I don't know about you, but I didn't get enough of James when we featured him a few weeks ago. I know I'm not the only one, either. So here's what I did for you (because doing this for someone else sounds infinitely less selfish than doing this for myself): I interviewed him! Check it out and then check HIM out at Stiff Rain Press.
What started you down the road to writing?
Well, to some extent, I’ve been writing in some form or another since around the time I hit puberty. Whether it was poetry, short stories, poor attempts at novellas, I was always trying to capture the whirlwind of emotions events I experienced to paper. Over the years writing has served to help me deal with unrequited love and other times to help expel the demons, by giving them shape and then killing them, lol. Having said that, it was never something that I ever considered as a career. My works were an outlet and meant only to be seen by my friends or whichever lady I was trying to catch the attention of at the time.
Then my freshman year of college, I attended a book signing. Anne Rice was one of my favorite authors at the time and I had greedily read everything from her I could get my hands on. At that point in my life, so much of what she wrote really paralleled some of my own sentiments (I’m speaking of the emotions and view of her characters not the actual content of course), that I found myself almost star struck as I waited to meet the woman whose works touched me so dearly.
By the time I actually worked my way through the line and stood before her, I was for all intents and purposes tongue tied as I couldn’t seem to form the beginnings of any of the clever conversation starters I had played out in my mind. Instead, I mutely handed her my book to be signed, managed to get my name right when prompted and mumbled a thank you as I backed away.
As I drove home from the event, I realized that I really wanted to have that effect on someone someday. Even if I could only touch one person as deeply as I had been, I could die a happy man. So, I set about learning the craft, attending seminars, and of course writing as much as possible to help hone my skills.
I don’t think my writing has reached the point yet where it has as powerful an impact as some of the greats have had on me, but I’m still striving to reach that goal someday.
And how did that lead you to Stiff Rain Press?
Well, a mere ten years after the encounter that sent me down this path, a pair of amazing ladies thought some of my work had potential. They informed me if I was willing to add some more romance and could take some constructive criticism, we could do great things together. Those ladies were Jessica Berry and Leigh Collett of Resplendence Publishing. Shortly thereafter I was assigned my first editor, Tiffany Mason.
I published several books through RP and though most of them picked up some decent steam, the overall feeling was that my works were just too gritty, raw and perhaps even a little too dark, to be very successful among the traditional romance readers (even after valiant efforts by the RP staff to help conform some of my more horrific nature into something less shocking).
Tiffany called me up one day and told me about Stiff Rain and felt that I could really express myself more freely and my writing style would be better received with them. So, I took the plunge and here I am. :D
Stiff Rain focuses on Taboo romances. What taboo do you tend to favor—you know, for publication purposes?
Whew, I’m glad you through in the latter part, I thought I was going to have to oust some of my darkest pleasures for all the world to see. It really depends on my mood, but I really enjoy writing about threesomes and lesbian love. Wait I’m a guy, what do I know about being a lesbian? Admittedly, not nearly as much as all of my lesbian (or at least bi) friends who help me out with research in that department, but it is something I still enjoy writing about.
Are you open about your identity around your hometown?
Oh, absolutely. In fact, some of my earlier works used to have a picture of me on the back page as well. I’m proud of every piece I’ve ever submitted. If my peers and neighbors don’t like what I write, they are more than welcome not to read it.
Will we be seeing other trends from you at Stiff Rain?
Oh, surely hope so. I have several books submitted for editing (the Blood series has seven installments so far), and I’m working on a new “Fairytale” inspired novel, which is a bit of a new direction for me.
What does your average day look like?
Well, I also run my own company, so my average day looks pretty hectic. I am usually at work by 6 am, whether working from home or travelling to one of my client sites. I coordinate efforts of the various personnel who work for me and help solve any problems that seem to arise in at least one site on a daily basis. I knock off work as soon as I can find a suitable stopping spot (which is sometimes not until late in the evening), cook dinner for the family, settle in to write for at least an hour and then read for an hour or so before I go to sleep (which is often not before midnight).
What about the place where you write? What does your writing cave look like?
More often than not, I am kicked back on my favorite spot on the couch, my feet propped up and the laptop on my lap. Depending on where I am in the research process, sometimes I have printouts scattered around me for quick reference. But I’ve been known to write in airports, hotels and even occasionally while lounging poolside.
Some authors use a vivid imagination. Some use action figures. Others employ the services of their spouses. What’s your “positioning technique” and why?
I would have to say I use a bit of all of them, if truth be told. Though I rely most heavily on my imagination, my spouse has often volunteered to be my not only my sounding board but my living model when trying to figure out if the mechanics of a given scene would really arouse the sensations I was hoping to portray for my characters.
What’s the most embarrassing memory you’ll admit to?
Let’s see… perhaps we should hop in the way back machine to prevent incriminating anyone but myself, lol. When I was living in Germany, I met a girl at a dance club in Frankfurt. One thing led to another and she invited me to come back to her house which was a short train ride from the Sachsenhausen district where the club was located and considerable closer than the train ride back to where I was living in Babenhausen. We were already making out as we hit the door and it continued all the way until we arrived at her house, needless to say I was not paying very close attention to my environment at that point. She ushered me quickly to her bedroom and we tossed around clothes around the room with reckless abandon as we undressed each other. We had been going at it for quite awhile when suddenly I hear an enraged male voice screaming form the door in German. I tried to leap from the bed, got tangled in some covers and fell to the floor as he disappeared. I not so calmly asked her what the hell was going on and she also not so calmly explained that it was her boyfriend and we were in the house she shared with him. I jumped up and started searching for my clothes. I had just picked up my jacket (one of those ridiculous waist jackets of the 90s with the flared shoulders and tapered waist, ala Vanilla Ice, when the man reappeared… with a gun. He pointed the gun and proceeded a long diatribe that can be summed up as basically get out. I proceeded to reach for my pants and he pulled the trigger. The bullet it the floor near my pants and a bit too close to my outstretched hand for comfort. He then made it clear if I was leaving without being strapped to a gurney, I was leaving immediately. So, I bolted for the front door and out in the street, where I was promptly faced with the prospect of trying to make it all the way back to Babenhausen with no clothes. I tried to fashion the jacket into a makeshift kilt, but no matter how I tied it, either my ass or my junk was exposed.
My only saving grace was that at the time, I carried my wallet in the inside jacket pocket (a safeguard against pickpockets when hanging out in Frankfurt), so I had ID and cash, but this was before the time of the cellphone. It was well past closing time for any place where I could buy clothes, so I cinched down the jacket as best I could and trekked down to the closest train station for the ride home with as much dignity as I could muster in my airy outfit. Though I received lots of attention, I eventually made it home safely.
How about some fun? Let’s do a rapid fire question. Answer the following in one or two words:
Laptop or Desktop? Laptop
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Favorite TV show? Game of Thrones
Music genre you listen to? Alternative
Favorite mode of transportation? My Harley
Chocolate or Salt snacks? Chocolate
A day on the couch, or a day exploring? Exploring
Vampires or Zombies? Vampires
James, thank you so much for joining us today! Is there anything else about you we should know? Anything you want to tell your readers?
It was my pleasure and I hope you have enjoyed this little insight into my life. To my readers, I would like to give a very big thanks. No matter how much I enjoy writing, at the end of the day, without your interest, none of this would be possible.