Romance author S. L. Danielson, best known for Love By Numbers and It Started with a Dare, agreed to show some insight into her work. Her novels show she has a knack for exploring the difficulties relationships can face. The emotion shown is enough to keep the pages turning, no matter the time of day!
What got you interested in writing m/m fiction?
What got me into writing this particular genre? Like so many things in life, my imagination collided with my insatiable curiosity. Being from a mostly homogenous (mainly all white) hometown in the midwest, there wasn’t a lot of variety in my world and anything different was shunned. I wasn’t OK with that and started to make up people (different people) in my head and started writing gay men even before I’d even met one! I was 16 when I finally met my first guy who batted for the other team and he helped inspire me to keep the men I made up real, loving, sweet, non-violent, non-abusive, and to do them justice as much as possible. From what my fans and editors tell me, I have succeeded in this goal.
How did you begin your career and how did you grow your fan base to be so humongous?
(Laughs) Humongous? That is awesome to think about that so many have read the words I’ve poured out into my computer and produced a book from my mind. As for how it all got started career-wise…remember the movie Brokeback Mountain? The writer of that was Annie Proulx, and I figured if a 66-yr-old grandma could write something so touching and not be made fun of by her peers, why would a 30-something who wrote the same thing be afraid to let her words be seen too? I dove in full force and have not regretted it for one second.
You write under a pseudonym. Why?
Part of that is for anonymity, which is getting tougher and tougher in this information/spying age. However, the original reason (which is still valid) is that I simply do not like my birth name. It’s never been my favorite, and my mother has told me dozens of times that my name would have been Stephanie. I do not know why she changed it to the name that I ended up with, perhaps a change of heart or whatever…but I truly wish my given name was Stephanie. I respond to it, sign it, and wish it were legal. Perhaps once my folks are gone, it will be.
Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m fiction and how do you think they’d respond?
(Laughs) ya know, 90% of what we worry about has a slim to none chance of ever happening. But this was and is one of my biggest fears for the longest time. Originally I did not want many family members to know, especially a very bigoted uncle, who actually did find out and read me the riot act at a family function. My nephews….one is older and he doesn’t seem to care what it’s about as long as I make money at it, LOL. The younger one I have no idea how he feels. My brothers….meh. The one is not so much a supporter, but the eldest actually asks if I am writing still…which is a huge plus for him! As for my parents…my father (who is a huge driving force in my life) read one of my favorite stories and loved the way I tell a story, but called the characters ‘sick’ as in sick in the head because they are gay. Oh well, can’t win ’em all!
Now I have a fear of future employers seeing it, but that is also waning since I list my company openly on my resume, AND with the support for LGBT gaining steam and acceptance in workplaces, I’m not so afraid anymore.
Why do you think so many women love to read m/m?
I think for the same reasons I write it and read it…to see men being more the romantic that they envision, and nothing gets my juices flowing faster than to see two men sharing that look, that bond, and having their first kiss and making love. It’s sweetness at its peak for me, plus a heavy load of drama. It’s an escape to watch other types of couples go through the relationship paces.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I am working on book #5 of the Ice Fairy series and also a couple new stories that I work on from time to time. I have material dating back to 1988 that has yet to be written in a publishable form; but I will put it out there.
Tell me about your writing process from idea to finished draft? Do you rewrite to death? Do you outline?
My process is sporadic to the extreme. When the inspiration hits, I write like mad. Other times (like lately) I will have dry spells for weeks where I don’t go with writing a single word.
When I do have an idea, I type or hand write it out so it isn’t lost, then build on it from there. I do outline MOST of the time, but lately I have not; I let the momentum carry me through.
As for rewrite, I do tweak things to pieces and used to be the queen of the re-release, which I’ve stopped doing. It’s best to put your best version out there the first time, no matter how long it takes to get to print.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
You’ll love this one. Recently my co-author and I (Nephylim) wrote a 50K page book in 10 days. Now, that’s hardly finished, but wow! We wrote the first 10 books in 18 months time, which is speedy as all hell! It was frantic and we loved every second of it. I’ve always been speedy though. I wrote the original Ranch Hands in two weeks time. When the story hits you like lightning, run with it! Of course, not everything has been fast, again the material from 1988 has yet to be converted. LOL
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?
I say go for it! This is a saturated field but if you have a uniqueness to your men or a specific style you can add, then do it! My hook is that it’s not all erotic and no bdsm at all. I portray sometimes older men, interracial, YA, and am going into more of the menage relationships. (unheard of for me five years ago) but you change and you grow with your comfort level.
Never write for the masses! Don’t go with what’s hot and popular (please do NOT mention that 50 Shades crap to me)!!! I cannot stomach it. Go with what YOU love to write and your style, your voice.