Jordan L. Hawk is best known for her novel Widdershins and her Spectr series. Her novels transport readers to a place where characters come alive and bring them along for the ride.
What got you interested in writing m/m fiction?
I read my first m/m book back in the 80s with Mercedes Lackey’s Vanyel series. I sought similar books out whenever I could find them, and of course with the internet it became easier and easier to discover great stories. Since I’d been reading it for so long, I finally thought I would try to write some myself.
How did you begin your career and how did you grow your fan base to be so humongous?
I’m not sure “humongous” is the right word—I’m still a small fry in the gay romance genre. 🙂 I began by treating writing as a career—I started my website long before my first book was out, and I took the time to build up a couple of books before releasing Hainted so I could figure out my writing pace and schedule releases in a consistent manner. I think that helped a lot. But really, when I released Widdershins, I didn’t think anyone was going to read this odd, cross-genre mashup with a scholarly hero. Instead, it really seemed to resonate with readers and get them talking about it. Everything since has come mainly from reader word-of-mouth, so I absolutely owe any and all success I’ve had to my amazing fans.
Do you find that Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration?
At times. One of the things I like is it lets me pin images and ideas so I don’t forget them later, which I would do otherwise. My brain is a sieve!
Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m fiction and how do you think they’d respond?
Everyone I associate with IRL knows what I write, with the exception of my husband’s parents, and that’s only because I don’t want to cause any trouble for him. It’s not something I’m ashamed of or would want to hide.
What was it like to create a story around Percival Endicott Whyborne’s ability to read dead languages?
I really wanted to write a book where the hero wasn’t physically strong, or street smart, or any of the ordinary things we tend to associate with heroes. But he could read just about any book you brought him, darn it! And if you needed something looked up in a library, he had you covered. From the initial idea, things spiraled out of control.
Why do you think so many women love to read m/m?
Studies show that 80% of all fiction readers are women. Even when it comes to genres which traditionally cater to men, such as science fiction and comic books, women are thought to comprise around 45-50% of the audience. In the romance genre, it jumps to 91% female readership. So I think the answer is just that women read a lot of fiction, they read widely, and they have a tendency to like romance. Obviously there are all kinds of individual reasons people prefer to read one genre over another, but when you look at the statistics and combine it with the cultural bias many men feel against reading romance (let alone being associated with anything “gay”), it seems almost inevitable that women are going to make up a large percent of m/m readers.
What was the inspiration for your novel Hainted? What was it like exploring the idea of spirits that have trouble to cross over?
Hainted was inspired by two things: I wanted to write a story set in the area where I’d grown up, as there aren’t many books in such a rural setting. The second was that I’ve been fascinated by shamanism since my days as an anthropology student. So I decided to combine the two! I very much enjoyed exploring the nuances of helping troubled spirits. In our culture, the gods and goddesses who tend the dead are largely looked upon as somehow evil, because death is seen as an evil. I wanted to write about two men serving these goddesses and performing a sacred duty to both the living and the dead.
What are you currently working on?
Bloodline, Whyborne & Griffin #5. I’m also doing research for a new series.
Tell me about your writing process from idea to finished draft? Do you rewrite to death? Do you outline?
For a full-length novel, I take a month to research, investigate the idea and characters, and outline—twice. One is a generic outline, and the other scene-by-scene. I prefer to do as little rewriting as possible! But we all know what sometimes happens to best laid plans! Sometimes it takes actually writing the book to realize an idea which seemed brilliant in the outline doesn’t actually work and needs to be tweaked.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
Approximately three months. Four weeks for research and outlining, six for writing, and two for any revisions. Then it’s off to my editor!
What was it like exploring the supernatural element of John Starkweather’s job as an exorcist?
Fun! I went back to the folklore idea that vampires, werewolves, and the like are conditions caused by demon possession and went from there. I had a great time developing the different types of demonic possession seen in the series: werewolf, ghouls, incubus, and wendigo. It was hard to narrow down my choices at times, the folklore is so rich.
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?
Oddly the advice is the same: be persistent and keep writing books. The more books you write, the better you’ll become, and the easier it will be for your audience to find you.