SJD Peterson, or Jo as she is also known, is the author of many well received books. She is best known for Beyond Duty and Pup. Her novels pull at the emotions of readers, and that keeps the pages turning.
What got you interested in writing m/m fiction?
When I first started reading it, many of the books seemed stereotypical and didn’t really represent those in my life. I basically tell their stories, so my writing tends to be more realism than escapism.
How did you begin your career and how did you grow your fan base to be so humongous?
Humongous? LOL Well, I do have some of the greatest fans on the planet. I don’t know about humongous but I am amazed at how many people read my stories and seek me out. They truly honor and humble me.
What was it like to create Danny Marshal in Plan B?
I don’t think I created Danny rather he showed up on my door one day and began screaming at me that he had a story to tell. If you’ve read Plan B you’ll know that it’s kind of hard to ignore him. He’s loud proud and in your face. I absolutely loved taking a journey with him and Lance.
Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m fiction and how do you think they’d respond?
There isn’t anyone I wouldn’t want to discover I write M/M Fiction. In fact everyone in my life knows what I write and every time someone meets me and asks me what I do for a living I tell them…I write MM Romance and Gay Fiction. There is zero shame in my game and if it offends someone well… That’s on them.
What was it like writing Pup? What inspired the collaring ceremony and what it means?
Pup was actually the easiest character to bring to life. He’s part me, part my boo S.A. McAuley. He responds to things much as Sam and I would. The window scene when he points out and screams, “Ooh Shiny” is totally something Sam does. The collaring ceremony seemed like a natural next step for Micah and Tackett. Their love and commitment is pure and for those in the lifestyle it’s meaning is much the same as a wedding ring to those outside the lifestyle. A symbol of commitment.
Why do you think so many women love to read m/m?
Hmmm good question but I can only speak for myself. I love everything about men, the way they look, move, smell, speak, so it’s only reasonable that I love reading about them. In my world there isn’t anything hotter than two big powerful men going at it hard, raw and fast. Although I must admit, I’m a sucker for the big burly powerful men to have a soft sweet heart 🙂
Has living in Michigan influenced your writing in any way?
I think it has only in the sense that we have months and months and months of cold, crappy weather. I’ve never been a big fan of the cold (I wear a hoodie when it’s 80) so those long months of snow and ice were made for snuggling up near the heater and writing.
What are you currently working on?
I just finished a thriller/True Crime called Splintered, a mystery called Night Stick, did a short Christmas story called The Gift so working on edits on those. The new stuff I’m working on is Mauled book 4.5 in the Guards of Folsom series as well as Bound the 5th and final book in the series. I’m also working on a project with S.A. McAuley.
Tell me about your writing process from idea to finished draft? Do you rewrite to death?
Do you outline? – I’m one of those who just goes with the flow. I don’t plot out or do outlines. An idea will pop in my head, the hardest part is starting the first sentence, however once I get it, i tend to just write until the story is told. I do very little re-writing, but a LOT of editing as I suck at grammar!!
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
It varies. I can write a novel in a month or sometimes it may take me 2 or 3 months. It totally depends on how natural the story comes to me.
What inspired Beyond Duty? Was there a lot of research involved?
Beyond Duty was actually the brain child of a member of the MM Romance group named Virginia. She sent in a photo and story prompt and I ran with it. Originally it was a short story but was so popular that I expanded it into a full length novel. I really didn’t have to do a ton of research as my step-brother is a career Marine (26 years) and my other brother is career Army.
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?
For those thinking about writing gay romance or any other book for that matter the one piece of advice I can give is to write from the heart. Make sure you are happy with it, because in the end, that’s what truly matters, that you’re proud of it. As far as building an audience, be real and the best thing you can do to promote a book…. write another book.