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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Interview with Storm Grant

**Admin Note - Riptide Publishing has generously offered a giveaway to one lucky commentor. To be entered in the drawing, you must leave an email address with your comment: Choice of Shift Happens, Gym Dandy, or Tart & Soul

Where do you hail from and what do you love most about your hometown?
I’m from Toronto, Canada. I love that it’s clean and (mostly) safe. But then I’ve never really lived anywhere else, so my frame of reference might be a tad limited. ;-D

Each February, though, for the last few years, I’ve spent time in the magical town of San Miguel de Allende up in the Mountains of central Mexico. I can’t recommend it enough as an inexpensive and culturally rich place to spend the coldest month of the year. I always attend the annual writer’s conference: http://sanmiguelwritersconference2012.org/

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your career?
As I child, I wanted to be an author, but then I discovered boys and didn’t really devote myself to anything else but the pursuit of pretty young men until I was in my late-thirties. I eventually married one of those pretty young men, and found, without all the dating, I had a lot of free time on my hands. It was then I re-discovered my love of writing.

Tell us about your latest book. Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?

My latest project is too short to call a book, although it will have a cover and has a plot and characters and… damn it! It is too a book, just a very short one. ;-D  It’s SUCKS & BLOWS, and I’m thrilled that it’s been selected to be part of Riptide Publishing’s debut lineup. When I say short, I actually mean around 5000 words. It does have a beginning, a middle, and a happily ever after.

It’s the epic (but short!) love story between a vampire and his dentist.

Now, you asked about my next project. That’s also for Riptide. The thing about being personally invited to submit, it’s a Very Big Deal. Maybe that’s what inspired my next project for them, tentatively titled FEW ARE CHOSEN. It’s a charming first-love story about an apprentice warrior who meets his match in an apprentice wizard. Together they defeat a demon and fall in love. I anticipate it being around 12,000 words when complete.

Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?
Hmmm. What a great question. Like every author, I cut articles out of newspapers and magazines and save them in an “Ideas” file. Have I ever used them? Well, both my full length novels, GYM DANDY and SHIFT HAPPENS deal with drug problems. In the former, it’s illegal steroid sales, and in the latter, a new designer drug that kills. I guess both of those are “headline rippers.”

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
I’ve got an entire blog post on this. It’s way too complex for a quick answer. But… whatever genre you write in, even if you hate romance, join the world’s most professional writing organization, the Romance Writers of America. 95% of everything you learn there will apply to writing and publishing in general. You can ignore the 5% that is specific to romance… or maybe not, since most m/m is romance. I write urban fantasy and humor, but I always have a major romantic plot. Why not use all the plotting tools in my arsenal?

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
Writer’s block is when you don’t know what to write next. I’ve been stuck on how to get my characters out of a sticky corner, but there’s nothing like going for a walk to fix that. Housework, driving, taking a shower—those are all places where you’re brain goes into a semi-meditative state and your creative mind is free to problem-solve. I know of one writer who keeps a dive slate in the shower to jot down her best ideas.

I found I no longer listen to music when I walk. I like to be alone in my head with my characters. For others, it’s the opposite. They create playlists to write by.

Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?
Robert A. Heinlein, the grandfather of sci-fi, was a huge influence in my early years. Then absurdist writer Tom Robbins. Now it’s Sir Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore, and the same guy who appears on everybody’s list: Neil Gaiman.

I read across genres because I’m looking for humor. I’ve read all 38 Discworld books, and am up to Lean Mean Thirteen in the Stephanie Plum series. If it’s funny, send it my way.

How did you deal with rejection letters?
Rejections to cold queries piss me off for about five minutes and then I’m over it. In those cases, I’m as mad at myself as the agent, because the only thing they had to go on is my query letter. So if it wasn’t compelling enough, then either I need to fix it or they’re just idiots. I usually start with idiots and work my way to taking another look at my query letter.

My degree and much of my working background are in marketing, so I write a damn good query letter if I do say so myself. I’ve gotten a good number of requests for books I’ve shopped around to agents, and landed my friends and I a number of publishing contracts.

 Rejections to requests make me sad for a couple of hours, then I’m over it. Rejections are part of the biz. And I’m a firm believer that one door closes, another swings both ways. Wait. That’s not right. But it’s more fun. ;-D

I attended a writer’s conference last year, which featured a panel of agents. Some brave soul asked the panel if they ever had regrets about having passed on someone who later went on to fame and fortune. One refused to answer the question (although she was funny about it so that’s okay.) But one agent said he’d passed on Carrie Vaughan. So I think the best revenge will be selling well.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A decent laptop with Word and Excel. That’s pretty much it. I don’t use a paper notebook except at lectures. I don’t listen to music or use Scrivener or other writing software. I’ve developed an Excel workbook with spreadsheets for my outline, my word count, my character names, my timeline, and whatever a particular book calls for.

I do download pictures of my characters once they take form in my head. I print that out and paste it up over my computer. If I’m working on multiple projects, I swap out my character sheet for whichever book I’m working on. So I guess you need a printer, too.

 And I because I have arthritis in my wrists, I sometimes dictate my first drafts, so I’d add a good headset to the list. I used to use Dragon Naturally Speaking, but the voice recognition software that’s part of Windows is every bit as good these days.

Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
It depends entirely on what fits the story. In some stories, the sex scenes can go on for pages, as long as they advance the plot and show something important about the characters. Or they should be short if the pacing is important.

SUCKS & BLOWS is first and foremost a story to make the reader laugh and groan at the bad puns. There is a hot blowjob scene, but it’s entirely in keeping with the story. (If a vampire loses his feeding teeth, is there another body fluid he can live on?)

FEW ARE CHOSEN, is a tender, charming story about a first time, starting with first kiss. They’re not going to go all the way that first time, but they’re young boys, so they are bound to get off. You’ll just have to read the story to see how it all works out. In this case, the lead up is more important—sexier even—than the actual… No, on second thought, their actual rolling around together is darn hot, too.  

What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?
Never ask my husband that question.

Cleverly changing the subject, here's an excerpt from Sucks & Blows:

Cary was just about to jerk off again when the electronic door chime squawked the first few bars of “Another One Bites the Dust.”
He rushed out to the reception area. “Hello. Welcome to Drewel’s Dentistry!” He hoped he didn’t sound too anxious. And that his residual hard-on wasn’t tenting his racy black dental smock.
That the visitor was tall and handsome, with a muscular build and chiseled cheekbones, did little to dampen Cary’s arousal.
“I . . . I thaw your brothure.” The man held out Cary’s carefully crafted (but badly printed) flyer:
Grand Opening! 
Drewel’s Family Dental Clinic
~ Vampires Our Specialty ~
 “You do vampireth?”
“Absolutely.” Cary grinned. He’d included the vampire reference to show he was the dentist with a sense of humor. And also to attract the Twilight age group, which was ripe for expensive orthodontia.
“Hurths.” The man pointed to his upper lip, red and swollen on either side of his sexy little cupid’s bow.
“I can help you with your dental breakdown, Mr. . . .”
“Tharpe. Pierthe Tharpe.”
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Sharpe. May I call you Pierce?”
“Thure.” Pierce held out his hand.
“Call me Cary, then.” Cary grasped the outstretched hand, surprised at how cold and shaky Pierce felt. This guy was in bad shape. He looked like death—if death were really cute, that is.
Withdrawing his hand, Pierce shoved it deep into his jeans pocket, maybe to hide the trembling. “I haven’t eaten in dayths. Hurths too much.”
“Okay then. You’re in luck. I was about to close, but I can squeeze you in. Let’s get you in the chair right away.” He led Pierce through the pristine reception area, which, he hoped, would one day have an actual receptionist. “Climb aboard.” He gestured at the shiny new-and-not-yet-paid-for dental chair.
Pierce clambered into the chair and lay back. Cary took a moment to look at him—professionally, of course. He’d been so excited at getting his first actual patient he hadn’t really checked Pierce out.
Sprawled in a chair was a good look for the guy. He had a terrific body, nicely showcased by a tight black T-shirt and faded jeans. His lips were reddish and swollen and brought to mind other things that made a guy’s lips red and swollen—but in a good way rather than an inflamed-gums way. Short dark hair contrasted nicely with blue eyes that were a little bloodshot. And staring back at Cary.
Cary smiled, aiming for more reassuring and less predatory. His unusually high sex drive had gotten him in trouble before.
Thank God this guy can’t read minds.
To deflate his straining erection, he conjured up an image of what Shark Lending’s “rep,” Gill Hammerhead, would do to him if he didn’t make a payment soon. Gill had threatened both foreclosure and bodily harm. Cary wasn’t a big fan of either. His hard-on melted away.
Fastening the little bib behind his patient’s neck, he ordered, “Open, please.”
He leaned in to begin the exam. “Holy crap!” he said, fumbling the explorer. The man doesn’t have eyeteeth; he has stalactites!
Recovering himself, Cary tapped one of the giant incisors. Caps. They had to be caps, stuck on for a joke or a movie role or a really weird lifestyle. He rocked one experimentally between latex-covered thumb and forefinger—the one set of dental instruments Gill Hammerhead couldn’t repossess.
. . . He hoped.
Here's the buy link for Sucks & Blows:

Don't forget to give us links to your website etc.
Author Name: Gina Grant w/a Storm Grant
Email address: storm.grant@gmail.com
Website URL: www.stormgrant.com


storm grant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
storm grant said...

Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to talk about my life and my writing.

I'm thrilled to be part of Riptide's debut line up. I've never had such intense editing, I love my cover and was encouraged to give input on the design process. Plus there's the amazing Chris Hawkins who lined up all these many blog tours. The internet is all a-buzz about Riptide, thanks to Chris's efforts.

It's a pleasure to be here. I hope people enjoy Sucks & Blows.

Bookishly Awesome said...

Lol. This excerpt is adorable. Definitely looking forward to this book.

sabrinayala at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for an insightful interview, Storm! I'm learning so much about writing. Looking forward to reading Sucks And Blows.:-)


booklover0226 said...

I enjoyed both the interview and the excerpt. Both were great reads.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

storm grant said...

Thanks for posting, guys. I appreciate the kind and supportive words.
~ Gina / Storm

joder said...

Great post. I'm intrigued by the sound of your two full-length novels and their subject matter. Will have to look into them more. The Evanovich books are indeed fun and even though the love triangle is getting annoying, the books still make me giggle.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Sarah said...

Great story... Congrats Storm...

What else do u have planned?

Sarah S


Bookwyrm369 said...

Great post! I really enjoyed S&B - it was very funny :-)

smaccall AT comcast.net

storm grant said...

Joder, Sarah, and Bookwyrm. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate the positive feedback.
~ Gina / Storm

-Maria- said...

Thanks for the excerpt and interview.
I'm looking forward to reading Sucks & Blows, I haven't enough time :(.