Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Author Interview: DJ MANLY By AJ Llewellyn

For This Hot M/M Author, Writing is a Necessity ~ Interview by A.J. Llewellyn

1. DJ, how old were you when you first started writing and what were your earlier efforts like?I was around ten I guess. I remember writing this really raunchy soap opera…straight stuff…and cutting out pictures from magazines to paste on the cover. LOL…I’d hate to look at it today.

2. Do you read M/M erotic fiction and who would you say is an influence in your work?The first m/m fiction I ever read was Gordon Merrick’s “The Lord Won’t Mind.” I fell in love with the characters. You know, it’s weird, I don’t read much m/m fiction at all. I have more of a tendency to watch gay films and series. My influences are not gay literature, but literature in general. I would say they are people like Margaret Laurence, believe or not, who knew how to tell a good story.

3. Speaking of gay movies and series, do you have any favorites?
Queer as Folk, The Lair, Dante’s Cove, I have all these. I love Maurice, Pricilla Queen of the Desert, or there are far too many.

4. Your earlier work [I read Brennus' Witch] had a distinctive Yaoi feel to it, but you seem to have moved away from that. Will we see more of it in the future? Do you like Yaoi as a genre?That was clearly an accident. I wrote the book without trying to make it Yaoi. Someone said, hey, that’s Yaoi…and I went really??? You’re asking me if I like Yaoi as a genre, and I’m going to get in trouble here…big trouble…and I guess the surprise is…Not really or only sometimes. I do respect the genre. No one can ignore its popularity. Some of the stories are wonderful. When I read a book, Yaoi or not, and one of male characters is made to resemble a person with some exaggerated, effeminate characteristics, I really don’t like it. Now don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with men who act or dress in a stereotypical female way. I have a problem when the only kind of m/m love accepted is that which mirror male-female stereotypical roles. Now I could go on and on about this and put you to sleep. When I was in graduate school, my dissertation was about gender roles and homophobia. For me, gender is a social construct. There is nothing biological about roles we adopt. I don’t care what roles two men in love adopt but I get the impression that some people only accept m/m literature when one of th e characters adopt the role of female (i.e. helpless, whiny, etc…) Boy will I catch hell for this one…lol…I’m not saying all Yaoi is like that. I also know that in my books some characters are stronger or more dominant than others. But I would hate to think that I consistently give my men stereotypical roles. Enough said.

5. How do you manage to be so prolific? Do you have a set output you aim for every day? What is your writing routine like?Me Prolific? Lol…How do I manage it? My publishers nag me!!! Lol…no, I told someone once in another interview that writing is like breathing to me. I have to do it. So, every minute I’m not teaching, editing, researching, running my business, I’m writing. I do have a partner and he is usually somewhere in the house…lol…I do call him on the cell from time to time. But seriously, I nag myself and if I drag my laptop everywhere and in between clients and classes, I write or edit20or whatever else I have to do.

6. Is it easy juggling so many publishers?
Well, I have four. It’s not a problem.

7. Why do you think so many women readers are drawn to M/M romances?
That’s an easy one, whew…becaus e hetero women love beautiful men! And since I never do anything the easy way, the more complex answer is because they like to see two men in love…two men begin from the same status pedestal (did I say that???). Anyway, it’s fun to watch the fireworks, the sex, the romance. It gets away from Tradition…it’s fresh and new and oh so sexy. (psst, I have gay male readers)

8. William Maltese recently said women writing M/M have changed the genre, inserting emotion into the work. Have you noticed this yourself and do you agree with him?
Yeah, maybe but I think the difference Maltese speaks of is the difference between porn and eroticism. I know some women who write damn hard core porn…but eroticism blends the sexual with the emotional. But I believe a good writer can write just about anything. It’s a gift writing. You must be born with it then you have to practice and perfect it like with any art. I’m going off track, I do that. Women are tau ght to be more comfortable expressing emotion, on paper or off.

9. Where do you get your ideas for stories? Do you day dream? Do they come easily or do you work on ideas over a period of time?
I dream them sometimes or I take a germ of an idea and then let the characters play it out. Sometimes they come easily, sometimes not. I’ve written some stories in a week, others have taken months. Sometimes I stop mid way and start something else. I go back and the ending comes later. That’s hell. I hate that.

10. What books do you like to read yourself? Favorite authors?
I read books for work like English Second Language stuff, sometimes books on the craft of writing, very few books for pleasure I’m afraid.
11. Stephen King once said his muse is a fat, bearded guy who smokes cigars. What does your muse look like?I don’t have one. If I did, he/she certainly wouldn’t look like that. He’d probably be a clown with a big red nose.

12. What are you working on now? Do you work on more than one book at a time? I’m writing a sequel to “So Much More Than Naked” and a new vampire story. 3.

13. What are the publication dates for your upcoming books?
Oh well, I believe Arsenic and Rio at Extasy is coming out sometime in August. I have a trilogy called Love Most Inconvenient at Liquid Silver, I don’t have a date but I’m imagining early august. Melting Ice 2 at Mojo…I have no idea. Brennus’ Witch 3 at Extasy for Halloween.

14. AJ *perks* A sequel to Brennus’ Witch? Yahoo! Okay, DJ, do you work well under pressure?
I guess I’d have to say yes, I’m always under pressure.
15. What is the one thing we will always find on DJ Manly's desk? Coffee, tea. A pen, chunks of paper.

Thank you so much DJ. We know how busy you are. From all of us here at Dark Diva Reviews, keep the passion going!

Visit DJ Manly at


Jade Twilight said...

Great Job AJ and DJ.

AJ Llewellyn said...

Thanks Jade, I had a great subject!


Roberta said...

Good questions AJ, I enjoyed reading DJ's answers. I learned a new thing or two. Great interview!

TamiC said...

Okay I have to know the question is for both of you. I talked to AJ awhile back and just assumed you were a guy, but are you??? Also are you straight? Sorry I just have to know!!! It is a pet peeve of mine not to know information about people. PLEASE PLEASE let me know. Email me the answer. Oh and by the way great interview.

OnetoughcookieTC@Yahoo.Com or TamiCullen@Hotmail.Com

AJ Llewellyn said...

Hi Tamic, I am a guy and nope, I'm not straight!


TamiC said...

Thanks AJ, I had to know! Now I am sad, can't have all those fantasies of you anymore! LOL