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Catching Up With…m/m romance Author Dev Bentham

Today, I’m chatting with m/m romance author, Dev Bentham. Dev and I first met two years ago as new authors when Carina Press  released our debut m/m romances, Moving in Rhythm and What Binds Us on the same day in 2012. Since then we’ve become friends, though we’ve never met. In honor of the second anniversary of debuts on March 19, I thought I’d catch up with Dev and see she’s been up to.

LB: Hi Dev! It’s so great to sit down and catch up.

DB: Wonderful to see you Larry. Thanks for inviting me.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since being published?

DB: I feel like I'm learning all the time. This spring I'll be re-releasing the book that came out right after our release¾Learning from Isaac. As I'm editing that book, I'm realizing how much I've learned about writing romance in the past couple of years. While the story won't be essentially different, of course, there are a few things I'll add and at least one scene I'll take out simply because I know more about romance and my readers than I did when I first started writing in this genre.

LB: Dev, I’d agree with you—I’m learning all the time. But I think for me the biggest lesson was that there’s more to writing than writing—not all of it bad. But there’s the promotion, the keeping up on social media, responding to readers. The other big lesson? Once you’ve been published you don’t stop writing.

What surprised you most?

DB: How supportive fans are. I really didn't expect to feel such a personal connection with my readers.

LB: The fans definitely. I love when readers write me and tell me one of my books moved them, or they saw some of their life lessons and experiences reflected there. That surprised me because while I write fiction, it reflects certain realities and readers get that.

What's your favorite thing about writing/being published/least favorite thing?

DB: My favorite thing about being published is interacting with readers. I love that! On the other
hand, my least favorite thing is being consistent on social media - which is silly since that's where I end up connecting with readers. But I often feel like my life is too dull for Twitter/Facebook/blogging. I live in my head so much that I rarely get out and do interesting things. Lately all I've done on social media is whine about the weather--how boring is that? In my defense, it has been extraordinarily cold.

LB: I think my favorite thing is the writing itself—the creating a story, putting the words together to create something I think is beautiful. My favorite thing about being published is getting my words and stories out there. I recently ran into a woman whose twelve year old son came to her and told her kids at school kept asking him if he was gay. He told her he didn’t yet know if he was. Her question for me was how to help him and support him. She wanted to read Unbroken to gain an understanding of what growing up gay was like. How great is that.  My least favorite thing is hands down writing a synopsis before submitting a book. Thankfully my current publisher refuses to read a synopsis, and reads the submission instead.

Has your writing process changed since publication?

DB: My process hasn’t really changed—I’m a binge writer, the first draft comes out in one obsessive purge, then I sit back for a while to let myself re-center. What has changed is that now I feel a responsibility to keep putting out new and better work. I used to let myself do other things for six months or so while my subconscious churned. Now I try to limit my non-writing phase. That said, work and life have kept me away for a while now and I’m anxious to start a new story soon.                

LB: Funny my process hasn’t changed either—it’s as chaotic as ever. LOL! I still write by hand and non-sequentially. I have noticed though that I can now set aside a time to write and actually write. I didn’t have that discipline before. I was maddeningly dependent on the muse’s mood; now I’ve managed to control him a bit more. Mostly anyway.

Has your self-image changed since being published?

DB:  I've always written, but I find that having a number of stories out there makes it much easier for me to call myself a writer. Funny, right? Since what's the definition of a writer? One who writes. But a little public acknowledgement helps a lot.

LB: Oh good! I’m not the only one who struggles with that. I’ve always written but I seldom referred to myself as a writer. That changed in the last year, with the publication of Unbroken, I think. I actually wrote a funny blog post about coming out as a writer. And I find I’m more confident about my work.

What's next?

DB: I'm re-releasing Learning from Isaac without the infamous cucumber scene (although I'll certainly pass along the scene to anyone who wants it). I'm hoping to get out a flash or two to go with the release. Look for new work in the fall.

LB: I never really know in advance. I have just started writing flash fiction as part of the Wednesday Briefs blog hop. That keeps me writing until I’m ready to start another book.

Before we say goodbye, I have to ask one more question, Dev. Since Moving in Rhythm, you’ve written seven books. That’s impressive. How do you manage to be so prolific?

DB: Thanks Larry. I think of myself as compulsive more than prolific. The year we debuted was a good one for me. It was also exhausting. Those Jewish holidays just kept coming and coming and coming¾

LB: *giggles, then coughs*

DB: Um, that might have come out wrong. This past year was a bit slower. But I’m lucky to have a day job that lets me work from home and make my own hours, so I can binge write when I have a story brewing. Last year I had time in the spring to participate in the Goodreads M/M group Love Has No Boundaries event. The resulting free short, Breathing Snow, ended up nominated for Best Athlete in their annual story awards. So I guess I’ve had seven and a half stories come out since then. Oh my. I need to go lie down.

LB: You need to lie down? So do I. Just hearing about this exhausted me. Then again maybe I should go write something—I have a lot of catching up to do!

Seriously though, thanks so much so stopping by Dev. I loved catching up with you. And by the way I will be asking you for a copy of that cucumber scene.

About Dev Bentham

Dev Bentham lives in Northern Wisconsin with her Boston terrier and Chicago sweetie. She has published short stories, poetry, newspaper articles and academic papers. She’s worked in nearly every profession from waitress to professor to open-water diver and now writes m/m romance out of an intense fascination with love, courage and gender. To learn more about Dev and her work, visit her website.



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