What inspired Wail?
Wail started life as a NaNovel in 2010. I’d just finished Kim Harrison’s White Witch, Black Curse, and I got very curious as to why more writers haven’t taken on the banshee legend. So I decided to give it a whirl for myself!
What started you writing romance?
I actually started writing romance as an accident. I wrote a short story, “Espiritu Sancti,” for a contest on Writing.com…and won! A few months later I entered the same contest with a short called “Angels Would Fall.” That story split first prize with a story about a mermaid, and my ex-wife told me I should think about publishing. I found a publisher, submitted “Angels,” and got accepted. And the rest, as they say, is history!
How did you develop your craft?
Many, many years of writing and figuring out what worked and what didn’t! It took me fifteen years to publish my first novel, and from the time I was eleven until I was thirty-two I read voraciously. Nothing beats sitting down and doing it to hone the writer’s craft, and I made a lot of missteps and mistakes along the way. Hell, I’m still making them today! But they’re getting fewer and fewer, so I suppose that’s something…
What makes a great heroine?
A great heroine is someone any woman can identify with and any man wants to be with. Tough and gutsy, but not afraid to be a woman, either. My personal favorite heroines are the ones who wear kick-ass leather pants and frilly lace panties…YUM!
The sexiest thing in the world to me is a woman who knows what she wants, isn’t afraid to explore, and can hold an intelligent conversation. I don’t do well with ditzes or airheads, but you show me a woman who can play chess and appreciates metal and I’ll show you a drooling guy! ;)
What makes you laugh?
Oh, God…there are so many things! I love to watch stand-up comics, the antics of puppies, or cute little kids at the grocery store. All of them make me laugh for different reasons, and I adore a woman who can tell a good joke!
Do you ever incorporate real people/events into your stories?
*chuckles evilly* Actually, I do. Not as often as one might think, and I usually name them in the dedications of my stories when I do because they gave me permission to use their likenesses. But there’ve been a few people I used in my stories who I don’t care to name in real life because I wound up dropping a metaphorical house on them!
How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
Heh. That’s a tough balancing act to be sure, between my college studies, my day job as a blogger, my position as CEO of Writing Out Child Abuse, and trying to find a little quiet time for me in all that! But the fact is, writing is my life and it’s what puts food on the table, keeps the roof over my head, and cigarettes in my pocket, so it has to be the priority. I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful girlfriend, Kierce Sevren, who understands my sometimes chaotic life because she’s doing the exact same thing!
What’s the most common mistake people make about you?
A lot of people wonder, when I tell them I write erotic romance and horror, if I’m gay. The horror doesn’t throw them, but the erotic romance always gets The Look. So I finally just started saying, “I write erotic romance and horror. No, I’m not gay.” Makes it easier and avoids the misconception altogether.
What ambitions do you have ahead of you?
Right now I’m staring at the New York Times bestseller list. Once I get there, I’ll worry about the rest of it…although I wouldn’t be opposed to winning an Academy Award for Best Screenplay in the not-too-distant future!
What’s the best advice you ever received?
Oh, God…there’s been so much great advice I’ve received, writing and otherwise. I guess the one that sticks with me the most is, “Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Do what’s going to make you happy.” My dad is a very wise man.
If money were no object, what would be your ideal vacation?
I’d take Kierce and her son to Ireland for a month. I would love to actually visit Malin Head in Northern Ireland, one of the key settings in Wail, and get to see how the Irish party!
LOL, trust me they party with the best. What’s next for you?
Tonight I have a reading at Braun Books in Cedar City. Then I have a whole mess of studying to do to keep the old grade point average up. After that…well, November’s just around the corner, and that means NaNoWriMo!
Here’s an excerpt from Wail:
Heather laughed, half in relief, half in joy. “I could use a dancing partner,” she said.
“An’ what’ll yer husband say t’that?” Hugh asked shrewdly, narrowing his eyes through the veil of smoke cast by the fragrant tobacco in his pipe at her thin gold wedding band.
“Mike won’t mind,” she assured him. “He wants me to have fun while I’m here.”
“Does that include that lot ye came in wi’?”
Heather gave him a sharp look. “Not that it’s any of your business,” she retorted tartly, “but if I decided it should, that’s between me and my husband.” She stood as if to leave.
Hugh put his hand gently on her elbow. “I dinna mean t’offend,” he said quietly. “It’s just that I like those gells a great deal. But there’s those same gossips who’d be talkin’ from now to the Second Comin’ about yer family who say the most vile things about them. They’re perfectly kind, sweet, and as good a pair as ye’d hope t’meet. But because they don’t twig t’men as bed partners, there’s got ta be summat wrong wi’ ‘em. What ye do in yer own bed is yer own business, ‘less ye care t’make’t mine. I was simply curious, an’ I’m sorry again if I offended,” he said sincerely, dropping his hand from her arm.
Heather thought it over for a moment, looking at the situation as an outsider might. Someone who had no idea why she was here or what she was doing might very easily get all the wrong ideas about her. But then again, why did she care? What did it matter to her what these people thought of her? And if she did decide to get involved with Moira and Kathleen while she was here, what was the harm? Surely sex with other women was far safer, by comparison, than sex with any male.
Hugh looked quite crestfallen as he sat there, clearly torn between fear that he’d pushed too far and blown his chance to be her dancing partner and hope that she’d forgive him. The band filed back onto the stage and picked up their instruments. Heather let him stew for a moment, and then took his hand.
“Come on,” she said, leading him out onto the floor.
The woman leading the band began to play a mournful tune on her fiddle, and the band filled in behind her with a somber, melancholy but lovely air. As she played, she began to sing. Heather couldn’t understand a word of it, but the song was so wistful and sad that it tugged at her heart. She asked Hugh, who was keeping just enough distance for courtesy’s sake, “What is she singing?”
He listened for a moment. Clearly, he’d been paying more attention to the company than the music. He said, “It’s a traditional Irish love song, about a woman whose man’s called away t’war.”
“Does it have a happy ending?” she asked, even though from the doleful sound of the melody, she doubted it.
“Ah, ye’ve a lot t’learn about yer people, colleen,” Hugh chuckled. “It’s very few Irish songs worth the singin’ have happy endin’s.”