W.S. Long is best known for his novels Love and Murder and Ask and I’ll Tell. His way of writing believable characters help bring readers along for the ride. No matter what he writes next, the story will draw readers in!
What got you interested in writing m/m fiction?
I enjoyed writing when I was younger so writing was always something I wanted to do. I had friends who are published who encouraged me to write. After I started writing fiction as part of my experiences in the Celebration, Florida, writing group, a couple of members of the group suggested I consider focusing on m/m romance since the story that would become “Love and Murder” had gay characters after I added an erotic scene. “Love and Murder” was actually written as a legal fiction novella then I rewrote it to add more elements of the m/m romance genre.
How did you begin your career and how did you grow your fan base to be so humongous?
After I joined a local writing group, and critiqued and was critiqued for two years, I started writing more. The whole process makes you tougher. I have a growing fan base that is mostly due to social media. I’ve attended some writing conferences too and have met other authors who I’ve read, and who’ve read my books so that’s how some have discovered my books. Being on Goodreads, twitter and Facebook definitely helped.
What was it like going from being in the military to being a lawyer?
Very easy. I joined the military at the age of 17 with my parents permission. I realized while in the Air Force though I need to complete my college education. When I finished college in the military I realized I wanted to do something else in my life so I went to law school.
Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m fiction? How do you think they’d respond?
My parents know that I write but I told them that I write very adult stories. My siblings know but they don’t talk about it. I’m from a very conservative, Catholic family. it would be awkward for any of us to talk about many of the scenes I write so we pretend that elephant doesn’t exist in the room when we are together. We don’t agree on politics or religion since I consider myself as a non-practicing Catholic so we’ve learned to avoid certain subjects as much as we can. On a professional level, I use a psedonym because I practice law in a very conservative area and I don’t want my clients interests affected by a more conservative jury pool because of what I write outside of work.
What was it like creating Jake Chandler? Did you base him on your experiences as a lawyer?
Jake Chandler is loosely based on a blend of people I know. The murder trial that is detailed in the book is also a fictionalized version of one of my murder trials. However, the personality of Jake is more or less based on a few people I know who’ve gone through the hardships of getting divorced, fighting over kids, and coming out.
Why do you think so many women are attracted to reading m/m?
Many of my female writer friends who write m/m say they like the strength of the characters in the m/m genre, and that the conflict in the story lines makes more compelling stories. Some friends actually started in the traditional male-female genre and write mostly m/m for those reasons.
What was it like creating Jake’s relationship with Xavier and the murders around him?
Actually writing those plot lines comes very easy. The theme of “Love and Murder” is that everyone deserves a second chance in life. That’s how I feel about my friends who are the basis of Jake Chandler. I love reading a good legal fiction book: a genre I’m extremely critical when reading others in that genre because of my background. I basically wrote something that I thought I would enjoy reading.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a YA book, “The Nephilim.” It’ll be non-erotic, male-male romance with a supernatural character who falls in love with a human, blending historical background and themes of reincarnation using Hebrew, Buddhist, and Hindu ideas on the ideas of heaven and hell.
Tell me about your writing process. Do you make an outline? Do you write out of order?
I make an outline then write. However, if the writing forces me to change the characters or plot I go with it. For example, I have a rough outline for “Love and Pain,” which is a sequel to “Love and Murder,” but I won’t start writing that for months and months until I finish “The Nephilim.”
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
It took me over two years to write, rewrite, re-organize, “Love and Murder.” However, it took me five months to write “Ask, and I’ll Tell.” It just depends. At my currently stage in my latest, “The Nephilim,” if I’m done by winter of this year, I’ll be happy.
What was it like creating the story of Ask and I’ll Tell?
“Ask and I’ll Tell” is based on my military experience of dealing with same-sex attraction in a very homophobic military. RJ Davis is actually based on a lieutenant I knew. I wrote Pad’s story in such a way as to take Pad to a point where if he had to choose to see if something was there, what would have happened if he risked being enlisted and followed his heart? Wayne is based on two friends who actually stripped, and worked in gay porn. The romantic conflict in Pad is based on personal experiences from a long, long time ago.
What advice do you have for those thinking about writing gay romance? Any advice for those who are trying to build an audience from scratch?
First join a writing group, then write, write write. There are some writing groups online. Go to m/m writers or m/m fiction conferences. Meet other writers. Rainbow Con in Tampa this year was more of a writing convention than GRL is, for example. I’m a currently member of Romance Writers of America, as well as the Florida Writers’ Association. Many of their periodicals are helpful. Also read a lot in that genre. M/M romance is actually a subgenre: besides romance it must have all the elements of a good story whether it’s crime fiction, paranormal or whatnot.