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What’s Next? Fabulous Five Blog Hop

I've been invited to answer these questions by Debbie McGowan, author of contemporary fiction. Her current titles include the series, “Hiding Behind the Couch,” "Champagne," and "Checking Him Out." Further info and download links can be found on Deb’s website.

What am I working on?
I’m working on a short story for an anthology of Christmas stories due to be released in November. I don’t want to give too much away but I will say it’s a holiday love story but not a traditional Christmas story. Understanding the difficulties many of our gay youth are still facing, despite the strides we’ve made in recent years, I wanted to respect that experience. The story, “The Christmas Present,” reintroduces a character from my most recent release, “The Wheelbarrow,” which is part of an anthology from Liphar Magazine, Liphar Short Stories Vol. 1.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I suppose every writer likes to believe his or her writing is “different;” and to a certain extent I suppose this is true—no two writers ever write exactly alike, no two stories are ever exactly alike.  For me, I think my work is different for a few. One difference would be in the diversity of my characters. As a reader , as a black man, as a gay man, I was—still am—sick of the exclusively white heteronormative narrative, in general, and of the white homonormative narrative in gay fiction, particularly in the gay or m/m romance genre. I don’t know what world these writers live in but mine isn’t exclusively made up of one race or another. Neither are the worlds in my books.
Second, while my books are most often described as gay romance that is not all they are about. Sure there are always two men deeply in love but the stories are about more than that love. For example, What Binds Us is essentially a modern day fairy tale of love and romance but that love story plays out against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic in the early 80s.
One reviewer of Unbroken, said she loved the story but thought the book went on too long; she thought it should have ended when the two main characters finally got together. For me that was when their story began. It was watching them cope with careers, and often hostile family members, and raising children and the death of friends that made their story come alive and showed the strength and adaptability of an everlasting love.
Third, I try to tell a good story and to create compelling, memorable characters but for me it’s mostly about telling that story, describing those characters, beautifully. Words, you see are the thing.
Why do I write what I do?
I write what I do because it interests me. I write to give voice to those so often without a voice in gay fiction. I write because there is more to love and romance than swimming through a sea of pale, gym-toned bodies, and having constant sex. I write to help our young people imagine a future of love and acceptance. I write so people like me, people who are different and under-represented in fiction—especially gay fiction—can see themselves, can hear my voice, their voices. I write in the hopes that I will inspire those who are invisible, voiceless to pick up a pen and let their voices be heard, so that at some point their stories—our stories—will be as plentiful and as easy to find as those within the white homonormative narrative in gay fiction.
How does my writing process work?
I hear a lot about writing processes but I honestly don’t really have one. I write when I feel I have a story to tell and I write when I can. Because I work a day job, I write when I can—at lunch time, after dinner. Or I get up in the middle of the night when my husband and the dogs are sleeping. When I’m writing, I write compulsively. I don’t write in sequence but as parts of the story come to me. Once the story is finished, I go back, re-order and edit. I set it aside then in a week or two I go back and read through and make my final edits. I don’t use a beta reader; the first person to read my finished work is my editor. I go through a lot of drafts to get the story as close to perfect as I can before submitting it. By the time I submitted Unbroken, which is 66,000 words and took 9 months to write, I’d gone through 27drafts.

Don’t Forget to Check Out the Other Authors on the Blog Hop This Week

Rick Bettencourt - Rick originally hails from Boston’s North Shore, and is the author of Tim on Broadway, Marketing Beef, Painting with Wine and Not Sure Boys.
L.M. Steel - author of crime thrillers, including the Once Upon a Set of Wheels series.
Shayla Mist - author of M/M Romance, including Only You, Doctor's Puppy Love and Love Rivals.
If you missed Deb’s Fab Five post last week, you can read it here.
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