Josh Lanyon is best known for his novels Fatal Shadows and Fair Game. His ability to write characters that are relatable enable readers to fully enjoy the novels. No matter what he comes out with next, it will be a page turner!
What got you interested in writing m/m fiction?
Mostly I write mysteries. Usually, but not always, with gay characters. And there is no greater mystery than human sexuality or our relationships with others, so for me it all works together. In fact, it feels inevitable.
How did you begin your career and how did you grow your fan base to be so humongous?
I arrived before the rush and got a table in the front.
In all seriousness, I do think a large part of my success is that I’ve simply been around a long time. The other part is that I focus on readers and not on other authors. Most authors, certainly digital first authors, spend their time talking and playing with other authors. Maybe because M/M began in fandom and these authors are used to interacting with a large and active writing community?
What is it like to set your romances inside mystery or adventure settings? Does it make it more difficult sometimes?
Because I’m primarily interested in character and exploring human relationships, it feels like a natural and satisfying blend to me, but it is true that most mainstream readers are not comfortable with the level of romance and erotic content that you typically find in male/male fiction.
Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m fiction and how do you think they’d respond?
Ha! It’s not M/M that is the problem, it’s the fact that I write romance. I have several academic and author friends who think I’ve sold out. Romance is not taken seriously outside of the romance genre. It’s that simple. It’s that sad.
Your Wikipedia page is a great source for a list of all your works. Do you maintain it yourself or did someone else set it up?
No. If it was left to me, I would have no Wikipedia page. And probably no Goodreads group. And likely no Facebook Fan Page. I am very, very grateful to the kind-hearted, generous readers who take the time and trouble to maintain these sites for me.
Why do you think so many women love to read m/m?
I have no idea. But it’s not something that I think needs to be explained or excused.
What was it like writing Adrien English in Fatal Shadows? Has writing the character since become easier?
Uh, well it’s certainly easier now that the series has ended. 😉
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on the edits for Fair Play, which is the sequel to Fair Game. This is the part of the writing process I love.
Tell me about your writing process from idea to finished draft? Do you rewrite to death? Do you outline?
I writ a horrendously ugly first draft, hand it off to an editor (who deserves a lot better from life), mull over the book while I wait for my edits and then do my rewrite. If I’m selling on proposal I will do a full outline, otherwise I will sketch out some notes and maybe bash out a rough outline. Inevitably the book changes a bit from the outline, though the essentials will not alter much.
I rewrite constantly. And I am never happy with the final result. In fact, I try never to read my stuff again once it’s published.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
6 – 8 weeks. Four weeks to write that godawful first draft. Two weeks to rewrite — with hopefully a couple of vital weeks in between. Because it’s that time in between, while the story is simmering, that I think really makes a big difference to the final draft.
What was it like creating Elliot Mills and the murder mystery surrounding him in Fair Game?
I wanted to write a mainstream thriller with a classic thriller protagonist, but I wanted that protagonist to be gay. So when I get those reviews that say, “But it’s just like any mainstream story only the main character is gay!” well, that was kind of my point.
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?
Because of recent changes in publishing, we have aspiring and new authors who don’t know the business or really even their craft. I think it’s helpful if you understand that you’re entering a very crowded market. You need to be very clear about why you want to write and how you will personally define success. If you are writing because you MUST write or go crazy, if you just love to write and share your stories, and you are okay with the fact that you will probably not be able to support yourself with your fiction, you will be much happier. It will save you a lot of frustration if you have realistic expectations. Also, you must understand that you will be better than some and not as good as others, and that really won’t have much to do with how ultimately successful you are. A lot of it is just luck. So learn all you can, write the very best book you have in you at that moment, pay attention to readers, and remember to stay focused on the work, on what you love about the work.