Today I’m interviewing William Maltese, multi published, award winning author who has been writing for several decades, and his fans can’t wait for his next release and the next one, and the next one …… Here’s a look at William’s very brief bio:
WILLIAM MALTESE’s over four decades of writing more than 200-published novels has earned him his long-standing listing in WHO’S WHO IN AMERICA as well as foreign-language editions of his work in over twelve different countries.
Is it true that you’ve written over 200 books to date? Can you remember what it was like to get your acceptance letter for your first book?
The count is now definitely over 200. Don’t ask me how many over, though, because presently I don’t have a clue. I wrote my first book as a joke, reading it chapter by chapter each night, usually drunk on my ass, to friends as equally drunk, all for a few laughs. When I had my 40,000 words, I merely figured that was a lot of time and effort that I’d devoted to it, and I wondered if there was the vaguest chance I might get paid for it. Had that first manuscript not sold, my writing career would have been nipped in the bud, right then and there, at least as far as writing erotic novels.
Were you around in the bad old days with authors like Victor J. Banis, when gay authors were persecuted, literally, by the Feds, for no other reason than being gay? Do you think we have come far enough in terms of human rights since those times?
You know, though I did come along at pretty much the same time as Victor, if a bit later, I escaped all of the persecution that Victor endured. I never really looked upon that time, nor do I even now, as “bad old days”. My participation in that phenomenon was pretty much “out of the loop”. All of my manuscripts were submitted via snail mail, from a distance. All of my checks were received by snail mail at a distance. I thought there were plenty of gay pulp books out there, and plenty of gay writers writing them, and that I’d just stumbled upon both by sheer accident; when, in fact, there weren’t that many of us around at the time, and a lot of what we were writing was new, innovative and never-having-happened-before.
Perhaps because I’ve succeeded in straight publishing, as well as gay, I’ve not really suffered slings and arrows because of who I am, or because of what I’ve written. Even in those early days, when I was inadvertently playing such a major role in the beginnings of gay fiction, I was, also, writing straight erotica which made me decidedly popular and acceptable to Seattle’s straight art crowd that was genuinely welcoming of someone who wrote smut but didn’t look like a dirty old man.
What is your proudest achievement as an author?
My longevity … my body of work, and the fact that neither has been compartmentalized. Consistently, I’ve written and had published pretty much every genre, children’s book and cookbook included, gay and straight.
Which is your best selling book to date?
LOVE’S EMERALD FLAME. It was my first book for Harlequin. It was the second book of their then newly-launched SuperRomance imprint. Up until that time, Harlequins had been reprints of Mills and Boon (a Brit publisher) books. Superromances were originals, and the brain-child of Senior Editor George Glay who was determined to bring Harlequins out of their puritanism and into the present age by providing sex and plotting a tad more complicated than girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy back, happy-ever-after ending, no screwing.
In addition to Harlequin and category romance, many women today enjoy both M/M romances as well as one-hand reads® (yes, I know that you have the trademark on that term, and you’ll probably make me pay for using it in this interview)*g* Do you think this is a sign that women have evolved and become more like their male counterparts when it comes to erotica? Is this a bad or good thing, in your opinion?
I do own trademark rights to the phrase “one-hand read®”. And while I won’t require that you pay me for the right to use it, here and now, you being as cute as you are, you’d better attach the registered trademark icon, or I’ll sue your sexy ass from here to Tuesday. As for today’s women enjoying m/m romances, I suspect it’s not really a sign of any evolution of their species, but a coming to light of what they’ve probably enjoyed all along . Whether or not women suddenly having become major consumers of the m/m genre is bad or good is a subjective determination, isn’t it? Certainly, they have a tendency to make gay love more romantic than it really is, assigning it the same emotional values of straight or Lesbian courtship. While a guy can readily get into wham-bam-thank-you-man sex for sex’s sake, and can get turned on by reading it, women tend to be turned on by mental involvement with which men wouldn’t be bothered in real time.
In your opinion has the advent of M/M romances changed how gay men are perceived by straight women? Do you believe that if this opinion has changed, is it better or worse? Why?
The transference of female emotions onto gay fictional characters may make gay men, in general, come across to women as better men than their straight male counterparts, if just because gay men, word-painted with the universal, albeit artificial guise, of being so often so truly kind, caring, loving, and considerate, have morphed into the female ideal of the perfect mate and lover. Is that a good or bad thing? I’m for anything that makes gayness more acceptable. If in the end, it’s a totally unrealistic way of seeing gay men, how many women are actually going to know they’re indulging in pure illusion?
Did you write Harlequin Romances strictly for the money, or did you enjoy writing these innocent romances as a change of pace from your other writing?
I’m a true believer that variety is the spice of life. That includes my sex life which is multi-faceted and includes women as well as men. Certainly, it includes my writing, in that I’ve always found “writing heterosexual”, whether erotic or mainstream, a genuinely welcome change of pace. Am I ever inspired to write heterosexual because it sells better than to write gay, if just because there’s a larger straight consumer base? Most writers, including me, want a maximum monetary return on their investment of time and effort.
As for the Harlequins I wrote being innocent, I only wrote the SuperRomances which entirely escaped the original Harlequin mold and took an entirely new sexual direction. You want to read the first Harlequin shower sex scene, or the first Harlequin heroine getting eaten out by her lover, check out my early Harlequin books.
What types of books do you enjoy reading when you have the time to read?
I really enjoy a good political intrigue, out-and-out espionage thriller, or an adventure novel. I particularly enjoy fiction or non-fiction that includes a Roman Empire theme, preferably pre-Christian.
I noticed that you have a whole line of merchandise to support your SUCKS: BOOK #1 OF THE DRAQUAL VAMPYRE CHRONICLES, and that whole series.
I majored in advertising/marketing and know how it always helps when there are “things out there” that can call attention to a book, other than just the book, itself, or its author spouting off about the book. Supplemental marketing of such products as my line of DRAQUAL SANDBLASTED JEANS, or my line of DRAQUAL SILK BATIK KERCHIEFS, MEN’S SILK UNDERWEAR, custom-made candles by Jfay, and my estate-bottled DRAQUAL VODKA, DRAQUAL TEQUILA, and DRAQUAL CABERNET SAUVIGNON, allows word of my book to reach segments of the population that might not give a fig about a gay vampyre but can be turned on by one-of-a-kind fashion, candles, or liquor, or whatever.
The two books in your Stud Draqual Mystery Series (not to be confused with the first book of your Vlad Draqual Vampyre Series; Stud and Vlad are distant cousins) are very popular. Why did you make Stud hetero? Was this a deliberate attempt to expand the potential readership for the series?
I can’t tell you how many gay readers are absolutely livid that, in this day and age, Stud hasn’t “come completely out of his closet”. And I always tell those irate readers that just because it’s easier to come out these days than it was in a past, that doesn’t mean that every gay is now universally inclined to be labeled “gay”, especially since, though we’ve come a long way, Baby, it’s proven, everyday, that prejudices do still exist in our society.
All of that said, I have to admit that Stud not being out-and-out gay did play a part in the book being chosen by a mainstream German publisher to go German-language edition. So, whether I planned it that way or not, Stud’s ambiguity as regards his seuxality does allow for this series to have the crossover readership, gay and straight, that has increased its market base.
One of your books that I hope to read and review is DIARY OF A HUSTLER. What can you tell the readers about this book that would make them want to buy it?
I have been told that DIARY (like my SLOVAKIAN BOY) has been so well-received because it is simply a “fun” read. I got weary of so many books on the subject providing only deep-dark angst-ridden tales of how horrific the life is for the kids forced to sell themselves on the streets just to survive it. And while I’ll be the first to admit, it IS a horrible existence for any kid forced into the business, there are hustlers who not only enjoy what they do but have the keen business sense and charm and flair and know-it-all to do it well, just like any other go-getter intent upon making a success in any kind of business.
You’re quite the adventurer, having trekked Egypt, Yucatan and Oz and parts in between. Which of all your adventures is the most memorable and why?
The first, if just because it was the first. There was something genuinely mind-boggling (as I now see it) to my decision, taken between my junior and senior years of university, to just set on out with some friends into the wilds of the Amazonian Matto Grosso in search of Inca treasure, based solely on a treasure map found in the Appendix of an obscure scientific botanical text from the university library. I mean, I genuinely felt like a character in an Edgar Rice Burrough or H.G. Rider novel. And, of course, the story that resulted became my very first published piece.
How would you like to be remembered? (I interviewed another author who actually wrote her own obit – a fun one of course, where she was buried in space.)
You know, I really don’t much care if I’m remembered at all. I’m not one of these people hung up on what does or doesn’t happen once I’m dead and gone. I much prefer being known now and reaping, personally, whatever benefits can be had and enjoyed in the present.
I understand that you had three nude portraits hung in a gallery in London which were done by British artist Charlie P! Do you think you might have another show featuring new nude portraits or maybe a bronze this time? If so, which painter/photographer/sculptor would you like to immortalize you?
I’ve had the genuine good fortune of knowing a lot of talented people in my time, artisans interested in “doing me” among them. If you know of a present-day Rodin out there, be sure and let him know I’m definitely interested. Same thing for a naked me in marble, if there’s a Michaelangelo lurking anywhere in the wings.
Presently, I’m all hot to add a piece of pottery to my collection, like a vase, done by an exceptional German artist Hinrich Kröger. This guy is just so talented, and the idea of me on a superb piece of his pottery, like all of those Greco-Roman figures on ancient master-craftsmen ceramics genuinely turns me on.
What advice would you give an aspiring author in today’s competitive market other than “Write what you like?”:)
I’d say just to write and keep on writing, at each and every opportunity, whether you publish or not — which is, after all, what a real writer does naturally (good indication that you “are” a writer), in that you’ve no other choice, driven as you are by something deep inside, but to put your thoughts and imaginings down on paper or on the computer screen.
What are you currently working on? I meant books of course.:)
Good thing you said “books”, because I was just about to say, “You!”
There’s my ongoing pre-publication (spring 2010) twice-a-week (free, I might add) serialization of my teen-angst vampire, werewolf, warlock, witch, dragon, demon, chimera, shape-shifter, candle-reader novel, FLICKER: TEEN-WARRIOR SAGA, on My Space — http://www.myspace.com/flickerwarriors. This one is done in partnership with candle artisan Jfay who has made some absolutely stupendous candles to go with the story-line, as well as having done the wax voodoo doll that one of my characters pin-pricks to get back at his high-school coach.
I’m about to begin final proofing on my mainsteam Australian adventure/romance novel, DARE TO LOVE IN OZ, for Savant.
I’m writing I, DEBAUCHEE, the first of my “I” series for MLR Press. I’m also contracted with that publisher to do I,HUSTLER, ARMY BOY, NAZI BOY, LOVE ON THE BIAS: LOVE IN FASHION; BOOK #2 OF THE DRAQUAL VAMPYRE CHRONICLES, and ENSLAVED: STORIES OF SEX AND SLAVERY IN ANCIENT ROME…
I’m involved in a collaboration with Jardonn Smith for a m/m period piece, GRIT, for MLR Press. I’ve just contracted with Wildside/Borgo to do MALTESE’S FAMOUS FIRST WORDS, a compilation of the first two paragraphs of all of my novels, gay and straight, in chronological order. For the same publisher, I’m contracted to do a couple of additional m/f novels, AMAZIN’ MURDERS and VIPERS NEST INTRIGUE.
What books do you have coming up in the next 3 – 6 months?
Well, before yesterday, I could have said, THE GLUTEN-FREE-WAY: MY WAY, my help cookbook, that I wrote with my niece. But, it just got listed on amazon.com.
I’ve the political intrigue m/m (except for a lead-off m/f sex scene) novel, TOTAL MELTDOWN, that I’ve written with Gary Martine for Wildside Borgo Press. This one should be popping out of the pipeline any day now.
There are three anthologies scheduled, in which I’ll have stories, all for MLR Press: RED, MELT THE SLOPES, and TO DIE FOR (although the latter is still a tentative title).
With your extensive backlist, how do you keep track of your books in terms of sales information? Are you ever concerned that you have so much money you’ll never be able to spend it all before you depart this world?
I let my publishers keep track for me, except for my checking the royalty statements that arrive several times a year. As for “all that money”, no matter how much there is, I can ALWAYS spend it faster than it comes in.
WILLIAM MALTESE UNPLUGGED
In this section, we talk about fun things that have nothing to do with writing. There’s a hot tub here which is kept pretty hot, and some of the guys have complained that their parts get scorched.
My first question is, what would you do if you had burned parts? Douse them in ice cold water, rub vaseline on them, run screaming to the freezer for ice cream to put on the burn? *g* Invite someone into the tub to do some healing therapy? What?
You sexy thing. You’ve made this hot-rod of mine so hot that I could crawl into this tub, water stone cold, and have it and you steaming in no time.
Have you ever been in a three or four way? Was it fun or too gross for words?
Yes and yes and (if you want to throw in a few more people) yes. What they were, each time (more than once for each), was “interesting”.
Which of your characters would you like to go to bed with? Why?
Oh, doing Stud Draqual would be fun. Just because it would be kind of narcissitic and acceptably incestuous, at one and the same time. Besides which, that guy needs a good gay lay, and I’m sure I could win him over to the gay side if anyone could. After him, I’m thinking either Joey, from DIARY OF A HUSTLER, or Pavel from SLOVAKIAN BOY. They both just seem nice, fun guys, and I like nice fun guys. And just by way of proving that tall, dark, handsome, and mysterious is A-OK, too, I wouldn’t kick Jeff from THAI DIED out of my bed, either.
Which of these descriptions would you fit you best – Straight? Bi? Gay? Complicated? All of the above? *g* If you do bat for the other team, what kind of man turns William on?
Probably “complicated” because it really does depend upon the other person or persons, the place, and the circumstances, as to who I am at any given moment of any given day.
There is, of course, a kind of man I prefer, although I’ve made a concentrated effort, over the years, to turn myself on while imagining and writing sex that includes me and all sorts of people, nationalities, looks, physiques, ages, IQs … because I’ve always known that my readers have sexual preferences more varied than my narrower physical and mental specifications for the ideal bed partner.
You used 29 pseuds during your writing career. Have you ever used the wrong pseud for one of your Harlequin books. You know, something really obscene? 🙂
Naughty! Naughty, Jessewave! But, no!
Have you ever had sex in public in the day time with a public official or someone really important? Can you give us details?
Yes. Yes. Yes and Yes. No.
Why do many M/M romances and gay fiction make such a big deal about the size of the guy’s equipment? Is this wish fulfillment do you think?
The world is full of guys with regular-size dicks, I included, and I don’t have anything against them (ordinary guys and/or our ordinary cocks). In fact, I actually prefer a cock that’s six inches to one that’s horse-size, the latter invariably leaving me clueless as to what to do with it, except maybe pet it and make it drool. I’m always hearing from men and women who insist that not all of the cocks in all of the m/m books need be so big, BUT books full of big cocks sell consistently, while I’ve yet to read any best-seller with a thimble-dick hero. People read to escape ordinary lives chockablock with ordinary people with ordinary cocks. They want to spread their wings (and legs) in worlds different from their own. It’s like — if you’re going to imagine yourself with money, why stop at daydreaming yourself with just a few thousand bucks; why not go for millions while you’re at it?
Before you go, William, can you tell us something funny about yourself? I know you’re a very funny man because I have read some of your other interviews and I don’t want you saying that this is your most boring interview ever, like watching paint dry.:)
Actually, Jessewave, my sweet little cutie-pie, this interview was more like watching grass grow. That has more to do with me, though, than with you, doesn’t it? Now … why don’t you let me towel you off after our little get-to-know-each-other hot-tub (hot-tube?) experience?
Thank you William.
My pleasure, Jessewave.
William Maltese has been our guest today and I would like to thank him for taking the time to drop by. As you can tell from this interview, William is an extremely busy man with many projects underway at the same time, and I really appreciate that he has graced the website with his presence. His interview has been revealing, scintillating, and, above all, sexy and funny – not necessarily in that order.:) I hope that William will visit us again when he has some new projects underway such as a new bronze sculpture. By the way William, I actually read and enjoyed Love’s Emerald Flame a few years ago.*g*
A few years ago, huh? That does mean, you should get your cute ass on down to the bookstore and start reading all of the books I’ve written since then, Jessewave. Shall we head off there, together, here and now? Don’t forget your money bags!
William Maltese’s Contact Information