Today Shawn Lane is in the house.
Hi Shawn and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. We’re almost like old friends because of the number of times you drop by, sometimes to check out the Friday Guys:)
Why don’t you start by telling us a little about Shawn the author and the person – just as much as you want to reveal?
Well, I work an evil day job in a legal office which is likely where my love of having hot lawyers comes from, that and that site mentioned later in this interview, Men at Play. Of course very few co-workers know I write. I have been with my husband who is nicknamed by me, PD (Prince Derek) for many years. Though I have other close friends, I met my best friend, Shayne, a gay man who has been with his partner, Jack, for over twelve years, through the site Goodreads and now we talk almost daily for hours and hours. We both feel very lucky to have met. I have lived in California for my entire life and can’t imagine living anywhere else though my dream is to live in a seaside town called, Morro Bay in Central California.
As for the author, I’ve been writing romance since I was a teenager (in other words a long time ago) and M/M for about two years. I have four heterosexual historical romances that are published under another name. I haven’t written those for a couple of years and have no plans in the future to return to them. I am published with, as noted below, Amber Quill, Ellora’s Cave and Dreamspinner Press. You never know where I may pop up next.
What do you find so fascinating about writing?
I wanted to write since I was a small child. I love creating characters and stories and hope that I can provide some entertainment to others. But I think I would write anyway even if I hadn’t gotten lucky enough to be one Amber Quill’s last Amber Heat Contest winners and gotten my work published. I wrote for years before my first story made it into print for strangers to read. I cannot stop the ideas from appearing in my head. I take the bus into work and even small things like watching someone walk into a convenience store can spark a story in my brain.
Other than lawyers, what other careers would you like your protags to have?
Well I have a cop in The Other Side and a former cop in Sweet Reunion and also a cop coming up in Ticket to Ride coming out in December. As well as cop partners coming up in a story I have as yet not written but plan to in 2010. I also have a literary agent and an accountant in Perfect Man (yes still men in suits) as well as a fire fighter in Stone of Wrath and a paramedic in Trust. And a teacher in Sweet Reunion as well. Other careers coming up are a chef, a restaurant owner, a florist, a vet, and a diner owner. So there’s a variety there. I do love those suits though.
You write both het and M/M romances. Do you find it difficult to switch from one to the other? Why?
When I was writing het, no I didn’t find it hard to switch. I knew all the respective parts and I knew when to write a chick and when not to. I may flatter myself but I don’t think I write chicks with dicks when I write M/M. I do think that romance and love is universal. That being said, I haven’t written a het romance since the summer of 2008 and I don’t anticipate writing one in the near future. I don’t want to say I will never write one, but right now my focus is M/M romances.
Most authors say that they write M/M because they like the dynamic between the guys. Why do you like to write stories in this sub genre other than the hawtness factor?
I’ve always loved men together. As a teenager I would put men together in movies and television shows in my mind. Men are fascinating. Together they are doubly so. For years I didn’t know there were romantic books about men loving each other and when I did discover them I was thrilled. I’ve never looked back as a reader and it just seemed natural when I started writing erotic romances that I’d choose the M/M genre.
You’re quite a prolific author, writing stories for Dreamspinner, Amber Allure and Ellora’s Cave and probably other publishers that I haven’t found. How do you find the time to write between a job, RL, and having fun, to be so creative and to have so many plot bunnies?
Well, my friends claim I am anti-social, so I end up putting them off a lot. I write at lunch at the evil day job and many nights and weekends. I also am always coming up with new ideas. I wish I could turn off the idea factory in my head sometimes because I have a huge, huge, backlog of stories I want to write already, I really don’t need more. But they come anyway. I’ve always been a freakishly fast writer though. I’ve written short stories in four days. Stone of Wrath is a perfect example of this. It’s also an interracial m/m with a paranormal twist and I decided to write it literally just days before a deadline for themed stories could be submitted to Ellora’s Cave and so I wrote it in four days. I don’t like to do that, but I can push myself to do so.
You have written many interracial romances, both het and M/M. Most M/M authors avoid writing interracial romances, but you seem to find them easier to write? Why?
I fell in love with interracial romances several years ago and couldn’t get enough. I bought multiple ebooks and print books of the interracial variety. I wish there were more, actually. I love reading about people of different races or cultures or upbringings coming together and falling in love in spite of their differences or even because of them. But as I started really wanting to write M/M romances I was surprised how few interracial romances there were starring men only. I figured if I was interested in reading them, others probably were too. I love the sub-genre and intend to keep writing more stories. Next year I will have a sequel to The Other Side as well as a related book starring Ray’s brother, Devon, who is also gay (more about that in the sequel to The Other Side) as well as the cop partner book, Never the One. You never know about me, I could think of even more, too.
How many books do you have published and which is your biggest seller? Your personal favourite?
If we are counting only Shawn Lane books I have twenty, two of which are het and one of which is M/M/F. I have two more, Ticket to Ride and The Best Gift, coming at the end of the year, too. That’s it for 2009. Believe it or not I am slowing down now. I can’t seem to write as fast as I once did. At Ellora’s Cave it is a probably a tie between Perfect Man and Trust. Believe it or not I actually have sold more of both of those than Wanting Sam, my het there. At Amber Quill, I think (honestly I can’t quite remember, I’m guessing some) that my best seller to date there is Most Likely to Succeed. Although many of my stories have made the top ten best sellers for the month or even the quarter at Amber Quill.
My personal favorite is Perfect Man. One of my heroes had PTSD and for me, he’s my favorite hero I have written.
What do you think is your most important accomplishment as a writer?
Being published in erotic romance at all. I used to absolutely dread writing sex scenes in romances so it would never have crossed my mind I could make a career as an author of the genre.
Are you ever going to write that novel like you promised me?
I knew you were going to ask me that. Damn your memory. I am hoping to write it in 2010. That story I mentioned up there with the two cop partners called Never the One, may end up being the novel, but if not I’ll come up with something. I will say it’s hard for me to write novels these days although I’ve written them in the past.
You’re one of the most “reviewed” authors on this site and I don’t know the reason why. Do you feel that reviews are an integral part of an author’s marketing strategy? What would you like to see in our reviews of your books that is not addressed currently?
Well I don’t know why either, Wave. Most likely because I have a lot of releases from Amber Allure and you review their books. Still there are a number of my M/M books that have not been reviewed here (and no I am not suggesting they should be, lol). I do think reviews are a part of an author’s marketing. I think they are most important when someone is on the fence about reading a book. A good review can make them decide to buy it if they are uncertain or not to buy it if it’s a not so good review.
I think your reviews are quite detailed so I don’t know that there is anything I’d like to see different.
When I interviewed Trace Edward Zaber of Amber Quill Press recently he mentioned that sales of M/M books were now 75 – 80% of the company’s output. Amber Allure is one of your publishers. Does hearing these numbers mean that you’ll be increasing the amount of M/M books that you’ll be subbing to publishers?
Well as I stated, I’m only writing M/M at present. So as long as I can keep writing that’s where my submissions will go. I’m rather fond of Amber Allure and definitely plan to have plenty coming out from them next year. We’ll see what happens with other publishers.
Have you ever considered writing an M/M/M story? I’m sure you know that’s the only menage that will be reviewed on this site:) I think that where two men together are hawt, three men, if done well, are even hotter but it takes a lot of skill to keep the romance fresh when the number of protags increases.
Was it difficult to write A Knight for All, your M/F/M historical menage?
First I must correct you. A Knight For All was not a M/F/M ménage. It was a M/M/F ménage and the guys were very much into each other. There is no way I would have ever considered writing a M/F/M.
Second, I did not enjoy the experience. I have gone on record stating that I will never write another ménage. That includes M/M/M. I realize there are readers who like to read them. I am not one of them. I realize there are authors who love to write them, I am also not one of them.
For me it was difficult and frustrating. I got some good reaction to the book, but I struggled. I find it hard to believe that three people in a loving relationship can really make it work, so the long answer is no, not going to happen.
Which brings me to the question most writers love to answer. What do you have coming up within the next 3 – 6 months?
I close the year with two releases in December from Amber Allure, Ticket to Ride, about a cop and a former rock star, and a little Christmas short story called, The Best Gift.
Other than that I am working on many other stories and should have several things available next year. I’m even going to be working on a co-authored book with fellow M/M author, Ava March.
SHAWN LANE UNPLUGGED
Now we would like you to relax and lay back in the hot tub with the guys who will take care of you while you answer a few additional questions. BTW I guess there aren’t that many hot tubs in Southern Cali if that’s where you live?:) You’re not too hot are you? The guys are pretty quick with the oil and towels so let them know what you would like.
Sure there are hot tubs. It gets cool in the winter. Into the 30s and 40s at night which is cold to us.
So Shawn, what kind of man turns you on? Does he have to wear a suit like many of your protags?
Sweet, kind, generous, rich ones. Okay, I guess he doesn’t have to be rich. Physically I like pretty boys. The kind that are so handsome or pretty, women envy them. It doesn’t hurt if they have fabulous abs, too. I like men who aren’t afraid to show their soft side but are there for you to lean on, too. A guy who doesn’t feel like he has to be Mr. Macho all the time. I like metrosexuals. My DH is a metro and he suits me just fine.
Have you ever made love outdoors and if so were you caught?
No but I haven’t give up hope.
Which of your protagonists would you like to bed if you had the chance? Would you like to do two of them together?
Clark Sterling from Most Likely to Succeed. He’s bold and naughty.
You like a bit of gay porn especially Men at Play. What turns you on about the guys at MAP other than the suits?
I think the hotness of the guys on that site is rare. I haven’t seen heterosexual porn in years but the stuff coming out in the 70s and 80s…the guys were never good looking. At all. So yeah hot guys getting down and dirty in their pin-striped suits and pink ties…yum
Have you ever been to a nude beach just to watch?:)
I’ve only seen nude beaches from a distance so I suppose that does indeed make me a voyeur from afar.
What would be the ultimate turn on for Shawn?
Hmm. Being watched. I think I created Clark from my own fantasies. The idea of being watched while having sex out in the open and maybe getting caught. Wow. Great fantasy for Shawn.
Thank you Shawn.
Shawn Lane’s Contact Information
website : http://smlgr8.blogspot.com/