I had the pleasure of interviewing today M/M author Darien Cox. A very talented author who is currently awaiting the summer release of his new novel I’m sure we are all anxiously awaiting! He enjoys guest blogging and giveaways, so be sure to follow him on twitter and check out his blog!
Tell us more about you and the books you’ve written.
I write contemporary romance, so I’m more or less pulling from real life, people I’ve known, things that have happened to me, and creating something fun out of that. Of course it can get a little crazy because it’s fiction and meant to entertain, but for the most part I like taking an ordinary guy and putting him in extraordinary circumstances.
What have you learned about writing M/M that you didn’t know before?
People unfamiliar with the erotic romance genres in general tend to think it’s something you can just phone in, that it doesn’t have to have any substance. As one who’s written in many genres, I’ve found that not only do you have to really put your whole self into a romance story, but the natural inclusion of love and intimacy in the plot means you have to invest emotionally as well as intellectually, and that can husk you out after finishing a book. But it’s worth it.
What’s your writing process or daily routine like?
When I’m plotting and planning a new book I’m a basket-case with no structure, just trying to develop characters and organize ideas, banging my head against the wall and telling myself I suck. But once it’s rolling and in the zone, I tend to do mad writing sprints where I stay up very late and am just trying to keep up with what the plot is revealing to me. So for me the hardest part is getting the idea down and getting it right. Once that’s done, I crank it out pretty fast.
Where do you look for inspiration when you’re having trouble getting started with your writing?
Mostly from real life! We’ve all had interesting experiences and known unique people, and gotten into our share of trouble and quagmires—at least I have. Life is full of story ideas, you just have to gather them up and examine them. I tend to brainstorm ideas until I hit one that I feel I can really build on. It has to be something that’s going to keep me interested for an entire novel, because if I’m bored, chances are the reader will be bored too.
What do you think draws so many women to love reading m/m?
I believe gender is largely a social construct, so if a greater majority of M/M readers are women, it’s nothing about their inherent ‘femaleness’ but more about what appeals to individuals intellectually, emotionally, and sexually. If men intrigue you in that way, it’s not a huge leap to think that intimacy between two men in a novel will appeal as well. But I’ll sometimes get an email from a straight female reader in her twenties the same week I get an email from a gay male reader in his sixties, and they’re both responding strongly to the exact same thing in one of my books. So male, female, gay, or straight, people seek out entertainment material based on what they know moves them as an individual.
What are you currently working on?
I’m deep into a new novel, sort of an opposites attract story. It has no title yet as I tend to save that until the frantic last minute, but I hope to have it finished very soon.
Do you have any M/M authors that you look up to?
SO many! There is so much talent out there. In this industry we joke and call ourselves smut writers etc. but there are serious literary authors who can tell a hell of a story who happen to love this genre, so it’s great. And I like reading them because it reminds me I can’t drop the ball, I’ve always got to be on the top of my game.
Do you have any advice for those who are trying to build an audience from scratch?
Well of course write the best book you can and make it as honest as possible. Other than that, be respectful—to your readers, to other authors, to everyone. You want to be judged on your work, not your behavior or online presence or anything else. If you do your best work and keep it about the stories, the readers will come.
Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m fiction? How do you think they’d respond?
That’s a good question! I’m not ashamed of what I write and I don’t necessarily hide it, though I might avoid telling my grandmother I write about sex. But for me I keep my work from getting to the eyes of most family and friends for psychological reasons. If I think ‘Oh, so and so could possibly read this’ then I can’t shut everything out and write freely, without mental restrictions. I fear I’d hold back if I knew certain people in my life would ever read it, then the work would suffer.
What advice do you have for others who would like to be gay romance writers?
Write from the heart. Be vulnerable. Don’t think about outcome or how other people will react. While you’re in that story zone it should be between you and the page, nothing else. Become so intimate with your characters that you’re crawling inside their skin and becoming them, rather than trying to puppet something from afar. And have fun with it! As I said before, if you’re entertaining yourself, chances are the reader will be entertained too.
A little more about Darien….
Darien Cox lives in New England, bouncing back and forth between the mountain and the ocean states, anywhere there’s a wave or a ski slope. A nature lover and thrill seeker, he enjoys exploring the intensity, insanity, humor, and chaos that accompanies cupid’s arrow, whether it’s love at first sight or just the overwhelming power of lust. Mystery and thriller elements are occasionally tossed in to further spice up the mix, because let’s face it—sometimes the world is not enough.
Be sure to check out his website at http://dariencox.com