Today I’m interviewing author DJ Manly who has a huge fan base and is known to readers all over the world. I’m going to try and find out what makes DJ tick by asking him to tell us about himself so that we can get to know him a little better.
Hi DJ and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed on the site. I understand you’re a professor in RL which made me curious – what’s a prof. doing writing M/M romance? 🙂
First thanks for the invite. Good question. My first love is writing but I’ve always had a talent for teaching. I taught in university when I was a grad student (no choice, I was on scholarship and had to) but I decided that I liked it. Students told me I had a good way of explaining things, making them understand in everyday language and I made people laugh so they enjoy my classes. I’m a cut up. What can I say?
Could you tell us a little more about DJ the author and DJ the person?
Damn, I think they’re the same. I’m really easy to get along with but I can be a little impatient, and I really can’t stand people who talk a lot but say nothing. If you have a position, you better be prepared to back it up. I am a strong supporter of human rights and have always stuck up for the underdog. I like to pull up my sleeves and take action but over a nice meal and a few glasses of wine, I’m afraid I can become quite the philosopher. I love music of all kinds, especially rock and I like to have a good time. I guess I’m a caring person. I think of others before myself and I’d much prefer to give than receive (I know, have a field day with that one)! My writing is me. If you were to ask me what I’d want to be doing in the last twenty four hours of my life, I’d say writing a book.
What do you find most challenging about writing and what’s most rewarding other than the fans?
Finishing a book that I’m happy with is one thing. If I’m not happy with the perspective, I’ll change it five times. I’m getting fussier and fussier as I get older, more self critical. The most challenging thing about writing for me is the time it takes. I don’t have enough hours in the day and my friends complain I don’t spend any time with them. Sometimes my head is elsewhere too and I have to remind myself not to be so selfish. Writing is a very self centered activity when you think about it and sometimes it seems everyone wants a piece of me. I don’t give them enough of my time. Over the holidays people made me promise I wouldn’t spend all my time writing. I refrained but it was tough. I was pretty frustrated at times but I bit the bullet and I have to admit, it was pleasant to concentrate on something besides my obsession…now…back to work!!
Eden Winters, an author and a fan, had a few questions for you
What inspires your storytelling?
I guess everything around me, my life, my fears, my hopes and dreams. Life inspires and the hope that life can always get better, people can evolve and become better human beings. I think my characters often take that journey in my books.
Are your characters purely creations of your own mind or do you picture someone in particular to bring them to life?
Sometimes they are fractions of people I know or fractions of me. Sometimes they are ideal types although they are still infused with human frailty. There is no such thing as a perfect man, or woman. We all have flaws. I think a character can be likeable in spite of that. Let’s hope so or no one would like anyone.
What helps you work around writer’s block?
Nothing! It’s a curse and there is no cure. I dread it, I hate it and I don’t want it. Thankfully with me, it doesn’t last long, or I leave what I’m working on and write something else. Sometimes I’m working on three things at the same time.
Your first book that I reviewed about 3 years ago was Payment Due and it’s still my favourite DJ Manly book. I do like So Much More Than Naked as well which is now a series. Your career is exploding. You’re also expanding further by writing a couple of series with AJ Llewellyn. I know AJ’s version of how that came about – what’s your version? 🙂
It was really weird. Once upon a time…and that’s appropriate…because it’s a bit of a fairy tale, I had a terrible writing experience when I invited a few novices to write a book with me. I wanted to give them a hand but damn, it was brutal. I said, never again. I ended up finishing the book myself. I noticed A.J. on the Extasy author group, a new writer and I thought, this one is different than the others. This one has something. And out of the blue, I asked him to write a book with me. I just knew he could write, although I’d never read him. That’s the truth. I can’t explain it. We wrote a book together and it was painless and I said, hey, I like this, let’s do it again. So we did. Again and again!
To what do you attribute your success as a writer?
My success? That’s a big word. And I thank you for using it but I’m not sure I’m comfortable with it. If I thought I was successful, I’d get cocky. I guess I was out there plugging what I liked to write before it was really popular to do so. This genre has really evolved and I’ve noticed that I’ve evolved as well. I never expected this genre to be this popular. I’ve been lucky. I write what I love and there are readers who love it too. I can’t ask for more than that. There is sometimes one book that is the turning point in someone’s career. I’m not sure I’ve written that one yet but I will.
Most writers that I interview tell me that they have to write – they have this urge that they can’t control. Is writing in your blood as well? Do you consider writing your vocation?
Yes, I have to write. It’s my curse, my joy, my agony, and as essential to me as air.
As a writer, what’s the most important aspect of your profession?
As a Canadian I was surprised and pleased to learn that you’re Canadian as well (at least I think you are, based on something you said in another interview). I assume you live or lived in Quebec since you mentioned that you speak French every day. How do you find writing M/M for a mostly American audience? Do you have to change anything other than some of the locations in your contemporary books to US locations? I understand that you have a lot of international fans in France and Italy and I hope that this interview will give you even more international exposure when it goes live, since bloggers from over 160 countries access this site. 🙂
I set my books all over the place but mostly in the U.S. and Canada. I grew up near the American border in Canada. Some of my Dad’s cousins lived in the States and I had a great-great uncle who died in California during the gold rush. I don’t really adjust my books for the U.S. except to change my spell checker to U.S. I remember an editor I had once asking me if I was British. We use the British spelling in Canada so that was really funny.
I liked the Love Most Inconvenient series which Tj reviewed on the site. Are you planning any more stories in this series?
Yes. And Thanks. I sometimes get inspired to write theme stories. At one time I found short stories challenging then one day I sat down and said, do it. So I did and I got addicted. The length really affords me a break from longer stories.
You have written a number of paranormal series – what is your fascination with vamps, weres and demons?
I like the idea of living forever then I could write forever…wow…think of the great writer I’d become. I like to write paranormal when life seems mundane. I think everyone is fascinated with the paranormal, ghosts and vampires, and werewolves…the idea of immortality, of beings with extraordinary talents…is just fun to write.
He Scores is another of your books that I like because I love sports. Can I look forward to other sports oriented stories from you?
You never know. If a sports setting suits the story, you’ll have one. I have to love hockey, I come from hockey land. I like soccer too and gave you a soccer player in one of the LMI anthologies. Personally I’m not the type to sit in front of the television and watch sports all day long. I’d much rather go to a live game or play!
Cherished Displacement, a historical time travel story, was released a few weeks ago. Tell us about why you wanted to write this story which is a little different from your most recent books?
I think you’re going to find my books getting a little deeper. This is a full length novel. I decided to respond to readers who complained they wanted longer stories from me. I got into a historical groove a while back with the Gladiator series and I guess I’m still on it, that and thrillers. I really wanted to take my characters back to another time. The idea that your true love is in another time zone really appealed to me. I won’t stop writing the kind of books my readers expect but I think they’re going to find that my books have evolved, gotten a little more literary.
What’s next for DJ?
I’m writing another thriller because for some reason every time I do, it goes to the best seller list. For a writer, that’s a good reason. Someone is trying to tell me something. It seems I have developed some talent as of late for scaring the crap out of people! There will also be a sequel to Blood Pond* sometime in the future, a final book in the Gladiator series which will focus on the next generation, and an exciting new series with AJ Llewellyn called Blood Slave: Nibiru Vampire Warriors. This will take the form of a chapter a month like the old serial stories you used to find in newspapers of old. This series is really exceptional.
Also look for Weeping Roses, House of Driscoll 2 and Melting Ice 3
*Blood Pond is nominated in the category Best Thriller/Romantic Suspense/Mystery Book-2010 in the LRC Best of 2010 Awards.
Thank you DJ. I appreciate the time.
DJ Manly Contact Information