Romance author Dan Skinner explores the way relationships work within his novels. He has written many novels, his most recent include Memorizing You and The Price of Dick. Who knew this author/photographer could set the pages afire? His novels so emotionally gratifying and really carry you until the very end.
What got you interested in writing m/m fiction?
I’d been photographing covers for m/m romances and I heard so many of the models stories of romance and the pursuit of romance that I thought were interesting that it actually made me want to write one. I always plan out my shoots like small vignettes anyway so I was telling stories with photography. All I had to do was flesh some of those stories out with words.
How did you begin your career and how did you grow your fan base to be so humongous?
Most people know me as a photographer because I’ve been shooting m/m romance shots for over a dozen years. My fan base took on a different aspect when I began to write because a lot of them hadn’t known me as a photographer. One group always seems to be surprised by the fact that I have done something other than write/photograph.
Why do you think so many women love to read m/m?
I think women like m/m romance because they are internally visual. Which makes me also want to say that I believe they are some of the very best writers of the m/m genre because of that wonderful connection they have between their imagination and words to express it.People who criticize them are so far off base it makes me nuts. The whole concept of being a writer is is extend your imagination into a place it can’t go. Saying a woman can’t write m/m romance because they’re not a man is like saying Stephen Hawking can’t understand space because he’s confined to a wheelchair. These critics better grow up fast and understand what writing is about. (Off my pulpit now)
What are you currently working?
Besides working nonstop on some more shoots I’m working on a super-secret writing project. I don’t tell because I do like to surprise people. One thing I can tell you is that I won’t be pegged writing one type of story. I like to challenge myself and the reader. That’s what’s fun. Especially when someone says… “Well, dang… I sure don’t expect that!”
Tell me about your writing process from idea to finished draft? Do you rewrite to death? Do you outline?
I outline every story from opening to ending. It is plotted to the nth degree before I ever put one word down. I even put post it notes every where about every character and what is going on inside them. I don’t do a lot of rewriting unless an editor tells me that I need to clarify something. I labor over every word in the beginning anyway because I see things like a photographer and want people to be able to visualize them like they were holding the photograph in front of them.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
That’s hard to say. A lot of the stuff that is being seen now I had on the drawing board ages ago and didn’t have the time to do. So I did the outlines back then. When I actually begin to give the story flesh with words can be a several month process.
What advice do you have for those thinking about writing gay romance and what advice do you have for those who are trying to build an audience from scratch?
My advice to any writer no matter what is to speak in your own voice. Write it and then read it aloud. If it sounds like you it will ring true to others. I usually say..if I read it aloud and have to take a breath in between to finish a sentence… it’s too long. On building an audience it’s the same advice.. be yourself… let people know why you’re writing and what you hope to give them. I think honesty is a great selling feature. If you love to tell a story, people will love to read it.