Today I get the pleasure of having Damon Suede visit my blog. Yaaay! As always there giveaway of bookie goodness at the end. Dbl yaaaaay! :D
Hi Damon! Welcome to my Place. Come in, come in, please, make yourself comfortable. I’m so excited that you’re here. *smiles* Thanks for coming to sit and chat with me.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Texas and moved to New York City as soon as I could save myself. I’ve been writing for a living for 20+ years, but my first gay romance (Hot Head) came out this past June. I wrote Hot Head in six weeks and Dreamspinner bought it in two days. Shocked the hell out of me! Most of my day-to-day work is scripting film and theatre, so I come to M/M with a long track record in putting words on the page, but a relative newness to the world of penning romance. I love reading romance of all stripes, but when someone finally kicked my butt and urged me to write my own, I found the experience insanely liberating… so much so that I’ve built M/M writing into the rest of my writing schedule. My amazing boyfriend and I have been together for 10 years and pretty much live exactly the lives we always wanted. I feel unbelievably lucky, most of the time.
Tell me about your current book.
My newest book is a science fiction novella called Grown Men coming from Riptide in October. This story is the second “transmission” from the HardCell Universe and it’s about planetary colonists thrown together on the edge of the galaxy with the threat of corporate assassination hovering between them.
Both my heroes have pretty rotten pasts and hopeless futures. And they’re trying to survive despite HardCell Corporation’s domination of the galaxy and their individual lives. So in a lot of ways, Grown Men focuses on the ways paranoid people learn to trust (and to love) in the face of horrific pressures and murky agendas within and without.
How has it been working with Riptide?
Wonderful. Riptide has gone above and beyond to include me as part of their “First Wave” and to give me the freedom to make Grown Men all it can be. Out of all the “First Wave” Riptide authors, I’m the least experienced in the M/M genre, and I feel deeply honored that they wanted me on board at the start. They pursued me ardently and made it clear that they aimed at something exceptional. The entire enterprise has proceeded with a dynamism and rigor that I find wildly stimulating.
In practical terms, Riptide’s dedication to marketing, editorial, and promotional challenges has impressed the hell out of me. The thing is, Aleks, Chris and Rachel understand the business of publishing; they’re also passionate fans of the genre as well as hardnosed pragmatists about the current challenges. They bring enormous experience, expertise, and enthusiasm and I cannot wait to see what they will accomplish. They have no interest in producing “more of same” for the genre and they keep going the extra mile: with editing, artwork, and personal support tailored to each of us.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Y’all should read Grown Men because it is a subtle sci-fi story with sexy three-dimensional men inhabiting a tactile world unlike anything you’ve visited before.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
At the moment, I am about halfway through a steampunk zipper-ripper called Spring Eternal set in a reimagined 1880s Manhattan of the mind with all kinds of nefarious mayhem. It’s a full-length novel, so I’ve really taken my time setting up an alternate Gilded Age world and mythology that hangs together seamlessly. The research has made my characters so much richer and more seductive. And the world has started to move under its own steam and blossomed into this florid, delirious fairytale. Not what I was expecting when I started, but I’m very stoked to see how it all comes out. It’s quite different from Grown Men or Hot Head, but very much in my voice; I think people will be pleased.
As soon as that’s put to bed, I’ll be finishing Hard Head (sequel to Hot Head) which tells the story of Tommy a self-destructive paramedic we met in the first book. Tommy has turned out to be a pretty pushy character, so I’ve been chipping away at this one for a while already… mainly in frantic bursts completed at 3am. But in the next couple months I’ll be able to sit down and get to work with Griff and Dante and all my FDNY Hot Hookers and find out what happens next! I cannot wait to find out. :)
What kind of research did you do for the book?
I probably read about 600k words in books and articles to prep this story and build out the HardCell Universe properly. I read fast (about 1200 wpm) so research is often a palliative for me when I’m first getting into gear. Here’s a sampling of the topics living on my computer for Grown Men:
§ The HabCat project and the search for habitable star systems
§ Terraforming, stellar migration theories, primal planetary geology
§ Cloning, both current and theoretical, as well as fertility technology
§ Genetic design and “branded” agriculture
§ Eel biology and eel processing
§ Growth cycle and harvest for soybeans, lentil, mangos, palms, kudzu, etc
§ Tropical flora and fauna & island geography/seismology
§ Plankton, krill, and deep sea ecosystems
§ Tofu production and processing equipment
§ Beekeeping, apiaries, and Bee biology
§ Moth biology and bioluminescence
§ Pheromones and reproductive triggers in humans and other large mammals
§ Sonic technology both in tools and weapons
§ Deep mining and mineral processing facilities
§ Prison colonies and the history of indentured servitude
Funny thing: folks reading Grown Men probably won’t even notice 90% of these topics as present, but they’re bubbling under the surface.What they do is shore up the inventions with a ballast of reality. I needed to get comfortable with these topics so I could give the characters a world to inhabit.
Obviously I tend to be a completist about things, but one of the things my readers often praise is the three-dimensional quality of my worlds. This kind of immersive research is a habit I picked up working in theatre and film for so long. Once you know the specific answers, fleshing out the world around your characters becomes incredibly organic and simple. I never have to worry if I got something right because I know I’ve gone and found out the answers before I started telling the story.
Have you ever been surprised by the reaction to one of your books?
When Hot Head first came out, I was surprised at people who seemed to think the book happened by accident. Not all, but a couple. Every once in a while a reader would say, “The author didn’t realize that…” or “Suede inadvertently used this word...” as if the book had somehow passed through my fingertips like dictation with minimal input from me. I know that the writing process can seem mysterious to readers who don’t write, but in my entire writing career no one had ever asked me (in effect) who had written my book the way it was written.
I obsess about my writing and approach it with deadly gravity. I literally lie awake at night thinking about commas and semi-colons and metaphors. I agonize over word choices for hours and will harass my boyfriend endlessly about phrases and terms. I research compulsively down to atomic detail… killing myself with reams and reams of facts and cross-references to make sure I get things right. If people could see how elaborate my preparation and revision process is, they’d probably put me in a nuthouse. Any mistakes that slip through inspire endless self-torture. The idea that – OOPS! – some component of the book happened by chance seems so hilarious to me.
Nothing about writing is an accident. At best, The Muse is kind and inspiration visits you while you’re creating something. But there’s nothing arbitrary or random about writing a book. Writing can kick your ass! I can’t imagine slopping my way through a big project and I’d never give something half-assed to my readers. There is nothing inadvertent about authorship. Intention is all! If you hate what I wrote, I bear that responsibility and if you love it, ditto. Does that make sense?
What inspired the book?
Grown Men grew out of a photograph posted on the goodreads M/M romance group. I loved the crazy disparity between the men’s sizes and immediately wanted to know what world they could live in as a couple. LOL The story felt like sci-fi, and seemd to warrant compression; so I kept it to only two characters marooned in an isolated tropical setting. Seed planted: Grown Men!
Do you have any hobbies?
Hrrrm. Well, I go two-stepping every weekend and used to participate actively in the gay rodeo circuit. I collect orreries and stone spheres and awful films. Actually, I host regular themed Bad Movie nights in my loft and invite friends over for popcorn and snarky commentary. I ski more rarely than I wish I did. I travel a good deal and see a lot of film and theatre for work but I think those count. I read compulsively and buy books likewise, sometimes going through ten books in a week both for fun and for research. I think that’s a pretty good cross-section. :)
If you came with a warning label, what would it be?
Caution: Likely to offend at some point. Will cause ruptures in narrow minds. Possible side effects: enthusiasm, irritation, arousal, strong opinions. Should not be mixed with assholes.
Who is your favorite fictional villain?
Livia in I, Claudius & Claudius the God.
I love that her villainy serves very practical ends and that her superhuman intellect brooks no opposition. She becomes the anima of Rome for good and ill.
Like all great authors, Robert Graves knows that Capital-E Evil is not an end in itself. People cultivate desires and those desires push them into dark corners. Far more destruction has been accomplished at “good” hands than any of history’s monsters, and history’s monsters never intended to “ruin” anything. Hitler and Stalin believed they were saving the world from ruin, and thereby turned it into an abattoir. Even Tolkien’s great abstract villains are agents of (horrifying) progress and industry. Only sheltered children could believe that a menacing character in black can stand around just wanting to mess things up to no purpose. Desire creates suffering.
Evil has roots. Livia’s cruelty stems from her blistering intelligence and her obsessive need to dominate the Roman Empire. Amazing. She has such a ruthless sense of history that every move she makes situates her contextually; so she knows exactly who and what and when and where she is and refuses to capitulate. That’s rare in fiction and in life. Motivation and ability set the stage for wickedness; Grave’s reimagining of the historical Livia is exceptional by any measure.
If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
Myself. I feel deep and abiding gratitude for my life and its blessings.
*smiles* That was fun. Thanks so much for chatting with me Damon. :D
This week’s giveaway… Any one backlist book from Rachel Haimowitz, Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt, Brita Addams, or Cat Grant (“Frontlist” books, i.e. Riptide releases and newest non-Riptide release, are excluded, as are the Courtland Chronicles).
The fine details...
- This week’s giveaway is for an eBook copy as listed above.
- To enter, leave a comment on this post.
- All commenters will also be entered in end of tour giveaway of AP 3 prize packages. Details here.
- All comments will also be entered in the year-end Riptide grand prize giveaway of an ereader; Kindle, Nook or iPad. Each post commented on counts as an entry.
- Backlist book giveaways do NOT include books released in the last 3 months.
- This week's giveaway doesNOT include Riptide releases.
- Winners will be selected at random using Random.org
- If the chosen winners do not respond to my email within 48 hours, another winner will be selected.
- By entering the contest, you are confirming you are at least 18 yrs old.
- eBook giveaways open worldwide.