Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Interview - Part One

Author Interview by A.J. Llewellyn

1.William, thank you so much for your time. I almost don’t know where to start since I have so many questions. You are not only the most prolific writer in the free world, but also the most successful M/M author in the genre. And yet you also write hetero! My opening question would therefore be, which genre do you most enjoy writing?

My answer, I guess, would depend upon one’s (your? my?) definition of enjoy.
If you mean easy, I sometimes think m/f books are easier to write, if just because I get to deal with the pronouns he and she and not just the masculine.
For instance, the following hetero version reads clear enough...
He thought that she was very good looking, but he wasn’t certain whether or not he would ever want get her in bed if just because he had such high expectations that he’d probably be disappointed.

Using just the male pronoun, as required for m/m, you end up withHe thought that he was very good looking, but he wasn’t certain whether or not he would ever want to get him in bed if just because he had such high expectations that he’d probably be disappointed.

This could meanBill thought that Chad was very good looking, but Bill wasn’t certain whether or not he would ever want to get Chad in bed if just because Bill had such high expectations that Bill would probably be disappointed. Or, it could meanChad thought that Bill was very good looking, but Chad wasn’t certain whether or not Chad would ever want Bill in bed if just because Bill had such high expectations that Bill would probably be disappointed.. Or…some other variation thereof. You see what I mean?

Now if you mean turned on, I can get a hard-on from writing m/f or m/m. I can get turned on by an attractive woman or man; the former held me in good stead during my passage through homophobic environments like the U.S. Army where I served (to honorable discharge) for three years.
I guess what it really boils down to is that I enjoy m/m sometimes, and I enjoy m/f at other times. I get bored very easily (shall I blame my Gemini zodiac?), and all-the-time man-on-man sex can get as boring for me as can all-the-time man-on-woman sex. If pressed, of course, I’d probably have to say that I probably lean more toward writing m/m sex, just like I lean more toward m/m sex in the bedroom (or wherever), if just because guys can go at it like rabbits, purely for the pleasure, without all the attending emotional baggage usually required by m/f sex; the latter requiring all sorts of foreplay and afterplay (m/m sex certainly more readily available and less troublesome to get). Although with more and more women readers of m/m, these days (and there are more and more women readers of m/m, these days), emotional baggage is becoming more and more a necessary part of any financially successful plot-line even when writing a sex scene between two horny rutting guys.

2. I have asked other M/M authors this but I am curious to know YOUR take on why – as you pointed out – so many women are enthralled by M/M fic?

I don’t find it strange that what’s good for the gander is, also, good for the goose. I mean men have, for years, been turned on by watching two women going at it, so why shouldn’t women get turned on by watching two sweaty hunks fucking and sucking up a storm?

That said, I think the mental wiring involved in the enjoyment process for men watching two women is a little different from that of women watching two men. Men are more often than not just after a simple turn on; women, at least from what I’ve been able to determine, accompany man-on-man sex with all sorts of accompanying make-believe “surrounds” — like love, long-time commitment, and devotion; they prefer not to see the sometimes reality of two horny studs in heat working up a sweat and exchanging body fluids just to be working up a sweat and exchanging body fluids; rather, they want to believe this sex is between two guys who have courted, fallen in love, and then commenced to fuck like rabbits.

Usually, the best way to spot an m/m book written by a woman is to see what emotional interaction of characters comes before and after the sex. Where a male writer will often just write sex for sex’s sake, women have a tendency to attribute the same m/f emotional parentheses to male-male romances that they do (and want) in their own lives. This isn’t a bad thing for a book, in my opinion, by the way; in fact, it often makes a story-line better by providing a more complete and complex plot, as well as develops male characters more fully so they come off less the automatic fuck-machines most men, in reality, more often than not, are.

Where a guy can sit down and enjoy a one-hand read® (yes, by the way, I do own the registered trademark on that particular phrase), by masturbating while reading about two guys anonymously meeting up in a public restroom, one quickly inserting his dick through a gloryhole, the other guy sucking off the offered dick to a quick climax (wham-bam-thank-you-man!), a woman reader will less likely enjoy that than she will a story about two men who go through a lengthy courting process, love each other, commit to each other, and then screw around with each other, just before they walk off into the sunset, hand in hand, for a happy-ever-after ending.

Women readers and writers have definitely changed the way m/m is written these days, compared to how it was back in the glory (hole?) days of Greenleaf Classics when I and a very few other authors released gay pulp fiction into the world. Then, again, what the hell do I know, except that the random sex of my early novels wouldn’t have made the grade with Harlequin; for Harlequin I had to bulk up my story lines with considerable emotional content?

3.Since you are one of the original M/M authors, which authors in the genre were around when you started? Did you read any of them and what did you think of them? Which M/M authors do you read now?

You know, when I look back — although I assumed back then that I was but one of many m/m writers — there really weren’t all that many of us. Victor Banis was there, of course, having done his major part in pioneering gay literature with a lot of pre-me excellent work, but I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t read and enjoy anything of Victor’s until just recently. I remember Dirk Vanden, Patrick Doyle, Peter Tuesday Hughes, Richard Amory, and Larry Townsend, but only (color me shame-faced), because, even just now, I had to crib and take a peek in the back of one of my file-copy first m/m books to see those authors listed there as having had books available by the same publisher simultaneous with mine.

As far as me reading their books, I didn’t — except for the one and only gay book I did read, at the time, whose title and whose author I don’t remember; I only remember that having read it, I thought, “Hell, I can write one of these!” And I did. After which, I made it a specific point NOT to read any of the works of my fellow authors if just because I didn’t want to be tempted by or accused of ripping off their plots (minor as all plotting was in those days) … or their styles, or their characters…

I’m still reluctant to read the books of my peers for the very same reasons. Of course, these days, I’m contracted to write so many new books, as well as having slowed down considerably from my literary output of the good-old days, that I’m left with very little time to read anything by anyone else but by me.

I have made it a specific effort to read Victor Banis’s autobiography, Spine Intact, Some Creases, just to compare how he remembers the good old days (as we simultaneously lived them). And, I’ve read a couple of Victor’s recently written novels in order to provide cover blurbs for their publicity purposes. I’ve read a couple of other authors for the same reason. I’ve read Laura Baumbach (her Details of the Hunt most immediately comes to mind), because she’s a friend, as well as my publisher at MLR Press.

4. I can’t imagine you having enough room in your brain for anyone else’s words…but this does bring up an interesting point. Do you prefer music with no lyrics to write to? I mean are you tempted to sing along with songs that have words, bringing you right out of a hot scene you’re writing?

I like fast music. The faster the music, the faster I seem to write and type (and fuck) — the faster my thought process seems to operate. Although, now that you mention it, I do seem to have a preference for playing background music that has no lyrics or has lyrics in some foreign language, like in Spanish (Ricky Martin, or the Gypsy Kings), that’ll less likely have me singing along. Having admitted to that, I don’t recall ever consciously not playing any piece of music because I thought its English lyrics would be (or were) distracting. To be quite frank, I find so much of today’s musical vocals so garbled by artists that most seem recorded in some foreign tongue even when they’re in English; I can never figure out enough of the lyrics to sing along even if I want to.

5.I know you get asked this a lot, but since we have you on the hot seat, please tell us anxious readers are you or are you not the model/inspiration for your Stud Draqual character?

Okay, I confess, I did have fun basing a lot of him on me, like his preference for Brioni suits, his predilection for fruity drinks with umbrellas, and his seeming inability to decide whether or not he’s more inclined toward sex with women or with men. On the other hand, Stud is far less experimental, more up tight, and far less daring, as regards sex, than I am or ever was. I was always ready, willing, and able (and still am) to jump into all sorts of situations, feet first (cock first? ass first?), just to experience them, or observe them. Stud is less sure of himself, sexually — as if he’s positive that if he ever has and enjoys gay sex he’ll surely be turned gay forever-and-ever, amen (which — who knows — might very well be the case).

You know it’s funny, but having based so much of Stud on me, I’ve become quite fond of him, leaving me genuinely surprised when so many people, especially gays, just hate him with a passion (mainly because he just won’t admit he’s gay). As if everyone is out of the closet these days and enjoying it more. Not!

6.I ran your name through the Pimp Name Generator and guess what, your pimp name is? Diamondtrim Maltese Clinton. I especially love the last name. In one paragraph, please outline a day in the life of this hot, hung (or perhaps not) pimp.

Well the day in the life of well-hung pimp Diamondtrim Maltese Clinton, these days, isn’t what it once was, and may become, again, in that I’ve recently become chief caregiver for my dear 88-year-old Mum who has had some really major health problems, lately. For whatever the reason, I’m the only one in the family available for her 24/7 — probably because my siblings think my schedule, as a writer, is so much more flexible than theirs.

So, whatever writing and proofing I get done, these days, I usually get done at the computer in the morning, between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., and (writing long hand, which is still my favorite way of writing) during whatever spare moments I can scrounge during the rest of the day. This is actually more of a routine than I’ve ever had. In days past, I wrote only when I felt like writing, which was usually for long run-on sessions (wherein I sometimes wrote two books a month), followed by long periods of my doing absolutely nothing … and/or traveling the world (which I’ve done quite extensively).

7. You neatly sidestepped that one, Diamondtrim. I was looking forward to some amusing sexual anecdote, especially since you’re so well hung. I feel a little…cheated. Developing some serious literary blue balls here. Well-hung pimps usually find some time for you know, funny business, don’t they?

Well (can I see those blue balls, by the way?), there was this time in Sydney, at a party, when this really attractive young man came up to me and said: “Ever since I heard you were hung in London, I’ve been looking forward to seeing it.” And I said: “Well, if you play your cards right, you can see it this evening, since I always carry it around with me.” After which I fucked him in the mouth and ass, only to be told by him afterwards that he hadn’t been referring to the size of my cock but to the three portraits of me done by Brit artist Charlie Pi that were then being exhibited at a London gallery.

8. He was smart though! He waited until after he got to enjoy the real you before mentioning artistic you. I know you just wrote had had published a M/M book set in Australia. Can you tell me anything about it and have you spent much time down under to research this book?

Down under whom? Oh, you’re referring to Oz, are you? You almost had me confessing all sorts of torrid “bottom” affairs.

AJ says: Confess! Confess! We won’t tell anybody! You can also mention any top affairs too, unless bottoming is more torrid stuff to report…

Well, while in Australia, the last time, I decided that I wanted to see these aborigine petroglyphs that were to hell and gone out in the outback, scrawled on some ancient bits of rock.

Don’t ask me why I decide do these things, because I haven’t a clue (except, I usually use “research” as my excuse). One day, I decide I want to climb the Great Pyramid at Giza, the next day I’m in Egypt bribing officials and police to clamber up this huge pile of rocks before dawn, just to be near puking on top from exhaustion. One day, I decide that it would be fun to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, the next day I’m lugging eighty-pounds of backpack through bear shit, so fucking tired I’m thinking it would be a blessing for a bear to come along and put me out of my misery. One day I decide that I want to visit a ruined city in the wilds of Yucatan, the next day I’m looking at crumbling walls so covered by deep-jungle vegetation that they’re hardly discernable, and I’m suffering from irritating crotch rot.

Anyway this proposed little Aussie junket of mine, if taken in earlier times, would likely have required my hiring porters and camels and guides and heading out for a four-day trek. This time, it only required looking around for someone who knew the area and who could drive me there for an overnighter.

I was thinking I might end up traveling with Crocodile Dundee or the likes of Steve Irwin, but I ended up, after dealing with a very businesslike gentleman recommended to me by the concierge at my hotel, with a very attractive guide who looked so young that I didn’t know whether or not I wanted to entrust myself to him in any kind of wilderness environment. In fact, when I asked him his age, it wasn’t to determine if he had reached the age of consent and, therefore, was fuckable, but to see if he was old enough to drive.

Anyway, long story to short, the end result of this truly m/m (as written by a man) story-book adventure was far preferable to other treks I’ve taken. We ended up, at his initiative, cuddling (his having used the tried-and-true but still viable excuse “best way to keep warm” by way of rationalization), for a wondrous night under the Aussie moon — and on one very tight and very muscular Aussie moon (damn, what a horny little stud-muffin he was!)

So, you see why I have top memories of your down-under homeland?!

Humping right along, you can see that I’ve done a good deal of traveling, including to Australia where I’ve visited several times. Each time there, I was fascinated by how many attractive young men there are there (each with his own personal phallic snake), and by how many genuinely poisonous things are to be found there, including snakes of the reptilian variety. I think it can boast all top-ten world’s deadliest serpents, plus other creepy-crawlies/swimmies like the funnel-web spider and the blue-ring octopus. So, it just seemed ready-made for a tale of m/m derring-do, especially when MLR Press began, recently, to have an official distribution outlet for its (including my) books there; kind of my howdie, mate! to all my Australian readers.

9. I…I think I am extremely jealous of Moon Boy, William. Ahem, Anyway, I am Australian by birth and everything you said is true. The thing that has always baffled me is every report of a shark attack down under (the country, not me, or you…though name the date and time William and I will be there) always refers to it as an unprovoked shark attack. As a writer who has delved into the deadliest of deadlies even as we speak, may I ask you, have you ever heard of a provoked shark attack?

As far as the date and time for you to stop by, drop your pants and assume the position? How about tomorrow at six p.m.?

AJ says: I’ll be there!

About the other? Well, I have been called a “shark” on occasion. And, I have attacked, on occasion. And, I have attacked as a result of a blatant come-on, on occasion — which could very well constitute, in my opinion, my having been provoked.

I’m trying to think, though, if — at any time I spent half-naked on any of those many wondrous beaches of Oz — I actually ever saw anyone out in the surf thumbing his nose at a visible shark dorsal fin and shouting, “Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!” Don’t think so!

“Unprovoked” is one of those adjectives like “reporting live from the newsroom”, as if we’ve all expected some dead person to provide us with the latest breaking news. Or, what about Wolf Blitzer on CNN always announcing “urine the situation room”? Doesn’t anyone there ever use a toilet?

As for my Aussie novel SNAKES (newly on the book stands as this interview is published), it’s a rework a heterosexual romance of mine, VIPERS NEST INTRIGUE, which I wrote exclusively for BOOKS IN MOTION when my Harlequin SuperRomances went audio books for them and were selling so exceptionally well that I was asked for an exclusive audio-book addition to my existing list. While the books I did for Harlequin started out as homosexual then were converted to heterosexual (FROM THIS BELOVED HOUR, LOVE’S EMERALD FLAME, LOVE’S GOLDEN SPELL), recently back to m/m for MLR Press (GOLDSANDS, BEYOND MACHU, TUSKS), this one, never did make it into print format and started out m/f.

SNAKES is about some mysterious goings-on at an isolated toxin laboratory in the Aussie outback, during a major sandstorm; snakes on the loose, murder or murderers on the loose, male-male sex fast and loose. It’s the kind of old-fashioned adventure tale — a la, H.G. Rider and Edgar Rice Burrows — that I’ve always loved so well and which you may have already noticed that I enjoy writing more than writing about every-day people, like Harold and Jack (or June), falling in love in some mundane Seattle suburb.




Jeanne said...

All I can think of to say is: "Wow!

Anonymous said...

Oh, that old horn dog! Actually, he's one of my favorite writers, but don't tell him I said so, he gives me enough grief as it is. I just think it's too bad he's so slow with his writing.

Victor j. Banis

Jambrea said...

I agree Jeanne...wow! And AJ!!! Down boy! lol

What a great interview. William is VERY entertaining. :D

Elisa said...

I posted a longer comment but the net ate it :-( I have to fly (literally, I have to take a fly to Dublin) so... I LOVE William, and he knows that. Elisa

AJ Llewellyn said...

Hi everyone,
Thanks for the comments. Wait until you read Part 2. Holy Moly he is awesome!!

Eliza Knight said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing!

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