can be a really great escape. I as a writer can sink into the world of other people or go to other places. There's a part of me that has also always really loved telling stories; I'm guessing that comes from my dad, who is not much of a writer but is a great storyteller.
What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?
Dev: Ah, that's where I think I have an advantage over many writers. I've had a lot of jobs and a few of them have already shown up in books. I've been a sales girl, a business owner, a waitress, a counselor, a commercial diver, a lab rat, a teacher and a scientist. So far I've written about divers, teachers, waiters and scientists. I love incorporating my old jobs into stories.
Kate: Most of my jobs have been pretty mundane—I folded shirts at the Gap when I was in college and I've worked in publishing for more than a decade, which has totally been done. It surprises me that I still haven't written a novel about a violinist; I've played the violin since I was 9, so maybe it's too close to home. Or maybe someday I'll write a violinist character! I coached debate for a while, and I have a WIP sitting on my hard drive about a debate coach that I may finish one of these days—you don't see a lot of romances about debate coaches.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
JA: Paste! I realize this does not make me sound like a promising intellectual specimen, but I didn't eat it. I just really liked the way it smelled.
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. ^_^
Kate: My cat is insane. I got her as a kitten from a cat rescue, and she was this little furry ball of energy. I used to worry about leaving her home alone all day while I was at work, and it turned out my fear was somewhat justified; I came home one day and found that my living room was wrecked, as if the cat had gone on a bender. She had somehow knocked the hutch off the top of my desk and dragged the throw blanket from the couch across the room, among other things. There was no major property damage, and the cat was totally fine. Now she antagonizes me by stealing hair elastics out of my purse.
Do you play any online, board, or role-playing games? Which ones?
JA: I'm very open about my Clue obsession. But I also have a thing for Spider Solitaire. I have fantasies about playing in a professional Spider Solitaire tournament, but I want it to be just as serious and cut-throat as chess tournaments were in the Bobby Fischer era.
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