That's right, boys and girls. I'm delighted to host one of my favorite authors here today. I know you'll all make him feel welcome. Now, I have to tell you, when Josh interviewed me at his LJ he made me write my own intro. And I quote “Lynn, I hate writing intros, my own or anyone else’s so, if you wouldn’t mind telling the at-home viewers a little about yourself.” Turn about’s fair play. OK, Josh, tell us a little about yourself.
Ouch. Well, let’s see. I’m Josh Lanyon and I write gay or m/m fiction, usually mystery or adventure with a strong romantic subplot. I’ve been writing professionally for, well, longer than I want to admit to. If you know my work, it’s probably through the Adrien English mystery series. In the last couple of years I’ve tried my hand at spec fiction, publishing Strange Fortune with Blind Eye Books and The Darkling Thrush with Loose Id. I enjoy spec fiction, but it’s got to be the most demanding genre out there, so Lynn you have my utmost admiration.
I feel the same about your tightly plotted and often humorous mysteries.
So, first to the important stuff: (Answer as shortly or longly as you likely.)
a. Coffee or tea?
Hot Earl Grey when I’m writing and Irish coffee on the weekends or when I’m doing a morning of promo.
b. Cats or dogs?
I do like cats a lot, but I love dogs. Usually big, dumb dogs, though it’s been a few years since I’ve had one.
I've got one you'd love, and can have if he tracks mud in one more time.
c. Vampires or werewolves?
Let’s have them fight it out and I’ll take the winner.
d. Boxers or briefs?
On you or me? I’m not sure I fit into either after the holidays.
e. LAPD or FBI?
It depends on my crime and what kind of a head start I have. I do seem to write about LAPD a lot, don’t I?
I have my own theory on that. ;-)
f. Plotter or pantser?
Given the fact that I write in layers starting with a horrendously rough draft and then filling in as I go, I’d say plotter. Certainly for novels.
g. Ravens or writing desks?
Ravens. Every time.
You are a very prolific writer. Please tell my readers a little about your latest publications, and where they can find them. (Shill, man, shill!)
Well, right now the big focus is on All She Wrote, the second book in the Holmes and Moriarity (spelling intentional) series. It’s both exciting and perilous to start out with a new cast of characters after winding up a series that readers were so fond of -- well, you know this! You’ve been there.
This series is about Christopher Holmes, a former bestselling mystery writer who turns forty about the same time his lover dumps him and his career hits the skids. But it’s funny. At least I hope it’s funny. It doesn’t sound funny the way I describe it, does it? Anyway, in true Murder She Wrote fashion, every time poor Kit turns around he’s stumbling over yet another dead body -- to the dismay of his ex-cop (and now more successful mystery writer) boyfriend, J.X. Moriarity.
This time around, Kit -- against the wishes of J.X. -- rushes to the aid of his former college mentor after a series of attempts on her life. So hopefully it’s fun and sexy and mysterious and all that.
(Available from Samhain and Amazon.com today!)
There, now that we have all that sorted, let’s get to why people are really here. What’s the hardest thing about writing m/m sex scenes?
I think after 43 stories (according to the last count), the challenge is keeping them halfway original and meaningful. As a reader I can’t help but notice the sameness to all these scenes in everyone’s work (mine included). As a writer you hope to avoid rewriting yourself again and again -- even knowing that to some extent it’s unavoidable.
Well, it does always employ the same basic parts . . .
What’s the easiest thing about writing m/m sex scenes?
The human factor. If you’ve ever been to bed with anyone ever you have access to the elements that go into writing meaningful and memorable sex scenes. (I mean, assuming you were sober enough to remember what happened.) I hear aspiring/perspiring writers blabbing on and on about male physiology and biology and blah, blah, blah and the fact is that the only stuff that really resonates with readers -- male or female -- has to do with the emotional and sensory details -- and that’s all universal. Touch, taste, smell, sound…a little bit of personal experience can go a long way if you’re willing to remember and explore those memories.
Are you hard or easy?
Hard. Very hard. So they tell me.
What is your writing space like? What do you need around you, or not around you? One thing I’m often asked is what kind of music I listen to while I write.
My office currently looks like it was ransacked by Mongols. If I have to, I can work anywhere, but I prefer a comfortable chair -- support for my wrists is key -- and I’m better able to focus if things are halfway tidy. Most important is having no one around to interrupt. My ability to work through any and all distraction has faded with time. I like music -- and I’ll try and match the music to the mood of what I’m writing -- but TV distracts me too much now days.
If you had to choose another career, what would it be?
I’d like to think it would be something dashing and romantic, but I’d probably teach. I taught for a number of years and I did enjoy it. Teaching is not something you do lightly or half-heartedly though. It’s a vocation, not a job.
As a fellow former/sometimes teacher, Amen, brother.
Please solve the following equation (scrap paper allowed but no calculators): A + B = C , where A = first pet’s name and B = mother’s maiden name, and C = your porn name.
Sassy + Mileur = Sassy Mileur. I sound like a French stripper. Ooh la la!
Please tell us a bit about your development as a writer.
Holy crap you ask hard questions! ;-) Well…lemme think. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but it’s only really in the last few years that I’ve become what I consider a decent writer. I think it takes a while and a certain amount of living before you have anything worth writing about -- and I think that’s true regardless of what you write. I think I always had a knack for turning a phrase, but I think these days I have something worth saying, and that’s a different thing altogether.
Also, it takes time and a fair bit of writing and reading to be able to look really objectively at your own work. We all start out a little arrogant about our art -- even when we’re insecure. I was lucky in that I had a number of editors work with me before I was really publishable. I didn’t listen to them at the time (quite the opposite, in fact) but later when I grew up a little, I thought about things I’d been told and they began to click.
I think what happens is you start out thinking you know it all, then you realize you know basically nothing, then you get to a point where you do really know a lot. It’s not quite full circle and you have to go through that painful realization that your work is shit before you can get anywhere. Very honestly, most writers never manage to make it to the point of realizing their work is shit -- so they remain mediocre. Assuming they remain at all.
Do you/have you participate/d in writing groups? If so, what do you think makes for a successful group, besides bad coffee in flimsy cups?
But the secret IS the bad coffee. It’s only after you’ve spilt boiling coffee in your lap a few times that you can understand what it is to really suffer for your art.
I’ve participated in many writing groups. I like writing groups, as a matter of fact. If you can get the right blend of people -- and you’ve got someone in charge who can keep the focus positive and productive -- it can be a great experience. Even if everyone doesn’t manage to reach publication, a good writing group can keep the pleasure of writing and creating alive. That’s worth a lot right there. A bad group is worse than no group, though.
Do you believe in love? Do you believe it’s true? Do you believe in love? (Oh, you can bet I believe it, too.) Name the musical group and answer the lyric. Extra points if you answer in “a b a b” rhyme structure.
Oh I believe in love
It cheers me when I’m blue
It flies just like a dove
And lands me in the goo.
(I know, I know. It’s a gift. Now I can’t remember the question.)
Bonus Question (50 pts): You mentioned in your blog that you love Maine. As a native Mainer, I must ask, what’s your connection? Do you know, without Googling, what “Dirigo” means? Can you identify and pronounce “Wytopitlock”?
You know, my ideas of Maine are totally romantic and book-based. It just seems like a place I’d love to visit, and I set a lot of stories in places I’d love to visit. Assuming I ever stop writing long enough to leave the house I’m going to come to Maine and visit you and you can show me your Wytopitlock.
Really now, sir!
So Dirigo is Latin and it’s your state motto. Alas, I totally had to look it up. I actually thought it was a small fishing boat.
Wytopitlock is, as everyone knows, a small series of narrow locks by which the fishing dirigos move from lake to lake along the coast of Maine.
Close enough. Half credit. This will be graded on a curve.
I hope it’s a bell curve and not a bell jar.
Thanks, Josh! I hope all my readers enjoyed that as much as I did, and will ask you lots of good questions. As for me, Amazon.com just delivered the e-book of All She Wrote just now, so---- gotta go!