M.L. Rhodes Interview

ML littlemeOn the blog with us today is award winning and best selling author M.L. Rhodes who is not only a great writer but she’s up there in the top 3 of my personal favourite authors. ML has been writing for quite sometime but only recently switched to M/M romances so it’s astonishing how much she has accomplished in such a short time.

I have read every M/M erotic romance by this author whose characters always move me and I had been trying for some time to get her to agree to an interview and at last she consented. She probably regretted doing so when she saw the questions. g However, being the sport that she is, she sacrificed valuable ‘writing’ time to answer my questions and her fans will learn a lot about ML the author and the person, as well as see how young and beautiful she really is, as is evidenced by her most recent photograph above. 🙂

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Hi ML and thank you so much for doing this. I would like to start this interview by asking questions about your writing career

M.L. Rhodes Writer

What don’t readers know about M.L. Rhodes that you think will shock them?
ML RhodesTrueHeart
–I’m pretty much an open book on my website…I probably say more on my website already than people really want to know. 🙂 Hmm…well, maybe one thing my readers don’t necessarily know about me is that I’m married to a military man. A lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. He’s an amazing guy, totally supportive of what I do for a living. He often helps me brainstorm as I write. I wouldn’t trade him for anything!

What is the first book that you published and how difficult was it to get published?

–Man, that feels like it was a looooong time ago! The first book I ever had published was a young adult novel…a YA romance. In fact, my first two published novels were YA romances. (Maybe that might also shock some of my readers! LOL!) That would have been seven or eight years ago, I guess. YA romance was kind of a hard sell at the time, more so I think than it is now since contemporary YA romance seems to have made a comeback in the past few years at New York publishers. I submitted it to several publishers and had a couple of false starts with it. It was accepted at one publisher, but I was less than thrilled with the professionalism of the company after I was on board, so I pulled it before it ever went into the editing phase. I took it elsewhere and it was released, but ultimately that publisher closed its doors. So the third time was the charm.
M.L. Rhodes_SoulsDeep
You have been writing for some time. How has your writing evolved?

–Hahaha! Well….I went from writing sweet young adult romance to steamy romantic suspense to hetero erotic romance to gay male erotic romance. And within the M/M overall genre, I’ve branched out into fantasy and dark fantasy, which has been a blast! I read a ton of fantasy growing up, but never dreamed, even when I first started writing fourteen years ago, that I’d end up writing some fantasy novels.

What do you consider to be your most significant accomplishment as a writer?

–Truly? Every single time I finish a story I feel like it’s a HUGE accomplishment. And I really mean that.

When I first started writing, everything flowed easily for me and I finished three novels fairly quickly for a newbie. I thought it was fast anyway…three novels in about three and a half years. Considering one of them was 180,000 words (not quite War and Peace, but pretty damn long by romance novel standards), I thought I had the whole writing thing figured out. But then I went into a real slump and struggled for the next few years to finish anything. I’m not sure what started the downward spiral–maybe several things. I always wrote outside the box, hated “rules,” hated being pigeon-holed, and to make things worse, I completely wrote by the seat of my pants. So I think the more involved I got in the writing world, the more conferences I attended, how-to books I read, and the more so-called “experts” started telling me I was doing it all wrong, that I “couldn’t” do this or that, the more I shut down.

I tried really hard to blot all those pesky “here’s how it must be done” voices out of my mind, but after a while, they got to me. I continued to write as best I could–I had about four different books started and in various stages of completion, and a ton of ideas and notes for other stories–but just couldn’t seem to plow my way through any of them. It was a really dark time for me in my writing career because after a while I started wondering if those first three books were just a fluke and maybe I’d never be able to finish another one. The more I doubted myself, the worse things got. That went on for, man, I’d say three or four years. It was really wretched.

I fully cM.L. Rhodes_Bodyguardredit Amber Quill Press for giving me back my confidence. When AQP opened its Amber Heat line of erotic romance, I thought, “Well, I clearly suck at finishing any more full-length novels, so maybe I’ll try my hand at an erotic romance short story. Short is good. Maybe I can do short.” Believe me, that was a huge leap of faith on my part because I was the QUEEN of writing long (remember that 180,000 word novel? g) I honestly didn’t have a clue if I could write something short. Not a clue. But the idea of erotic romance appealed to me because I had been told forever that my sex scenes in my romance novels (or at least the parts of novels I had finished) were extremely “hot.” Oftentimes I was told they were too hot for New York publishing houses. So I gave it a go and was a nervous wreck the whole time I wrote, but also had a lot of fun at it. The result was my first hetero erotic romance short story, The Bodyguard. And that’s also when M.L. Rhodes was born. 🙂

I was quite pleased with myself at finishing a story, even if it was short. So I wrote another, which was a bit longer, novella length. And it went from there. With each consecutive story I got more confident in my ability to complete a project. But to this day, every single time I type “The End” I’m always a little bit in shock that I managed to do it again. I still always have a kernel of fear down deep inside that those dark days are going to make a bad horror movie comeback. So I never, ever take writing for granted.
ml rhodes_Falling
Can you tell us what is your most successful book to date in terms of sales? Critical acclaim? If you had to choose which would you prefer?

–Probably Falling has been my most successful book to date in terms of paperback sales. It spent months in the top three at Amazon on the gay erotica list. My other paperbacks have all done very nicely, but Falling’s been out the longest, so it had a head start over the others.

In ebook, although they haven’t been out all that long, based on the first few months of sales, Under My Skin (reviewed here) and Under My Skin II (reviewed here) have sold extremely well…they had my highest first month sales ever. Of my older releases, Out of My Mind and Souls Deep have also done exceptionally well in ebook at the Amber Allure site (Amber Allure is the GLBT imprint of Amber Quill Press) and at places like ARe and Fictionwise.

Most successful as far as critical acclaim…two series actually come to mind. The Draegan Lords series so far (True of Heart and Lords of Kellesborne, which are together in paperback under the title The Draegan Lords) has been very popular withvirtually all my readers and  the feedback on M.L. Rhodes Alwaysit from readers and reviewers has been extremely positive. The other series that’s gotten quite a lot of good “press” is the Ethan and Will series…Never Let  Go and Hearts & Bones (they’re in paperback under the title Always). Both stories have received recommended reads and reviewer’s choice awards, and Hearts & Bones was an EPPIE finalist last year.

I don’t have a preference about great sales vs. great reviews/awards. I think they both have a place in most writers’ worlds. The fact is, not every story is going to appeal to every reader. Even loyal readers have preferences as to what sub-genres they like better than others. Honestly, I just follow my heart and write what feels good to me at any given time. When I’m writing a story I put my all into it, and with each one I hope my readers will love it as much as I do. Of course I hope it’ll sell well and get great reviews, but I don’t write with those things in mind–I’m too busy living my characters lives as I write. 🙂

What advice would you offer to aspiring writers?

–Write! Write, write, write. Read a TON–and not just in the genre in which you’re writing, but across all genres. I see so many stories that have decent plots, decent characters, but the writing is stale. Reading across all genres helps bring freshness into your own writing. Learn your craft, but don’t let it rule you…you have to follow your heart, write what feels right to you, and don’t let all those “you must do it this way!” voices take over and keep you from finding and following your own voice.

You have the most incredible imagination and your stories have wonderfully complex plots especially your paranormal books. Where do you get your ideas and how do you develop your storylines? Can you tell us whether you prefer to write character or plot driven stories?
M.L. Rhodes Shattered
Thanks! All my stories, from my end as the writer, are character driven. I know they often have complex plots, but those plots evolve from the characters themselves. I am NOT a plotter. I seldom know many plot details before I begin writing. I might have a general idea of where I’m going, but I’d say 80% of what I write happens on the fly and I’m often as surprised as readers at what unfolds. For me that’s one of the best parts of writing! I have “plotter” writer friends who find this absolutely terrifying…leaping into the fray without a plan. But it works for me and I never seem to write into dead-ends. Plots just keep unfolding and unfolding and unfolding for me and it’s almost eerie how things fit into place and resolve themselves in the end. Most of my storylines develop on the page as I write. Whichever character’s point of view I’m in, I’m him for however long the scene or chapter lasts. I feel what he feels, hear what he hears, see what he sees, and react to whatever’s going on around him. So the stories are definitely character driven in that the plot that evolves is a direct result of the characters’ needs, fears, goals, and ultimately their love for one another.

The Books and the Series

M.L. Rhodes DraeganLordsLet’s talk about your books. I’m a great fan of your work and I have read all of your M/M erotic romance books. I would like to start with what I believe is your best work to date – The Draegan Lords series. There is so much that is great about this series and I’m sure that your readers want to know how you came up with the idea for these wonderful characters and their adventures which left me breathless!

–You know, strangely enough, that’s a really tough question to answer! I don’t know that there was any one moment where I thought, “Aha! I think I’ll write a story about a draegan lord and the half-human he falls in love with and they’re going to have such and such adventures.” g As with all my stories, the plot appeared as I wrote. I did, though, have one scene in particular in mind when I started the story…which was the scene where Keiran goes to the sorcerer’s dungeon and rescues Gaige after he’s been tortured.

As many of my readers have probably figured out by now, there’s something about strong men being pushed to the edge of their endurance physically and emotionally that appeals to me in a big way. That’s always been the case, even when I wrote hetero stories. I look back and see shades of it as long ago as my YA novels and my hetero romantic suspense. I’m not sure why scenarios like that have such a deep emotional impact on me, but they always have. Maybe because to me, seeing a man at his most vulnerable yet not afraid to lean on the person he loves and then find the inner strength to pull himself up by the bootstraps and carry on, speaks of incredible depth of character. I find male characters who can be both strong and vulnerable much more interesting than characters who are always one or the other. So in the case of The Draegan Lords, I had that scene, or a rough version of something like it in my head first, before I began writing. Then, when I sat down to start the story, the characters of Gaige and Keiran emerged and the plot–to use the same word I used above–“unfolded” for me.
M.L. Rhodes _LordsKellesborne
Gaige Rizik, the former White Panther and Keiran Hareldson, the Draegan Lord, have really captured my imagination as you can tell from my review of the book (here). They became unlikely lovers and seemed to have life by the tail until something horrible happened. Can you tell the fans of this series a little bit about the Fires of Ballian, the third book in the series, which picks up where The Draegan Lords ended so abruptly?

Hahaha! I knew you were going to ask about Fires of Ballian.

I can tell you that when the story opens, Gaige has his hands full in Fires of Ballian because Keiran’s disappearance has left him the sole leader of the draegan people…something which terrifies him because he feels he’s not worthy of such a position because of his past. So he’s struggling with a lot of inner doubt as he tries to do his best as leader at the same time he’s trying to deal with his grief and worry over what’s happened to Keiran. He’ll be doing everything he can to get Keiran back because he’s convinced Keiran isn’t dead. He will also rescue Jax from the high sorcerer’s clutches, and Jax will have more of a role in this story as he’s forced to deal with his own inner demons. You’ll see more of Gaige’s extended support network–the characters who rally around him at the end of Lords of Kellesborne. And they’ll discover who the spy is.

Most of what I’ve hinted at above happens in the first few chapters. Beyond that, I’m not going to say any more and give anything away! 😉

Is the Fires of Ballian going to be the last book in this series or are we going to have even more heartache at the end of this book? When is it going to be published?
M.L. Rhodes_OutOfMyMind
I’m honestly not sure if it will be the last or if there will be one more after it to finish off the series. It just depends on how long it takes to resolve everything. I think it would be better to break it into two books if it gets too long. I can’t promise there won’t be more heartache at the end of Fires of Ballian, but as of right now, that’s not in the plan…if that makes you feel better. 🙂 It’s scheduled to be published in 2009…preferably sooner in 2009 rather than later. Again, it depends on how long it ends up being and how long it takes me to finish writing it. Readers can check my website periodically, and as soon as I have a more specific idea I’ll post it there!

I believe you’re writing a sequel to another of my favourite ML books – Out Of My Mind with those hot cops Nick and Rafferty. Can you tell us something about the boys’ new adventure which I believe is going M.L. Rhodes_InTooDeepto be called In Too Deep? When can we expect an announcement about a release date?

–Yep, I am writing a sequel! And it is, indeed, called In Too Deep. It’s scheduled for publication in late December or early January–so the release is coming up soon. In Too Deep picks up a couple of months after Nick and Rafferty finally get together as lovers. As of the end of Out Of My Mind they haven’t revealed to anyone except Nick’s neighbor that they’re together as a couple, and it’s still a touchy subject because while Nick was “out” at his previous job in Boston four years before, he’s never revealed to anyone on the police force in the small town in Maine where he and Rafferty work that he’s gay. And Raff has never been with a man before at all until Nick. So In Too Deep explores how they handle it when rumors crop up on the job about Nick’s sexual orientation. Someone at work delves into his past, discovers the problems that arose in Boston, and things get ugly. Nick wants to protect Rafferty from the hate and discrimination. And Raff is torn over Nick’s wishes, his own fears of coming out, and wanting to stand up for Nick. It’s a good story, I think. 🙂

M.L. Rhodes_HeartsBones
Two of your books that I have read a number of times are Hearts and Bones and Never Let Go starring Will and Ethan. I really love this couple and I would like to see them in their new life together without Jackson hanging around, trying to kill them. You have talked about writing another story for them; is there anything you can share about the story or is it still at the very early conceptual stage?

–It’s still mostly at the conceptual stage, but I do know that it will pick up approximately one year after the end of Hearts & Bones. And I also know that Ethan is going to have a confrontation with his abusive father at some point, and that he’s going to discover he has family he never knew about. How’s that for a teaser? LOL!

Falling is another book that I have re-read a lot (is there a pattern here?). Christian and Alec saved the world the first time around and I heard that you’re writing a sequel called Magic to be released sometime in 2009. Is there a story outline that you can share with your fans?

–Let’s just say that when Alec chose to use the power of the amulet at the end of Falling, he stirred up a deep magic that was better off left dormant, and now he and Christian are going to have to deal with the consequences of that. 🙂

M.L. Rhodes_VertigoI just reviewed Vertigo (here) and Shattered. These 2 stories are dark fantasies with demons, witches and other supernatural beings. Have you always wanted to write a dark fantasy series and will you be writing any more books along these lines?

I do love dark fantasy in all its forms…books, movies, TV. (Look at my fave TV list below!) So probably, yeah, there’s been a niggle in my mind for a couple of years now to do some kind of ongoing dark fantasy series. I see the Vertigo Chronicles series as being almost like extended TV episodes. There’s an overall story arc, but each episode also has its own plot.

You’re writing a new gay fairy (snicker) tale to be released in January as part of an AmberPax. Your novella is called The Elf and the Shoemaker – is there a blurb for this story?

It’s actually called The Elf and Shoemaker (no second “the”). Logan Shoemaker is the human’s name. 🙂 He runs a magic/metaphysical store that’s not doing well at the moment. He’s broke, his electricity is about to be cut off, and things are looking pretty grim. Then one night he starts playing around with a “potion”, trying to create some kind of special blend of herbs and oils that he can sell to his customers, but he can’t quite get it right. He goes to bed a bit drunk because heElfShoemaker was drowning his sorrows in a bottle of wine, wakes up the next morning, and the potion’s done. He thinks he must have finished it before he went to bed, but he doesn’t remember how he did it because he was three sheets to the wind. g It’s an instant hit with customers (it’s an aphrodisiac), so he needs to make more (more potion = more money so he can stay in business)…except that pesky potion recipe just won’t come to him. He goes to bed disgusted with himself for not being able to remember it. That night he has erotic dreams about a hunky, ethereal guy who looks like something from Tolkien. The next morning…voila, new bottles of potion again! I’ll leave the rest for you to figure out. 🙂

There are so many other books that I want to ask questions about but one of them was probably the first M.L. Rhodes’ book that I read and it remains a favourite today – The Professor’s Secret Passion. Are there any plans to write a follow-up story about Professor Aiden Sheridan and his grad student Nathan Turner?

M.L. Rhodes_ProfessorsPassionI really like Aiden and Nate. A lot. But at this point, no, I don’t have any plans to write a sequel. I’m not saying I might not ever do one, ’cause I’ve been known to change my mind. g But nothing’s planned at the moment.

Having Fun with ML

What do you do for fun?

–I’m a complete movie addict. And I’m fairly addicted to certain TV series also. So when I have a block of free time, as long as my hubby isn’t hogging the big screen TV watching sports, I watch movies. We have like 500 DVDs. It’s sick, really. I have certain movies that I consider “comfort movies,” ones I can watch over and over and never get tired of. And I’m the same way about some TV series. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched all 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer–I watch them straight through. It usually takes me about two weeks, watching hours and hours a day. I just never get tired of that show. I’m not sure what that says about me. LOL! Right now my hubby and I are completely hooked on The Sarah Connor Chronicles…the Terminator series. It’s a fabulous show! We always watch Ugly Betty, Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Torchwood. I also read quite a bit. And I have spurts of playing computer games.

My family loves baseball, so we try to hit as many minor league games as we can (we have a triple A team in our town) and get to some major league games as well. My kids and I are on a bowling league together, so we do that every week, which is a hoot. And I recently discovered the pottery wheel. OMG, I can’t put into words how much I love making pottery on the wheel. It’s something I’d always wanted to do, so this fall my boys and I (my sons are 12 and 14) took a wheel-throwing class together. It’s not just fun, it’s also very therapeutic. We made some really awesome pieces! We’re going to continue in January when the winter session of classes start.

When I first started reading your books I was convinced you were a gay male because your protags were not “chicks with dicks”. Do you have a critique partner who is a gay man, who ensures that you “get it right” or are the characterizations all ML?

–No, no gay male critique partner. My critique partner, whom I’m adore and owe SO much to, is female and writes for Harlequin American. We’ve critiqued together for about eleven years and she’s followed me from YA all the way to M/M. For better or worse, my characterizations are all my own. Now don’t get me wrong…I read a ton of gay fiction, much of it written by gay men, I read a lot of gay nonfiction, I have gay friends, and I also know how to Google with the best of ’em. So for a straight woman, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on gay male life. But I’ll never know it intimately, obviously, because I’ll never be a gay man. And, the truth is, while I always strive to be as accurate as possible in my portrayals of gay-specific issues, especially when I write contemporary pieces (I think all authors have a lot of leeway in fantasy stories), it’s not really my intention to pass myself off as a gay man. I’m a woman who writes gay male erotic romance for the reading pleasure of both men and women, and I’m perfectly fine and comfortable with that fact. 🙂
M.L. Rhodes NeverLetGo
I LOVE baseball especially minor league ball and whenever I see a M/M story about ballplayers I inhale it, even if the story is badly written. You have said that you love baseball, and I would like to ask why haven’t you written a M/M book starring two hot gay baseball players for those readers who love sports? Just asking!

–Hehehe! I DO love baseball! And I love reading M/M sports stories in general. I just haven’t had one come to me to be written. Yet. There’s always hope!

A large number of M/M readers love gay cowboys and, given the popularity of this sub genre, why is it that I have never read a cowboy story that you have written even though you have explored most topics? Do you have something against guys from Texas who walk around with a swagger and call women Ma’am? g (I’m not sure about my characterization of gay cowboys but it’s the best I can do).

–Hey, I love cowboys as much as the next gal (or guy)! I grew up listening to the old cowboy recording artists, watching Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns and anything with John Wayne in it (True Grit was the first movie I ever saw in a theater), and reading Zane Gray books. My dad was a western lover and it rubbed off on me. Plus, I grew up in a small community on the plains of eastern Colorado, so cowboys were kind of the norm…I went to school with a slew of them. Like the baseball, story, I just haven’t have had a cowboy story come to me yet. I expect eventually I will and when it does, I’ll write it! I promise!

You switched from het romances to M/M over two years ago. A number of writers have told us their reasons for writing this genre. So, why does ML love to write about hot men who are naked under the sheets doing the nasty? Is it because you can’t pee standing up and you want your characters to show you how? g

LOL! You’re so bad! 🙂 I write M/M romance because, plainly and simply, I love the genre. Love, love, love it! The reality of two men meeting, making love, and navigating the pitfalls of love and romance to find their happily ever after turns my insides to wonderful, writhing knots of pleasure. What can I say? g It’s become a very popular genre over the past few years, and by “popular” I mean more mainstream and easier for readers to find. But in reality, women have been reading and writing tales of M/M romance for a long, long time. The Internet has just made it easier to find, both in the form of free slash fiction and professionally published gay male romance and erotic romance. The ‘Net is how I discovered it. Once I found it as a reader and began devouring it, there was no question I had to try my hand at writing it as well. I’ve written in a lot of genres and, for me, nothing else compares. It’s by far and away my favorite!
M.L. Rhodes WellHung
And in truth, I’ve always loved writing from the male point of view–even in my hetero stories it was my preference. I find it far more fascinating than writing from the female point of view. I’m honestly not sure why that is. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman, and women, in general, don’t hold a ton of secrets for me as a gender. Whereas men are always a wonderfully complex concoction of strengths that I’m not sure any woman has ever fully comprehended. Which, to me, makes them eminently alluring. g And in M/M romance I get to write from not just one man’s point of view, but two!

What do you really think about when you’re writing those hot sex scenes between two guys?

–As I said before, I am the characters as I write, so whatever’s happening, I’m in the thick of it rather than sitting on the sidelines as a voyeur. Which is always advantageous! g

Some gay men have complained about women writing gay erotica and M/M stories because they feel that the female authors don’t get it right? (Like, is this hard?) Do gay male readers ever critique your sex scenes and if so, do you draw rude pictures to show that you do get it right and email them to the complainants? 🙂


–I had one review online once where a gay man hated the book and went on for a full paragraph about how I’d gotten it all wrong. The relationship was wrong, the sex was wrong, and basically he said I had no business writing gay male fiction because I was the wrong gender. He made derogatory remarks about women writers of M/M stories in general, saying they pretty much always get it wrong. He clearly wasn’t a fan of any women-written M/M. Which is fine…that’s his bias and I respect that. But in my experience, not all gay men think that way. Many of my most loyal and complimentary readers are gay men.

I’ve seen several blogs and comments where gay men have been less than enthusiastic about women writing in this genre. Again, I totally respect their opinions, but it doesn’t stop me from doing what I love. I wrote about straight men for years before I began writing about gay men. I’m not a man, period. I’ll never be able to really know what it feels like to wear a male skin regardless of sexual orientation. But as a professional writer, it’s my job to research and, as accurately as possible, get into the heads and bodies of all my characters no matter who they are and what they’re doing (including sex). I’ve also never been a vampire, a cop, a werewolf, Hispanic, an FBI agent, a spy, a PhD scientist, been mugged, shot at, held prisoner and tortured, or been jilted at the altar. Yet I’ve written characters who are or have done all those things.
M.L. Rhodes UnderMySkin
I’d venture to say that very few successful authors write only about their own personal life experience. As fiction authors, we’re constantly learning, researching, and venturing into new territory for us. The bottom line is that most fiction, and especially popular genre fiction, isn’t meant to be used as case study for real life. Most of it is meant to entertain. If an author is drawing in readers who can’t put the story down and who feel a pang of loss when it’s over, then that author has done his/her job regardless of how “real-life” the story is.

The way I see it, I’m in this business to tell good, emotional stories with complex and sympathetic characters that readers can sink their teeth into and in which they can invest themselves. I do it because that’s what I want as a reader. I’m not going to please every reader every time. I don’t expect to. I have a large readership of both women and gay men. Much of my reader feedback and mail (the majority of it, actually), comes from gay men who thank me for writing stories with real, in-depth emotion in them and hot sex scenes. For them, what I write obviously resonates on some level. But I don’t expect my stories to appeal to all gay men anymore than I expect them to appeal to all women. I’m not offended in the least when they don’t because that’s the beauty of the world…so many options from which to choose. Which is why I think there’s plenty of room for all types of fiction written by all types of authors. 🙂

Why all the different jobs on the way to becoming a writer and do you write full-time?

snort Because it took me forever to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up! No, actually I guess I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up…I knew in high school I wanted to be a writer. It just took me several years to talk myself into really doing it. I had this nagging voice in my head that kept telling me I needed to get a “real” job…whatever the hell that was supposed to mean. But by the time I was 29, I’d been out of college for seven years, I’d started a masters degree, I’d done all kinds of odd jobs and volunteer work, and I was no closer to that mysterious “real” job than I’d been in high school. That’s when I finally realized I was probably just dawdling and stalling until I worked up the gumption to say I was a writer. So I sat down at the computer, started writing, and never looked back.
M.L. Rhodes_Vertigo
I have a “day” job alongside my writing, but I work from home doing it, so my time is often flexible. There are weeks I don’t get any writing done if I have other things going on, but then a book deadline will loom, and for two or three weeks straight I’ll write fifteen hours a day, seven days a week and it becomes not just a full-time job, but an all-the-time job. I’m not very good at pacing myself…never have been. I’m kind of an all or nothing girl. When I start something, I’m pretty much consumed by it until it’s finished…whether it’s writing a book, or watching seven straight seasons of Buffy in one stretch. g

You have traveled more than the rest of us. What fascinated you about Venice, Italy that it’s your favourite all-time travel destination? I live in Canada and I notice you visited The Great White North (that’s what the natives call it lovingly). Which Canadian Province did you visit and what were your impressions? Were the locals driving cars in the summer or snowmobiles? g

–I don’t know that Venice is my all time fave travel destination (I have a love affair with Disney World that just won’t go away…), but it’s definitely the most interesting place I’ve ever been! The canals instead of streets are just wild and way cool. I mean, they have real streets there, too, but there’s water, water everywhere. People take water taxis and water ferries there as a matter of course, or they walk. And I found the Italians, in general, to be extremely friendly and fun loving. Plus the history of Venice and the architecture are fascinating.

I was in Canada years ago, as a teenager. I was with a group and we drove across Ontario, just north of the Great Lakes, and into a corner of Manitoba, then back down into the US. It was summertime, so no snowmobiles. LOL! I remember that it was very green and very clean and tidy. And I remember eating at McDonalds and trying to figure out why the heck they served packets of vinegar with the French fries. g

Why do you have cats and live in the middle of a pine forest if you’re allergic to both? And what’s with all the animals and fishes?

Uh…because I’m a woman of many passions and I think with my heart instead of my head? g Seriously, I love animals–all animals–so I’d rather live with the allergies than not have my cats (or dogs, or hamsters, or fish!). And I love the mountains! I’d far rather be living in the foothills of the mountains like I do rather than in a generic suburb of a city somewhere. Certain times of year when the pines trees are producing pollen can be uncomfortable, but we just have good air purifiers in the house to help combat it. But it means no real Christmas tree in our house…we’ve always had an artificial one. That’s not a huge issue, though, since I can see hundreds of live ones covered in snow from my office window, which are much prettier than a cut tree inside anyway!

What’s with all the tats? Did you do lose a bet? 🙂

ML mybacktattoo_smallHehehe! I got my first tattoo in my early thirties as kind of a rebellion thing. Not sure what or whom I was rebelling against…maybe myself because I’d always been such a “good girl” growing up and in my twenties. So I hit thirty and that’s when life really began and I started to live for myself rather than trying to please everyone. We were living in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the time. I got a wild hair to get a tattoo, so I drove down Central Avenue, found a tattoo parlor, went in, and got one. It wasn’t the greatest piece of art in the world, believe me, but it served its purpose. And I knew as soon as I got it that eventually I’d have more.

It took another ten years before I got another, and at that point I was done with being wimpy about them. I wanted nice pieces with lots of color. So in the past two years I’ve gotten three. I have a baby dragon and flowers on the inside of my right ankle, a large female dragon and flowers on the outside of my right calf, and a pretty good-sized piece on my back that’s got a Celtic flavor to it–it’s actually based on a piece of art done by Welsh artist Jen Delyth. Each one means something to me. The one on my back is my favorite so far. I have plans for a few more–one for my upper arm and across my shoulder, one for my other ankle, and then maybe some tie-in pieces on my back, although I haven’t decided on that for sure. I have a great tattoo artist now, Catt Stark, whom I adore, so I expect he’ll be seeing more of me over the next couple of years. I love well done body art–on women and men!

With all the aquariums and koi fountains and just water, water, everywhere at your place, I take it living in the desert is not a future option for you? (I was thinking maybe Kuwait with all those sheiks) g

I’ve actually never lived near water. Well, I take that back. We lived in Virginia for a few years and our house was on a lake. But you couldn’t really see the lake from the house because there were so many trees, so it’s not like we had a lake “view.” You had to walk down to it and get past the trees first. But other than that, I’ve always been landlocked. Which is maybe why the water stuff appeals to me so much…it’s my way of keeping in touch with my inner mermaid or something. g

Thank you ML. I do appreciate the time you took out of your very busy schedule to answer my questions and I look forward to all of your upcoming releases, especially
Fires of Ballian, In Too Deep, and Magic. I really can’t wait and I wish 2009 was here already! I’m also looking forward to The Elf and Shoemaker next month.

Thank YOU, Wave!! You ask great questions….and you don’t skimp on them either! LOL! This is the most fun I’ve had doing an interview!

In closing this interview I just want to say again that I hope that ML will consider writing a few books starring my favourite men — cowboys and ball players — (selfish of me). g But I KNOW that I’m not the only reader who can’t get enough of these men! ….
And ML, about McDonalds serving vinegar with fries in Canada …. doesn’t everyone douse their fries in vinegar?? g

M.L. Rhodes contact information
email: ml@mlrhodeswriting.com
Website: www.mlrhodeswriting.com
My Space: myspace.com/mlrhodeswriting

M.L. Rhodes Backlist
The Professor’s Secret Passion
Souls Deep

Falling

True of Heart
Couplings (paperback containing The Professor’s Secret Passion and Souls Deep)

Never Let Go

Hearts and Bones
Always
(paperback containing Never Let Go & Hearts and Bones)
Out of My Mind
Lords of Kellesborne

The Draegan Lords (paperback containing True of Heart and Lords of Kellesborne)

Under My Skin
Under My Skin II

Under My Skin Books I and II (paperback with the two stories)
Vertigo

Shattered
The Vertigo Chronicles Vol. 1 (paperback containing Vertigo and Shattered)

The backlist containing ML’s hetero erotic stories is on her website

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

23 comments

  • I hope so too 🙂 This one wasso cool because it felt like th two of you were simply having a conversation 😀 And she was very generous with loooong answers. 😉

    Reply
  • Mary
    How you wound me! I did not pester her about baseball – I just “happened” to mention it.

    This is one of my favourite interviews b/c ML reveals a lot of herself in between talking about her books. A lot of authors are only interested in “selling” their writer persona so it’s refreshing when I find someone who is so genuine. I have been really lucky so far with a lot of the authors I interview and I hope that this trend continues.

    Reply
  • And oooooh, I just wanted to add that I recently found out about all your non M/M books and I was totally thrilled to see that you’d written a Phantom of the Opera story!!!! I’m a rabid Phan, I devoured POTO fanfiction for years. Masks is in the top 5 stories I’m getting the second I allow myself to buy books again 😀

    Reply

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