I'd like to welcome Erastes to our blog. Due to time zones, and my general incompetence, Erastes might be a little late, so I'm going to borrow a quick bio and some book information and post them here first!
Erastes has been writing all of his life, in one way or another, letters, emails, diaries used to satisfy his need for the written word. He simply didn't think he could write, make plots that people would be interested in.
Then one day in 2003, he simply started, a few short stories, and then a novel and then.. well, he hasn't stopped writing since.
He lives in Norfolk, and when he can be dragged kicking and screaming away from his computer, he enjoys walks by the Broads. He likes cats and cheese but has discovered only one of those is any good with toast.
He likes his men like his fiction, dark, with a hint of danger, romantic and intelligent without being too wordy. He believes in the GDM bases his dodgy morality on Heinlein's Intermissions.
He is a member of the Historical Novel Society, The Erotica Writer's Association and is a staff writer at www.bookpuppy.co.uk
is a novel set in England during the Georgian period. Here's the book blurb:
A great house, a family dispossessed. A sensitive young man, a powerful landowner, and the epic love that springs up between them.
Ambrose Standish is a studious and fragile young man with dreams of regaining the great house his grandfather lost in a card game, but when Rafe Goshawk returns from the continent to claim the estate, their meeting sets them on a path of desire and betrayal which threatens to tear both of their worlds apart.
Set in the post-Napoleonic years of the 1820's, Standish is a tale of these two men, and how the relationships they make affect their journey through Europe and through life.
Painting a picture of homosexuality in Georgian England, illegal as it was and punishable by death, at heart it is a simple love story and the tale of one man's discoveries of his sexuality and his true feelings for the man who released it.
I have to say that the Georgian period is one of my favorites and I'm really looking forward to reading this book!
Ladies and gents, Erastes!
1. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to write m/m romance stories?
I've always wanted to write but nothing really sparked me off - I'd started books before. I have a half started children's book which is completely plotted out, but when I was half way through it I discovered Pratchett and found he'd already done "amusing sarcastic witches" and so that came to a halt, I've also got a fantasy I started about 10 years ago but that never got very far either.
Then I got into the Harry Potter books - and one day I was just surfing on the net looking for gossip or news about Severus Snape on whom I had a bit of a crush (blush) when I found a site called "The Severus Snape Fuh-Q Fest" which was literally an archive of stories about Severus Snape having sex with just about every male character in the Potter Universe and my jaw dropped onto the desk. I'd discovered slash - and I'd never considered it before. Believe me, I've had the least sheltered life imaginable but I'd never thought of gay sex as a turn on - despite having been to bed with 2 men at the same time on several occasions - but here I was, reading slash and getting turned on. At first I thought I was slightly perverted, then I realised that a lot of male fantasies concerned two women in bed together, so it seemed perfectly normal after that.
I was lucky that the first slash story I ever read was a damned good one - there's a lot of crap in fanfic - if I'd read a bad one - I may not be here today! I read voraciously and then must have been struck by what they call inspiration and I wrote a novella in about 3 weeks. I realised almost immediately that I could do nothing with a Potter Novella - so I decided to write a Regency - and Standish was born.
2. How do you see the market for what you write-who are your readers and where are the based?
The market is growing - especially in the epublication market. I truly believe that for once in my life I'm in the right place at the right time. The publishing world has been steadily ignoring m/m fiction, but I don't think they can do much longer.
My readers come from all over the world, and, maybe because Standish is equal part gay historical, gay romance and gay erotica, seem to be both men and women, both straight and gay. It's wonderful to get emails from people about the book - something I thought would never happen to me.
3.What would you say were the main differences between what you write and say, erotic romance which often now incorporates elements of m/m or m/m/f or m/f/m stories?
Well, I admit that when I started out to write I was writing erotic romance, that is, fairly graphic sex but as I've continued on with books they've become less so. The one I'm doing at the moment has moments of "oh? was there a kiss there?" so I don't know whether people might be dissapointed. Don't get me wrong, I do love the sex scenes, but what they have to be is relevant to the progression of the plot and some erotic romance seems to be more about the sex and less about the characters or plot. I don't like the idea that people think m/m=sex because (and I shouldn't need to say this) people are about more than that.
4. Describe your journey to publication.
I have been very very lucky. I know that much. I finished Standish in 2004 and started sending it out to various mainstream publishers and got rejected and rejected - possibly about 12 times in all (I don't count the times where the particular editor had left or the publishing house had closed down) and then I simply stopped sending it and concentrated on short stories for a while. I was lucky enough to get the first story I ever wrote for original publication ("Bright Souls") accepted by Torquere Press and I sold several more stories to them-I'll always be grateful to them for my start. Then I re-sold Bright Souls to Alyson Books as part of their "Ultimate Gay Erotica 2005" and after that things just snowballed. In the middle of 2005 someone suggested I start sending Standish out again, now I had some details on my "CV" and the first publisher I sent it to (P D Publishing) accepted it. I still find it hard to believe.
5. What does the future hold for you bookwise? What's coming up?
My second novel "Transgressions" (which is based in the English Civil War) is with the publisher and they want some re-writing done, so that's what I need to concentrate on now. I'm half way through a novel about a married stockbroker who falls in love with the teenager next door - and which doesn't obey the requisite rules for a "Romance" so I don't even know if that will sell.
But I do - in the interim - have two novellas coming out in the next little while: One with Aspen Mountain Press (which will be my first foray into ebooks) called Chiaroscuro and is about a 19th Century Florentine artist and the man he falls in love with and another one which I can't talk about yet as it hasn't been finalised - but it's a Regency.
6. Where can we find you and your books?
My website is www.erastes.com Standish is available from all Amazons and Barnes and Nobel (and some bookshops, in America I think) My website has some free stories and excerpts on it, and links to all the anthologies.
7. How do you see the market for what you write in 5 years time? Are times really changing and if so, why?
I hope - I'm fairly confident - that m/m will have broken into the mainstream by now. It's already happening in some small way. As well as the ubitquitous Brokeback Mountain, there are the Lord John stories by Diana Gabaldon, David Leavitt's fiction, Mordred Bastard Son by Douglas Clegg, As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McAnn and The Boy I Love by Marion Husband - all of which have been critically well received. What needs to happen is
1. more people to write it
2. and the emphasis to drift away from the graphic sex
I'm sure that things will be better - there are a lot of problems in the publishing world, gay oriented publishers and book stores are closing all over the place, but I hope that when one falls, it leaves a place for one or two others to spring up in its place.
8. Favorite football/soccer team? Favorite TV show? Favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
The only sport I enjoy watching is Three Day Eventing and there's not much of that on the TV, not enough anyway. *G* When I'm not writing I'm usually reading. I run a gay historical fiction blog, Speak Its Name which concentrates on reviews and discussion so I'm always reading in order to review. The sad thing about m/m fiction is that there is a finite amount of it - whereas heterosexual historical fiction is vast. I maintain a list HERE - so if any of your readers know of any that I haven't listed - please let me know!
Thanks for having me, Kate.
Any questions or comments for Erastes, please post them to the comments section :)