Rick R. Reed has written novels that take readers on emotional journeys towards the resolution that doesn’t disappoint. His novels Caregiver, The Blue Moon Cafe, and Orientation won the EPIC eBook award. Whatever he writes next, the pages will keep turning in the hands of his readers.
What got you interested in writing m/m fiction?
I prefer to think of it as gay romance or gay fiction (m/m has its roots in Japanese yaoi, which I’m not sure my work has that much in common with). The reason I write gay fiction is because it appeals to me to tell the stories of my people, as a gay man. I know firsthand the challenges and rewards of being a part of this community and it just seems natural to me to write about gay people since it’s second nature to me. That’s not to say, however, you must be gay or a man in order to write about us—I can think of many great books written by straight women about our community (although, curiously, not so much straight men; I wonder why that is).
How did you begin your career and how did you grow your fan base to be so humongous?
I don’t know if anyone has ever applied the word ‘humongous’ to my fan base and I’m not sure I would either. My modest fan base continues to grow because I continue to write and, I hope, put stories out that make my readers laugh, cry, and think.
My career actually started out as a horror novelist. My first two horror novels (Obsessed and Penance, both still in print) were published by Dell and those did have a pretty big readership at the time (early 90s). But the horror market kind of died out and has never been as big as it was in the 80s and early 90s. Much later, I became interested in telling stories about gay people and exploring their relationships.
Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m fiction and how do you think they’d respond?
I’m an open book (pun intended). Everyone who knows me knows what I write, so that question doesn’t really apply. I’m proud of what I do!
What was it like going from growing up in Ohio to now living in Seattle? Has it influenced your writing in any way?
Although I was born and raised in eastern Ohio, I actually spent most of my adult life in Chicago, so I’m better at answering that question from a “Windy City” perspective. I loved living in Chicago and it was very much home to me. It was also very inspirational for my writing (many of my books are set there).
Seattle is completely different from Chicago—it’s much smaller, certainly, but no less cultured. It also has natural beauty (water, mountains) in abundance. I feel very fortunate to have landed in the Pacific Northwest and have no plans to ever leave. More and more, I’m setting my books here these days (Raining Men, Legally Wed, Hungry for Love, Dinner at Home, and more).
Why do you think so many women love to read m/m?
I had lunch a couple years ago with gay romance mega-book-reviewer Elisa Rolle and I asked her this question, because I figured she was uniquely qualified to answer. She told me that she had always loved reading romance, but had grown tired of the power dynamic of many hetero romances, where the strong man somehow saves the weaker woman, or makes her complete. She fell in love with gay romance because the power dynamic was more equal. That made sense to me. And I hope I’m paraphrasing her right!
What was it like to be interviewed for USA Today? Did the interview bring more readers to your novels?
It was pretty much like any other interview. They sent me questions; I answered them. It’s hard to gauge what effect any interview or review has on sales.
What are you currently working?
I’m just finishing one of the love stories of which I am the most proud. It’s called BLINK and it’s about how life can change in the blink of an eye. It begins in 1982 when two young men’s eyes meet on the Chicago L and they can’t escape their attraction, despite the fact that one of them is engaged to be married. Of course, things don’t work out. Flash forward to present day and one of the young men (now older) can’t really forget the guy from the L. He searches for him on social media with no luck and eventually…. Well, I don’t want to give too much away.
My next romance release will be in September and it’s called HUSBAND HUNTERS. I think it’s a lot of fun. Tears and laughter. I’m working on the edits right now. Here’s the blurb:
You never know where the love of your life might turn up.
When Matt Connelly suggests to his best buddy Cody Mook that they head to downtown Seattle to audition for the gay reality TV show Husband Hunters, both agree the experience might be a lark and a chance to grab their fifteen minutes of fame. What they don’t know is that the show, modeled after HGTV’s House Hunters, will open doors of longing neither expected. For Matt, the secret love he has long harbored for Cody might be thrust into the spotlight. Cody might realize his search for his perfect-forever-man extends no farther than the man who’s always been at his side.
Husband Hunters promises laughter, tears, and, just maybe, a happy ever after.
Will Cody and Matt’s story be one of best-friends-to-lovers—or an outright disaster?
Tell me about your writing process from idea to finished draft? Do you rewrite to death? Do you outline?
I’m a very instinctive, intuitive person. Most of my books begin with an idea of the main characters, the general story arc—and that’s about it. I seldom have more than a page of notes when I start writing. This is the process that works for me, discovering things as I go along, believing in and loving my characters, and following them on their journey. I can’t plan that out too much. I tried—a long time ago and I think the writing I did then was not as spontaneous and, frankly, not as good, as just going with what’s in my heart.
I write very carefully and revise what I did the day before to get in the mood for writing on the following day, so by the time I finish, I don’t do a lot of rewriting. It’s usually a pretty clean draft.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
Three or four months, give or take.
Your next novel, Bashed, follows a plot that could be ripped from the news. What was it like writing such a real story, with a paranormal twist?
Bashed comes out July 14 and I’m really proud of it because, along with telling a somewhat tragic love story, it explores a very real problem in the gay community—hate crimes. I loved introducing the paranormal element to the story and think it helped my main character find his way back to hope and to being able to love again.
It should have been a perfect night out. Instead, Mark and Donald collide with tragedy when they leave their favorite night spot. That dark October night, three gay-bashers emerge from the gloom, armed with slurs, fists, and an aluminum baseball bat.
The hate crime leaves Donald lost and alone, clinging to the memory of the only man he ever loved. He is haunted, both literally and figuratively, by Mark and what might have been. Trapped in a limbo offering no closure, Donald can’t immediately accept the salvation his new neighbor, Walter, offers. Walter’s kindness and patience are qualities his sixteen-year-old nephew, Justin, understands well. Walter provides the only sense of family the boy’s ever known. But Justin holds a dark secret that threatens to tear Donald and Walter apart before their love even has a chance to blossom.
Dreamspinner Ebook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5213
Dreamspinner Paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5214
Amazon Kindle: to come around July 14
Amazon Paperback: to come around July 14
AllRomance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-bashed-1557676-149.html
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 would give the same advice to anyone who wanted to write, whether it was gay romance or some other genre: write a lot and read a lot. Through reading, I think we kind of learn by osmosis. I don’t know of a single writer who’s serious about his or her craft that also isn’t a voracious reader. Write a lot because that’s how you become fluent. You write, revise, get good editing (if you’re lucky) and continue to learn. Growth is a continual process.
Building an audience? Social media has opened up tremendous doors for us to promote our writing that never existed in the past. It also opened the doors for thousands of other writers so you have to be willing to put some time into marketing and be consistent with it. With social media, I encourage new authors to remember that it’s not called social media for nothing. That means: engage with your readers and potential readers on a personal level. Nothing turns a person off quicker than someone who is always yelling, “Buy my book! Buy my book!” If you engage with people and actually share some of your life with them, you’ll get a lot more traction when you mention, as part of that conversation, that you have a new book coming out.
And don’t stop working—the best promo you can do for yourself is giving your readers another good book!
Rick R. Reed Biography
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”