I’m so excited to have one of my favorite guys here with me today. When I first met Hank Edwards it was through my my friend, Em Woods and the Story Orgy crew, and I thought he was one of the coolest souls I ever met. We started chatting on FB and I blazed my way through his awesome backlist. It wasn’t long before he became a big impact on my writing (he is a genius at writing subtle but amazing humor into scenes) and then my friend. Since I don’t live in Michigan and can’t just drop by to have a beer with him, to bitch about the Evil Day Jobs or watch a marathon of “The Walking Dead” – this is the next best thing.
1. Set the scene for us, where are you and what are your three favorite objects within arms reach.
I am sitting in my home office, feet up beneath the desk, birds at the feeder outside the window. My three favorite objects within reach are: both of my cats huddled beneath my chair, Riley the bruiser tabby and Emma the petite black domestic longhair, as well as a carnelian crystal given to me by a good friend, which provides protection, eloquence, and sexual energy. ; )
2. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why?
Oh boy. I try so hard, so very, very hard, to be a plotter. But every time, no matter how much I plot it out, the characters start acting completely differently and suddenly the story becomes something else entirely. So, most of the time, I’m a pantser, and I’m okay with that because, you know, life is lived by the seat of our pants, shouldn’t books be written that way? You need a starting, middle, and end, but along the way who knows what’s going to happen!
3. How often do you write and do you keep a set schedule?
I usually write on the weekends. In the summer it’s easier to write in the evening because I’m a big TV addict, so I watch a lot of TV fall and winter and spring. Been trying to cut back on that, though. Mostly I write in the mornings on the weekends. Some days I come home from the EDJ and am able to sit down and write, but not on a schedule.
4. What is your celebratory treat for finishing a book?
My man cooks a wonderful meal, we open a good bottle of wine and talk about it.
5. For the sake of this question, your best friend is single, which one of your heroes would you set him up with?
Oh, that would have to be Sir Gerard Fogg. He’s handsome, strong, loyal, brave, and willing to cross time for the one he loves. Sigh …
6. Why do think romance/erotica novels are so popular?
Escapism. Every one is pushed to their breaking point these days and we are all plugged in with mobile email and social media and being available 24/7, it’s exhausting. A good story with a bit of romance, a dash of sex, and a feel good ending goes a long way toward easing that stress.
7. You have an Evil Day Job (EDJ) too, what kind of support do you have as an author to help you with your website, e-mails, promotion and all the other non-writing parts of being a successful author?
My partner helps me with the graphics for promotion materials and banners for my Facebook pages and websites. I hired a friend of his to build me a website in WordPress and it’s easy for me to update. Emails and travel and things like that I handle on my own, so many days it feels like I have two jobs, but I love this second job. Lots of energy swirling around my writing these past two years.
8. Writing sex scenes – agony or ecstasy?
Just like having sex, I need to be in the mood. When I’m in the mood, it’s amazing. When I force myself to write them, it’s agony. A lot of time I’ll do the “XXX” trick, marking the spot in the book and come back to it when I’m feeling a little more feisty. ; )
9. Briefs, boxers or commando?
Briefs at the EDJ, commando most other times.
10. If you could go anywhere to research your next book – where would you go?
My first thought is always Greece, but there’s so much turmoil over there right now. Instead, I would go with Italy, France, and England – the European trifecta.
11. What is your favorite word? Your least favorite?
Favorite word: conundrum. Least favorite word: then (I use it too much!)
12. You write a weekly short story/chapter for the “Story orgy” group. How does that fit in with your “regular” writing?
It steals a lot of time from my regular writing. But I’ve been revamping several of the stories published on my blog and submitting them to publishers. “Hired Muscle,” which started as a Valentine’s Day single post and then grew to a serial post, is coming out July 7 from Silver Publishing. Some times I take a week to get some posts written ahead of time and then use the free time to work on other writing.
13. What is your idea of the “perfect” romantic evening?
A nice dinner out so my man doesn’t have to cook, some good wine, a stop at a gay bar in our neighborhood for a cocktail, then home to the cats and some bossa nova music on the stereo. After that, maybe some nice, slow, smexy time, or just cuddling together as we fall asleep.
14. My understanding is that women make up a large number of the readers of m/m romance and erotica. Why do you think that is?
I was very surprised by that fact myself. I think they are drawn to the unique stories, and the fact that two men, two strong characters, falling in love and trying to make it work, is fascinating. Plus, just like straight men are turned on by two women together, straight women are turned on by two men together.
15. What are your strengths as a writer? What areas are you still working on?
I think I write comedy and suspense well. Areas I’m still working on are depth of view, different character “voices” and behaviors, and expanding my repertoire of characters. Always try something new with each book.
16. What is your best advice for pre-published and newly published authors?
Be open to all feedback. Ask for suggestions and don’t take the responses personally. And never, never, never throw a temper tantrum on social media or a blog post. There will be good reviews and bad reviews, don’t take either type personally. Find one or two friends you trust with your raw, undercooked writing and beta read for each other. One other trick: read your work out loud. You’ll hear the awkward sentences and weird phrasings really well that way. Last bit of advice: write what you love.
Hank Edwards is the author of the hot and funny Charlie Heggensford series: Fluffers, Inc., A Carnal Cruise, and the Lambda Literary Award Finalist Vancouver Nights, all available from Lethe Press. He has other books available from Loose Id: the thriller Holed Up and sequel Shacked Up, time travel romance Destiny’s Bastard, and romantic comedy Plus Ones. His self-published vampire and zombie Old West novel, Bounty, and short story collection A Very Dirty Dozen, are available at Amazon, Smashwords, and All Romance eBooks. Every Monday morning Hank posts free m/m reads as part of the Story Orgy, a group of writers who have banded together to deliver hot, heartfelt reads. The group has published three anthologies over the past year: self-published titles And the Prompt Is… Volume One, And the Prompt Is… Holiday Edition, as well as Word Play, which was published by Breathless Press. Hank lives in a suburb of Detroit with his partner of more than 15 years and their two cats. Find out more at www.hankedwardsbooks.com, or www.facebook.com/hankedwardsbooks. You can also follow him on twitter @hanksbooks.
Tiny taste of the upcoming Shacked Up, available June 5!
Buy link: http://www.loose-id.com/Our-Authors/Hank-Edwards/
FBI Special Agent Aaron Pearce is recovering from his injuries suffered while on assignment in Detroit, stuck in the offices of the FBI running database searches for agents in the field. He is bored and edgy, and takes it out on those closest to him, including Mark Beecher, who lives with him.
While Mark cannot deny the heat between them, he struggles to find his place in Washington, DC, and in Pearce’s apartment. When he notices a car following him back and forth to work, he panics, certain it’s the terrorist mole Robert Morgan who escaped them in Detroit.
As Mark and Pearce try to identify the driver, Pearce is drawn into an investigation concerning the disappearance of data cards from government employees. His research reveals that the catering company where Mark works may be at the root of the thefts and, when the company is booked to cater a prestigious party, Pearce realizes it is the perfect setup for an undercover operation.
He doesn’t think twice about disobeying orders to stay out of the field, and risks not only his career, but his life as well, to join Mark in an undercover operation that will change their lives forever.
Pearce got out of the car, pulling the milk, his workout bag, and suit out with him. He had enough to deal with right now, and things with Mark at that time were solid; they were right. He didn’t miss coming home to an empty apartment, not like he had after Mark had first moved in. Now he looked forward to sharing dinner with Mark, talking with him, digging in a little deeper to understand more about him. He needed to make that clear to Mark, share what he was feeling with him so Mark would know he was welcome in his apartment.
Pearce shook his head as he dug in his workout bag for his keys. It was their apartment, his and Mark’s. The singular was gone now; he needed to realize that.
The sound of a car tearing up the driveway toward him caught Pearce’s attention. The engine revved, startling him enough to step between a couple of parked cars. He was surprised to see Mark’s car speeding toward him. He caught a glimpse of Mark’s face behind the wheel as he sped past: a pale oval, blue eyes wide, mouth a straight line of tension.
“What the hell?” Pearce mumbled to himself and walked after the car, wincing as Mark cut the wheel at the last moment to park in an available space. Pearce stood at the trunk of Mark’s car and watched through the back window as the man fumbled with the door lock. When Mark finally managed to get out and stand beside his car, Pearce tried to lighten Mark’s obvious tension with humor.
“Is there a sale on catering whites somewhere?”
“Do you see him?” Mark brushed past him and stood in the middle of the driveway, staring back at the street.
Pearce walked up to stand beside him and followed Mark’s gaze to the empty street. “See who?”
Mark turned wide, terrified eyes to him. “The red Escort. Morgan.”
Pearce looked from Mark to the street and back again. “Again?” Pearce dropped his belongings, squatted to dig his gun from inside the workout bag, and jogged down the driveway toward the street, Mark right behind him. They looked up and down the street, but there were no cars in sight—red Escorts or other models.
“Same car as before?” Pearce asked.
“Pretty sure.” Mark put his hands on his hips and looked in both directions. “I swear, Pearce, he tailed me through traffic from work. Two cars behind, just like always. He followed me right down our street here. It’s the same car each time.” Mark looked up at him. “I know it was him.”
“Morgan? Did you see him?”
“Not directly, but who else could it be?” Mark looked up and down the street again, then turned to stomp up the driveway. “And of course he’s gone now. I feel like a fucking crazy asshole.”
Pearce blinked and turned to follow Mark, then reached out to put a hand on his shoulder and bring him to a stop. “Hey, I don’t think you’re a fucking crazy asshole, okay?”
Mark dropped his gaze to the driveway and nodded. “Thanks, but… Now I’m starting to doubt myself, so I wouldn’t blame you for thinking I was just seeing things.”
“I don’t think you’re seeing things,” Pearce said. A car turned into the lot, and he realized suddenly how they must look, standing in the middle of the drive, Pearce holding Mark’s shoulder with one hand, his gun in the other. He tucked his gun into the waistband of his workout pants and led Mark off to the side of the driveway. The car crept past, and the young woman behind the wheel gave them a long, uneasy look that Pearce tried to dispel with a friendly smile and nod.
Let’s go upstairs,” Pearce said to Mark. “We’ll settle down and talk about this, okay?”
Mark nodded and walked off to grab his things without a word.