AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT Michael Mandrake
XOXO author Michael Mandrake has stopped by to chat with the JR bunnies about his latest book…
So Michael what is your most current work we can read?
That would be A Second Chance from XOXO publishing
Tell us a little about A Second Chance, what inspired you to write it?
The book is about two police officers who’ve lost their lovers in life and work in the line of duty. I’ve always wanted to write a gay romantic cop story so here we go. Love men in uniform.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
No, I’m a panster but my favorite editor and mentor Sascha Illyvich taught me to do a character arc where I plan out what his role is in the story, his lessons learned, secrets, etc. So these days I do a bit of both.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
Well, I started writing m/f erotica shorts but now, I do mostly m/m and a tad of ménage. I don’t do a lot of m/f anymore but I’m looking to get back into it slowly but surely.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
They’re all like my babies, friends, tormentors. *laughs* My fave right now is the character from A Second Chance Daniel Declerc. He’s hilarious, a smart ass, and in control. Very manly despite his femme look.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
I’d have to say the character from my Binding Justice novella in the Bound for Romance anthology, Sire Jacobs. He was tough because he gave me this whole spiel about how he missed his wife who died from cancer but he wanted to try dating a man now. Confusing! He didn‘t want to forget her. Eventually, he ended up being happy.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
They all take on facets of my personalities. The issues that I face, they most likely will do at some point of the story. Recently I started getting very interested in the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and the wrongs behind it. My pseudonym, BLMorticia, picked up on it and we now have a series due to come out with Rebel Ink press next year.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Balance! I want to write all the time. At night, during the day but I have a husband and family. Some days, I spend too much time away from them. I realize this is something I have to correct as I get more seasoned.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
Hmm, that I really am normal? *laughs* I mean, despite what I write and the fact I have a triad of personalities; I am a pretty normal gal. I have things I love, I’m a mom, a wife and I’m not naughty 24-7.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Um, I watch some kid TV like Nickelodeon but I have kids so it works!
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
A glass or can of Coca Cola, some music and I must have quiet around me. No kids running, TV blaring.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Yes it does and several of my stories have a theme song. The best example I can think of is my novella in the My Sexy Valentine, anthology, Only When I Lose Myself. The story is about a young man with AHAD that’s become the target of affection for a famous musician. It was basically about that guy, having issues with dropping everything for the relationship.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Oh boy, Loaded question. I always pick models for all my tales when I start planning the story. For my latest, A Second Chance my models are musicians John and Roger Taylor (unrelated) from Duran Duran. I don’t know if they’ll take too kindly that I made them a gay couple. *laughs*
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
At home. The first person who knew was my 3 year old because she was sitting at the computer with me. Then she was only 2 so she was wondering, why the hell is mommy screaming? It was for a short story through STARbooks press, The Wretched: The Tales of Lust, Liquor and Cannabis in the Rock and Roll Over, anthology.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Um, I’d say about 15. I believe it was Fern Michaels or Danielle Steele
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
At the moment, Sue Brown, Remmy Duschene, Blak Rayne, and Tara Lain are my favorites. There are many more but they are the tops of my list.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
Ugh, don’t have one yet but I will soon!
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
Well, about 6 different stories and much more in the WIP/Synopsis file. Right now, I’m finishing my novel, the sequel to my first novelette, The True Meaning of Love. It’s a more complete work than the first. I’m very proud of it.
In the wings is a short for Michael called, Benefits of a Strike for XOXO as well as Vertigo from Sizzler. BLMorticia has My Lieutenant from Rebel Ink Press, and BL and Rawiya have Something New on the Menu series from Naughty Nights Press coming in November.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
*laughs* I already co-write with all my pseudos. (joking) Um, well, Blak Rayne would be one, Cassandre Dayne another and my third person might be Remmy Duschene because I love his writing and he likes IR romance like I do.
How do you pick your characters names?
Go to the baby names site and a surname website.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
Steady growth throughout even though the sequel to True Meaning pretty much has that love at first sight.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
Ignore them because it is a real career and I’m a real author. Not only do we have to get our facts straight we also have to keep our love scenes interesting and fresh. A lot harder than just writing some b**lshit about fairies or vampires.
Where can readers find you?
The Literary Triad – http://www.thelitriad.com/#!
Michael Mandrake – http://tabooindeed.blogspot.com
Rawiya – http://rawiyaserotica.blogspot.com
Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/rawiyamikembl
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3542690
Its Raining Men Blog – http://rainingmenamen.blogspot.com
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?