What do you like most about writing?
Milking stories out of my world. There’s a fantastic Emily Dickinson poem which articulates this perfectly:
Essential Oils – are wrung –
The Attar from the Rose
Be not expressed by Suns – alone –
It is the gift of Screws…
I believe that writing is a gift of screws. Art doesn’t just “happen” anymore than any essence. Writing wrings ichor out of your life so you can share it. I squeeze everything I can out of everything I live. What better way could there be to live than to milk the beauty and pain and hope out of life?
What genre do you write mostly and what appeals to you most about your genre?
M/M romance is my only fiction genre, but I don’t have a preference beyond that. My first novel Hot Head was a hefty firefighter contemporary about love and porn in the FDNY after 9/11. Next I wrote two “transmissions” from the science fictional HardCell universe… a short (“Seedy Business”) about sperm piracy and a novella called Grown Men about terraforming and eel ranching on a corporate combine in Andromeda. Currently I’m in the home stretch on a sprawling steampunk fantasy called Spring Eternal set in Gilded Age New York. And then after that I need to finish Hard Head, the second book in the Head series, which is about blue collar men finding love in New York where they least expect it.
So my only criteria for a genre is that it suit the story that wants to get told. Trust the muse!
Where do you get the names for your characters?
Characters name themselves, almost always. I may try on names and comb through naming guides for inspiration, but I tend to be very superstitious about the process and I never just “pick” what a characters will be called. Sometimes the name evolves as the story grows, but I always know when the name is right because there’s almost a click as it settle into place for all the characters and the world around them.
Tell us about your latest release (s)?
Grown Men is a sci-fi novella and sequel to a short story called “Seedy Business,” which I wrote for the M/M romance group at goodreads. It’s about brotherly betrayal, sperm piracy and a corporate organ heist gone terribly wrong. In that story, a genetically enhanced mercenary named Beirn faced a terrible payback for seriously shady behavior. Disgusted and deceived, his twin brother Ox has vanished for parts unknown.
“Seedy Business” and Grown Men both inhabit a world I’m calling the “HardCell” Universe.” Its characters occupy a galaxy run entirely by large corporations which only confer citizenship upon shareholders who literally invest themselves in their employers. More specifically, HardCell is a multi-galaxy conglomerate which manufactures everything from produce to blockbuster adver-tainment.
Grown Men is the second “transmission” from this world and it tells part of Ox’s story. A solitary farmer marooned in the middle of an alien ocean must partner with this mute, genetically-enhanced giant who may intend to murder him for his stock options and soyshimi harvest. Sultry paranoia throughout and intimacy that’s a little kinkier than my other books. LOL With lovers who cannot fit together, sex becomes an uphill battle! J With all that biodesigned muscle and freaky technology, things need to get a little strange. J
Here's the blurb from my new release today, Grown Men from Riptide Publishing:
Grown Men is a tight two-hander about two farmers marooned on a man-made tropical island, on a planetoid remodeled for corporate agriculture. SO you can expect: rough guys, rugged environment, and a charged attraction between them. Angst and kinkiness!
This novella is the second “transmission” from the “HardCell Universe” which inhabits a slick, paranoid future in which massive conglomerates own entire star systems, cloned employees dream of corporate citizenship, and leisure has dwindled to toxic adver-tainment and sex-resorts. But that probably sounds more serious and grim than it should. Grown Men definitely builds from a place of snarky, satirical humor. Like all sci-fi, the worldbuilding gave me ample chances to play with stuff that’s important to our relationships today.
Seedy Business, the first Hardcell “transmission” about sperm piracy and sibling rivalry gone rotten is available as a free short story from Damon’s website and other e-tailers.
It can be purchased at this link: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/grown-men
These HardCell stories have a dark comic feel to them, but a sweetness too... and as with all my books (as Z.A. Maxfield pointed out) the men feel like three-dimensional blokes.
What are you working on next?
A big ole zipper ripper! I’m about halfway into a fat steampunk novel called Spring Eternal set in Gilded Age New York which has been kicking my butt in dazzling ways. I didn’t even know the story was a steampunk saga until I started writing, and the world just clanked into place under the characters feet! SO crazy when that happens. And because I don’t do anything by halves, I buried myself in research to get the feel right. Like a nutter, I plunked down and reread all of Wharton and Dickens to get the flavor of the slang in my ear before I turned the characters loose and since I started I’ve been hammering through piles of research on late nineteenth century America.
What do you enjoy reading the most?
Books that seduce me utterly! Whether it’s high literature or pulpy trash, I want every book to pull me under like a fever dream My favorite moments reading are when I find myself smiling or nodding or muttering aloud as if I’m literally part of the scene, as if my heartbeat has synchronized with the characters. That may come from a life in the theatre. I demand engagement and vitality from my entertainment. Bold choices! Slogging through bland prose, vague language, and a sludge of recycled clichés makes me want to drink Drano and jump out of a plane while sticking my head in an oven wearing a noose. I can't abide minor-key wishy-washiness. Frankly I’d rather read something spectacularly BAD, than something tepid and regurgitated. Save me from beigeness!
What are you reading now?
The Essential Lenny Bruce, which is a fab biography of the bitter tortured genius-comic. What a life, what a mind, what a wreck! I’m also intermittently making my way through Occult London, which is a kind of travel guide for spots of esoteric interest in that city, and a book on poisons called The Elements of Murder which is a little glib but highly entertaining. For what it’s worth, it’s hard to pinpoint the “now” accurately because my book turnover is so rapid. Yesterday I read Georgette Heyer’s Cotillion, a Judge Dee mystery (The Chinese Nail Murders), and a fascinating history of knots. Tomorrow I’d have a completely different set of titles by way of an answer.
Who are your favorite authors?
n.b. These lists are totally inadequate and completely alphabetical.
M/M romance: James Buchanan, Heidi Cullinan, Ethan Day, L.B. Gregg, Ginn Hale, Amy Lane, Z.A. Maxfield, M.L. Rhodes, Marie Sexton
Non-M/M: Jane Austen, Mikhail Bulgakov, Dumas (father & son), Umberto Eco, Philip Jose Farmer, George MacDonald Fraser, Henry James, H.P. Lovecraft, Gore Vidal,
Gack! I kinda hate making lists of favorites, but I also get why people like them… so I offer these with deep apology to the writers I love that I’ve neglected to mention.
What would you advise an aspiring author?
Write. Write a lot. Write some more. Read everything you can in the genre you choose, but then write every day. Kick your own ass.
Know that writing is not typing. Putting words on a piece of paper is not the same thing as writing, so learn how stories get made, what keeps people reading. Have something to say, and then say it as well as you can. Get better every time.
Is there anything you'd like to tell your readers?
Books don’t happen by accident. Authors are responsible for those words you read. Editors, artists, publishers all build that story into something that can be taken to market.
When Hot Head first came out my biggest shock came from the people who seemed to think I simply transcribed the book as through from dictation. I wrote every word. I made every choice. The book itself didn’t fall from the sky. That means that if I screwed something up it’s my fault, but if I got it right ditto. You might think I’m crazy to mention it, but the misconception persists (probably because of television). Art is a hard dollar. The hours are 24/7 and there are no vacations. So it’s not even a job, and certainly not a hobby… it’s work.
The planning and drafting of a novel can (and should) take MUCH more time than it takes to read. I once had a manager who said that the number of hours you spend on a project should be matched by the number of total hours your entire audience spends time with it, otherwise it’s time to call it a day. I slave over every semicolon. If I miss a typo it literally keeps me awake at night obsessing. I only mention it because sometimes readers seem to forget that a book doesn’t strike like lightning, even to the most inspired author. Even the worst books get written in blood.
How can readers connect with you?
I love hearing from readers. They can get in touch with me at:
Author Name: Damon Suede
Email address: Damon@DamonSuede.com
Website URL: www.DamonSuede.com
Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4656955.Damon_Suede
GLBT Bookshelf: http://bookworld.editme.com/damonsuede
Manic Readers: http://www.manicreaders.com/DamonSuede/