Mini Interview with Julia McBryant

How would you describe your writing style/genre?

I write romantic erotica with an emphasis on poetic language. I have a master’s in fine arts with an emphasis on fiction, and I pay a lot of attention — I think much more than most writers — about how my prose sounds. That’s because of the way I was taught; I’m supposed to be writing about people dying of ennui in New York City, not having happy gay sex in Savannah. This isn’t to knock other writers in the least. But I pay as much attention to the language as I do the sex. It has to sound pretty. I have to have the right rhythm to the language, the right word choice. The phrasing has to be right, and it has to be pretty. I want to write like Anais Nin.

What do people in your real life think about your writing?

My professor are freaking the hell out — that is, the few that know about it; I’m still trying to reach the beloved mentor that viciously turned on me during my thesis and wave it in her face so she can die of embarrassment. Janette Turner Hospital, if you’re out there, I write gay erotica now, and I’m proud of it.

My husband will actually read my writing and not skip the sex, which he says is vital to the plot (I’m pretty proud it’s not gratuitous). One of my BFFs, a poet, refuses to read it because it’s m/m, which sort of hurts my feelings; two other good male friends are bi and will read it, which I deeply appreciate it. My female BFF is my editor, which is a long and involved story. She actually is a legit editor and a very happy accident. My writing brought us back together after twenty years.

What’s your favorite compliment you’ve gotten about your writing?

In one of my first reviews — and I know this is contentious, but I do write work with a very, very high heat level, whereas most women who write gay romance don’t — a reviewer at Gay Book Reviewers said that “this reviewer, with perhaps some inbred prejudice, is always interested in whether women writers of gay erotica in any way misunderstand or misstate the physicalities gay sex. Huzzah for Ms. McBryant: she really nails it!”

I was so damn proud. I did so much research to make sure I got every detail right; I had gay and bi friends beta read; I also dated a lot of bisexual men, had some experience uh, watching gay sex happen (I lived in the artsy dorm), and had/have a lot of gay friends. I still do constant research for almost every sex scene — I have a stash of sites I go to and see what limb goes where and what’s possible and what’s not.

 Other than that, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve had to research for Hurricane Dreams?

I had to look up maps of Charleston to get the right route numbers. I know exactly how to get to Folly beach, but I can’t remember the names of the damn roads. I also couldn’t remember if you crossed the Ashley or the Cooper River, and how far out Ft. Sumter was from the mainland. I’ve never been to Ft. Sumter; I’ve only seen it from the Battery.

What did you steal for Hurricane Dreams?

Both the beaches. They’re real and I love them. There is a restaurant in Savannah that serves amazing alligator, though it isn’t called Vince’s. I also stole the Charleston band Jump, Little Children, which if you’ve never heard, you should go listen to right now.

What’s the funniest or creepiest thing you’ve come across while writing Hurricane Dreams?

They would never serve alligator in the restaurant Audie and Calhoun eat at in the first story, according to my husband. Ever.

What are you working on now and when can we expect it?

Right now I’m waiting for my editor and cover artists to turn over the materials for Audie and Calhoun’s next set of short stories, which should come out in October. At one point, they go to Myrtle Beach, and if you know anything about Audie, and you know anything about Myrtle Beach, I hope you’re cracking up right now.

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