Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Author Interview: KIERNAN KELLY

Author Interview by A.J. Llewellyn

1. Hi Kiernan and welcome to the Dark Divas’ Den! You are very prolific, but my first question would have to be about your new book, Outland, which has had great reviews. It’s also an interesting subject matter. You tackle gay love in the bible belt and, something I find absolutely fascinating, your two leads are in their 50’s! You don’t see that much in gay erotic fiction. Where did the idea come to you for this book?

Hi, and thanks so much for the opportunity to interview here! The characters in Outland, Hank and Beaver, were inspired by a pair of real life partners I met two years ago during the Gay Days convention in Orlando. The men were older, in their late fifties or early sixties by my estimate. They stopped by my table and when we got to chatting, I discovered they’d been together twenty some-odd years. I remember thinking how awesome it was that they’d remained together for so long, and wondering about the challenges they must have faced in their lifetime, and how interesting it would be to base a pair of characters on them. The opportunity arose when I sat down to write Outland.

I realized when I wrote the book that using a pair of silver foxes was taking a chance (I’m as guilty as the next writer of using hunky stud muffins as my characters), but truthfully, I think there’s something incredibly sexy about mature, experienced men. I don’t think my readers were disappointed.

2. Your reviews always say that in spite of the high ‘heat’ level of your books, that your story development is excellent, that you don’t have your characters jumping into the sack on page one. Is this a deliberate choice on your part?

Absolutely. I think that if the characters have the time to invest emotionally in one another, then the sex is hotter and more fulfilling. Plus, I like the reader to feel like they’re right there in bed with the characters, and the only way I’ve found to do that is to vividly describe the setting, and let the readers inside the characters’ heads before diving between the sheets.

3. Are any of your stories based on your actual experiences?

I haven’t written any “true” stories, but I’ve often pulled bits and pieces from my life, experiences, and my personality and infused the stories with them. The character closest to being me is Beaver from Outland. The dedication in the book reads, “This book is for my husband. He tolerates my odd hours, encourages me always, and most of all, believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself. Hon, we are Hank and Beaver.” It’s true, we are, right down to the aching joints and gray hair. LOL

4. I know you live in Florida. Whereabouts and are you juggling a dreaded day job as well as your prodigious output of fiction?

I’m in Central Florida, land of the Mouse. I love it here, actually, even when it’s six degrees hotter than hell. I even love the kitschy tourist traps. I was fortunate enough to be able to leave my day job two years ago to write full time. Believe me, writing is the hardest, most time-consuming job I’ve ever held. I put in far more hours at my computer now than I ever did when I worked a day job!

5. As far as I can tell all your books are published by Torquere Press. How has your experience been with them and will you be working with other publishers soon?

Actually, while my novels are all held by Torquere, and I’ve written numerous short stories for them (and will continue to do so as long as they’re willing to publish them!), I’ve also written shorts for several other houses as well, including Cleis, Starbooks, Aspen Mountain Press, MLR Press, and coming soon, Circlet Press.

My experience with Torquere (pronounced “Tork-AH-ray” by the way) has been wonderful. They took a chance on me when I wrote my first title, Riding Heartbreak Road, and have been instrumental in helping me develop my craft.

6. There is a raging debate on the web about women writing gay erotic fiction. Do you think it matters and can you personally tell if a book’s been written by a man or a woman?

Personally, when I pick up a book to read (which I do often, having always be an avid, near-rabid reader), it never occurs to me to question the plumbing of the author. All that ever matters to me is the story. If it’s good, I treasure it, and look for more by that author. If it’s bad, I put it behind me and move on. I think that gay erotic fiction is the only genre where people seem to question whether the author has an “innie” or an “outie.” In my opinion, a good writer should be able to get inside anyone’s head, -- male, female, gay, straight, or other.
That said, I can’t always tell who wrote what. It depends on the person’s writing style. I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I’m a woman. People who haven’t read my webpage, or any of my interviews still often address me in emails as “Mr. Kelly.” I take that as a compliment.

7. You have a fondness for ice cream (even if crazed supermarket workers like to challenge your determination to eat it – yes, I read your blog!) what do you eat and/or drink when you’re writing?
Coffee. I’m a diehard coffee drinker. I would set up an altar and worship the beans in Starbucks if they’d let me.

Wow, you read my blog? Thank you! Yes, that was some adventure I had trying purchase ice cream at Publix. Sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh, or go crazy, you know?

8. I know what you mean! Kiernan, do you read much and which authors and what genres do you enjoy the most?

I am a voracious reader, always have been. I ‘m pretty eclectic, too, reading everything from horror, to romance, to thrillers, to historicals, both straight and gay. As I said before, what really matters to me is the story. I love Stephen King, especially his early work, when his novels were set in or around Castle Rock. I adore Jean Auel and her Earth’s Children series. I would read Sherrilyn Kenyon’s laundry list. I loved Milton Stern’s On Tuesday, They Played Mahjong.

9. As an author, which words or phrases do you find you most overuse?

I am forever looking for new and inventive ways to say “penis,” without resorting to stupid euphemisms like “greased love pole.” Seriously, there are only so many times you can use the word “c**k” in a paragraph, particularly when both parties involved have them.

10. How old were you when you learned there was no Santa Claus? How upset were you?

Wait…what? No…oh, no.

Seriously, I was eight when a horrible boy (whom I hope grew up to have terrible acne and is still a virgin living in his mother’s basement) in my class told me. I didn’t believe him.
Still don’t.

11. Another tough question: What was your favorite toy growing up?
My absolute favorite toy when I was growing up was a ratty old pair of roller skates. Mind you, this was before rollerblades -- these were bare-boned, metal skates that had a key that you needed to use to make them fit over your shoes. My parents’ basement had a tile floor, and I had a ball skating around down there like it was my own private rink.

12. Please tell me about your upcoming books.

My next novel releases in October, I believe, from Torquere Press. It’s the second book in my In Their Own Skins shapeshifter series, called The Mark of Cain. This one picks up several years after the first book ends, and continues the story of the shapeshifters at the Shifting Sands Ranch. I’m also working on a pirate novel, a vampire novel, a young adult series, and plan to begin writing a sequel to Seti’s Heart this fall.

13. If you weren’t a writer, what talent would you most like to have?

In an alternate universe, where I was not a writer, and was thin and graceful, I’d be a dancer. I always wanted to learn to dance, especially tap, but considering how clumsy I am, how uncoordinated (I barely qualify for having opposable thumbs at times), and how frequently I trip over my own two feet, the chances of my being a dancer have always been slim to none.

On behalf of Dark Diva Reviews, I’d like to thank Kiernan Kelly for stopping by today. To learn more about Kiernan's work, please check out these links:



Unknown said...

I have to agree with you on mature men being sexy!

As much as I love lots of hot sex, when written well, I have to also agree with the need to build a story and romance between the two. If you jump right into sex on the first few pages, it takes away from love and romance.

Great interview, AJ!