OF PRINCES FALSE AND TRUE
BLOG TOUR INTERVIEW
What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names?
Are you kidding me? Seriously? Do you have any idea what 197 pounds of foundling dogs would do to my keyboard? Much less the rest of the desk on which said keyboard rests?
Picture, if you will, Rocky…a hundred-pound black and tan Rottweiler mix, to my left, as close to me as he can get. Add in Lucky Dog, to my right—the now-elderly seventy-five pound Australian Shepherd mix I found starving and shivering on my front porch at Christmas all those years ago. And behind my chair, curled up between the whatevers to which the casters are attached, Max, a twenty-two pound Pekingese, adopted from a married couple who for some reason got a dog at the animal shelter, despite knowing all of their children were allergic to dogs.
Picture, too, the distress when I have the audacity to get up for any reason, no matter how urgent. Or having to grip the edge of the bookcase next to the desk for balance, so I don’t fall on my ass while trying to avoid stepping on one or more of them. Particularly when they’ve decided against surround-space and are in a nose-to-tail line blocking the way to and out the door.
Priceless? You betcha.
What was the first book that made you cry?
I’ve been reading for so very many decades (seven at current count), and crying over bits and pieces within, or endings, that I’m no longer sure which was first. How about three examples?
The farthest back I can remember is The Second Son, by Charles Sailor. Originally published in 1979 I read it in paperback, so probably 1980. Sat there bawling my eyes out, as they saying goes, when I hit that sad, powerful, beautiful ending.
That preceding sentence describes June of 1990, a business trip to London, a small room in a gay hotel, as I finished Magic’s Price, the final book in the brilliant Mercedes Lackey The Last Herald-Mage trilogy. (If you don’t know the series, the lead character was gay.)
Christmas of 2007. Suzanne Brockmann’s All Through the Night…featuring Jules Cassidy, a gay FBI agent. Ms. Brockmann’s romantic suspense/thriller Troubleshoots series had featured Jules as a prominent secondary character in a couple of preceding books. They were the first “mainstream” books I’d ever read with a strong, positive gay character. (Hey, FBI, folks!) It’s a mystery-thriller and I recall breaking down into tears twice during the book, and again at the ending. I re-read it every Christmas because it’s just so very joyful.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Get your <expletives deleted> act together, stop all the <expletives deleted> worrying about whether you’re <one expletive deleted> good enough, or worse, your <expletives deleted> procrastinating, and try, you <expletives deleted> idiot!
Being the most excellent writer that I am, one with a winning way with words applied with verve, vim, vigor and a dollop of savoir faire, and a vocabulary with breadth and depth, of course none of the expletives I was compelled to delete in order to answer this question for you, would have been repeated, when giving my so-very-sound advice.
How did you deal with rejection letters?
This is an easy one. I stopped writing.
Okay, okay, so there were more factors at work than just the letters, but it’s easier to blame them.
Sometime in the early 1990s I submitted a short story which eventually expanded into The Warlord and The Bard (2014), for a fantasy anthology being put together by a small publishing house no longer in existence. I remember the day I opened the letter. I don’t recall the precise words, but what I was too dumb to realize at the time was that while the writer…I don’t think there was a signature on it…was rejecting the story, he or she was also encouraging me to continue writing. All I saw was the rejection.
I tried again in roughly 2000 with a more ambitious project. No one had ever thought of writing a gay Regency, so I would! *rueful smile* The editor at a major publishing house with a history of publishing gay novels of a wide variety couldn’t have been more courteous. He even agreed to let me submit the first “x” number of chapters, with the outline/synopsis, knowing it wasn’t finished. (I suspect things like that don’t happen that way now, for new writers.) His rejection letter said that he liked my writing but he didn’t like the characters.
It took me until 2013 to get my…act together, stop all the…worrying, end the…procrastinating, and stop being an…idiot. In November of that year I lost my Amazon self-publishing virginity <ahem> with Like a Mountain, Waiting.