1. Before we start talking about your book, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
Before embarking on this adventure of writing erotic romance and romance I was a full-time graphic artist and newspaper designer. When those jobs went south, I took some time off to regroup. I spent a few months doing the odd job every now and then and took on some contract work but found the hustle pointless, and more like hobby work rather than a steady paycheck. One day I turned to my wife and said, “You know, I want to give erotic romance a try.” She was skeptical when I brought it up. Writing erotic romance is not like writing fantasy or science fiction, which I like to write. But sexuality and sex has always been her biggest criticism of fantasy and sci-fi. Ultimately, she said go for it. She knows me. When I put my mind to it, I’ll do it. She’s been my number one supporter throughout this whole journey. My teenager likes to crack jokes whenever she can, which needless to say is quite often.
2. Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I really enjoy cooking. We entertain as often as our schedules allow. About two weeks before a dinner party I’ll send out the menu to make sure there are no food allergens or religious concerns. You never know. So it’s best to ask. Thankfully we haven’t had any major issues and haven’t had to rush anyone to the hospital for an allergy attack. Within our four walls we’re a family of five so you can imagine the variety of taste buds and appetites. Keeping the kids and the wife happy isn’t that much of a challenge but when someone has a hankering … Oh, lord. Not me, though. I’m easy. I’ll eat just about anything.
3. What is your daily routine as far as when you have an idea for your story?
Good question. When I get an idea I’ll immediately grab a recording device, usually my smartphone, and just start talking. I have extensive voice notes I’ll play back when I start to develop a story. Most of my notes are thoughts on relationships, emotional and spiritual compatibility, sex, lust, life goals, career assessment, money, power, sex again, left turns instead of right turns, chance encounters. I’ll have anywhere from about an hour to less than two hours of thoughts I later refer to when creating characters and a plotline. I record notes about four times a week.
4. Where do you get your ideas from?
Most, if not all, of my story ideas come from conversations I have with my wife or with friends, and some have started out as threads with authors and readers I’ve met on social networking sites. It’s rare for me, in this genre, to start with an idea. I like to know what people think and feel about what makes a relationship work or what fails it, from a woman’s perspective as much as the guy’s perspective. I want to know what about the situation makes them laugh, urges them to knock some sense into a person, what is arousing, what is off limits, and then ultimately what makes it into the bedroom. Every person’s sexual wants and needs are different, just as much as sexual experiences are different. In this regard quantity does not imply quality. Reaching a fully satisfying orgasm may or may not be dependent on the prowess of the other lover. If you’re horny enough, a quick rub can get the body burning. Still, aren’t we all looking for that perfect mate who understands our wants as if that lover possessed an uncanny telepathic ability to interpret every little twitch or moan we make? I like to write about those moments, those truly open connections. That’s where the filters fall and we learn who we really are and what we really want when we decide to invite someone into our most intimate spaces.
5. Out of all of the stories you’ve written so far, what would be your favorite and why?
This is a tough question. As a storyteller, each character I write about has some purpose, some meaning, for me. Whether it’s the dull dad or the horny husband or the bored housewife or the single woman, each character explores something different. Each quest for fulfillment offers a different fantasy, really. And that’s where I try to be. These fantasies are fun. Literotica authors, at least the ones I have read, strive to teach us to enjoy life, to honor our lovers, be they a spouse or a partner or a long-term lover, and learn how to respect them, deeply, thoroughly, and to allow them to be actively a part of us. Erotic romance and erotica can also be a fun, safe way to practice safe sex. No one has to worry about rolling on a condom during that frantic moment after the clothes fly off. Like, ever.
6. Tell us something funny about yourself that not a lot of people know about?
I have to think about this for a moment. Oh! I have birthmarks all over my body that can be mapped into constellations. I’d tell you where but only my wife has the keys to the observatory.
7. Does any of the stories you’ve written based on real life experiences or basically just from imagination?
Yes. And yes. There is no substitute for lived experience. The memories, the feelings, the situations, however comical or serendipitous, just make for great stories. In my novel, One Layer Left, when Jaeger Wade first meets or thinks he’s about to meet the apartment manager only to discover that a couple is, ahem, er, getting their groove on in the manager’s office, that happened in real life. I was apartment hunting a number of years back and found a few places that I was interested in. I took a chance on one of the listings despite hearing from people that the complex was located in an unfavorable part of town. I called earlier to check with the manager if everything was okay and that she hadn’t rented out the apartment. Everything was fine. When I got there the office door was locked. I thought I was late. I wasn’t. I was also in a bind and had to find a place quick. Because the rent and square footage was ideal I decided to knock again. To my surprise I heard voices. Those voices became feverish, and then, well, I remembered the old adage: When the bed’s a rockin’ don’t come a knockin’. I heard and saw a few things I really didn’t want to see. But, at least she and her man were having a good time. I hightailed it out of there, and never called back. I shared the story with my wife. She couldn’t stop laughing. That’s what you get, she said, for looking into the window to see if the manager was there.
8. Does your ‘muse’ have a name and if so what is his/her name?
Hmmm. I—My muse has no singular name, actually. Family, best describes it. I am a writer because I love to write stories about fictitious people who are as real to me as a fictional family can be. The other side to this, of course, they remind me what my values and judgments are. Although I put my characters into sexual situations the thought process each undergoes is educational, and challenging. Sometimes I write about characters that offend me. But even a villain can teach.
9. What other genre besides the one you are writing about now would you like to venture into writing?
I’d like to give urban fantasy or new adult a try. Maybe even historical romance or historical fiction/adventure. Historical settings are tough. The facts have to be spot on, so in that regard it’ll be a welcome challenge if I decide to pursuit it. I’m developing a few new stories so when those are done I’ll think about what to do next.
10. Who are your favorite authors that are out now?
I don’t have a favorite author in the romance or erotica genres. I find that I lean toward some authors more than others but that may be because I’m currently reading romance novels. When I say romance I’m not including BDSM. That’s a whole other subgenre. I’ve also read a few fetish stories (and wrote a few short stories) but typically stay away from those unless they’re well written and well told. But to get back to your question, I like J. Sterling and Courtney Cole and Kimberly Knight. Sterling has a quick compelling style. Cole has a deep understanding of inner conflict and beauty. Knight has a flowing narrative style that reveals life in gentle patterns.
11. Who is your favorite female and male characters from your books and why?
I’d have to say that it’s Jaeger and Enid. He’s a friendly, easy-going, loyal guy who isn’t afraid of the responsibilities that come with being in a committed relationship nor is he afraid to learn who he is by giving himself a chance to experience life. He’s willing to do just about whatever it takes to keep a relationship in working order, which as his story unfolds, has its own ladders and pitfalls. Enid is a jewel. She’s overcome so much in her life. She suffered from a skin condition, was mocked for it in school, and got pushed around until she met that special someone. Her parents separated early. Her mom worked two jobs just to keep the lights on. She learned that hard work isn’t the only way to work. She works smart. And keeps her costs low. Now, years later, she’s found peace and acceptance. She’s surrounded herself with a close group of friends, each contributing to the group dynamic she ultimately mediates. It’s perhaps the most important role she plays in the group, the power equalizer. She understands that, in many ways, more than the other characters.
12. What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Honesty and vulnerability. I write about characters that challenge me. I write stories that challenge me. I write because I am a student of life, and to learn about life it must be confronted on the page, where it’s safe to be vulnerable. I write because I am still learning who I am.
13. What advice would you give someone who wants to start off being a writer?
Listen to who you are. You have to listen to write. You can’t feel pain or love or betrayal or loss without listening to why you feel and think the way you do at that moment, and afterward. In those times, I suggest to everyone, not just to writers, to write these thoughts and feelings down. They may make sense. They may not. To give those feelings and thoughts expression is to be honest, human. And to be honest, you must be willing to explore human nature, your nature, at your own pace.
14. If you hadn’t become a writer, what do you think you would be doing right now?
A chef. I really enjoy cooking. When I first started to cook I couldn’t boil pasta to save my life but now my wife won’t even go into the kitchen unless she’s making something that I forgot to make or that I won’t dare challenge her on. Like sauces. Her sauces are phenomenal!
15. What would be the perfect Romantic getaway?
Mmmmm… Milan or Monte Carlo for a week, or two. Strolling carefree in that weather, the breeze buffeting our clothes still slightly moist from the pleasures we’ve endured in the afternoon; maybe grab a bite to eat, sitting underneath an umbrella and reaching out across the table to hold each other by the fingertips and just … say … nothing. Just feel.
Well now that we got the question and answer out of the way…..why don’t you tell us about your latest story you have out now?
One Layer Left is about the trials someone endures for the sake of finding love. That real love. That kind of love that is boundless, without pressure. It’s a story about a guy named Jaeger Wade as he struggles with a divorce he did not want, starts over in a new city, and makes new friends only to fall in and out of love several times before realizing that the woman he truly loves is with another man. So, what does he do? Does he wait? He’s not a jerk. He’s not interested in breaking them up. So, when he’s invited into their relationship he’s cautious. He’s not used to long-term sharing. In that journey he discovers a deeper love for a woman he thought was possible. But there’s a cost. Can he make peace with it or does he say thanks for the memories?
JUST TO NOTE......
One Layer Left goes on sale May 15, through Amazon, in ebook format for $3.99. The novel also includes the featured short, Beautiful Imposter, which will be available for purchase as a stand-alone short story late summer for $0.99.