Today I’m pleased to interview Eden Winters who has been a “regular” on the site for many years. Eden has written 7 novels and 17 shorter stories since she was first published a few years ago — quite an achievement. Congratulations to Eden for Settling the Score being named as a finalist in the Gay Romance category for the 2012 LAMBDA awards.
Hi Eden. Great to have you here. Draw up a chair, have a glass of wine and relax. Why don’t we start with you telling us something fun about yourself that no one knows. 😀 It has to be something really juicy.
I drink my wine from the bottle? Shucks, nothing really juicy to tell; I’m kinda low key. Although folks may be scandalized that I don’t watch television.
What is the biggest misconception about Eden?
That I’m naturally outgoing. I really suffer terrible social anxiety, but I love people. So I take a deep breath, force the nerves down, and get out and mingle – then worry later about “should I have said that?”
I believe you started writing male/male romances as a dare from your friend P.D. Singer. Obviously you like writing stories or you would not continue to do so, and you’re very successful at it, but what I would like to know is, your writing career aside, was there something else you could have done to fill in your spare time that could have been just as satisfying as writing? A concert pianist perhaps? A pole dancer? Or even a lion tamer? 🙂 What about scrubbing the backs of the guys in the hot tub?
While back scrubbing might be fun for a while, I don’t think it’d be enough of a creative outlet. I write because I simply cannot stop, and I owe P.D. big time for giving me that shove I needed to get my stories off my hard drive and to a publisher.
As you know I usually ask fans to come up with a few questions so here are three of them:
Jeff Erno, a writer, asks:
Eden, you’re one of my favorite mm romance authors and truly one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known. My question to you is: How did you develop an interest in male-male relationships? Was there someone in your life who inspired you to write about gay characters?
Awww… thanks, Jeff. That’s so sweet! I began reading M/M to better understand the issues faced by a dear friend, fell in love with the genre, and now have over 1,000 ebooks. When I summoned the courage to submit a book for publication, he was thrilled for me, and his name appears in my book dedications. He called one day to tell me that he thought The Angel of 13th Street was hot! Then I remembered exactly what’s in that book. I haven’t blushed so hard since my teens!
Feliz, another writer, wants to know:
I’d like to ask a question about your new book, Diversion. How did you come up with this particular twist on drug trafficking? And is this organization Bo and Lucky work for something real, or did you make it up?
The Southeastern Narcotics Bureau is of my own devising, because an existing state or federal agency didn’t quite suit what I had in mind. My job involves pharmaceuticals so articles about the business cross my desk on a regular basis. The truck hijacking is based on an actual event, but I increased Lucky’s time slightly because I thought no one would believe a truck could be stolen in two and a half minutes. Florida cracking down on pill mills is very real, as is doctors being charged with murder for reckless prescribing. A company contracted to destroy outdated drugs got caught selling them out the back door. All these little snippets rolled around in my head, finally coming out as Diversion.
From John who, thankfully, is not a writer (I think) 😀 John is probably Eden’s biggest fan.
Diversion is an awesome story, Eden! Tell us about your tats and will you get a new one at GRL 2012?
Thanks, John! My tats all have personal meaning. I wanted the long-stemmed red rose on my shoulder for twenty years. As I tell people, “I always saw it there; I just made it so you could too.” I have an open rose on my lower back, flanked my two rose buds: for me and my two children. I also have a rose and vine wrapped around my ankle that once bore a name — a symbol that I intended to stand by someone who’d just hit rock bottom. Even though later we went our own ways, I’d do it again in a flat minute.
Oh my! Did that cutie in the hot tub just…? *mouth drops open, Eden grabs notepad and paper, scribbling furiously.* Hey! Mind doing that again? Slower this time? Oh, sorry, Wave, where were we? Oh, yeah, I’m definitely getting another rose at GayRomLit.
You write what I call “angsty” books (not that there’s anything wrong with that, so readers don’t beat me up). 😮 Is there a specific reason why some of your characters have such complicated and convoluted lives, or is that just how the stories and characters evolved? Since most authors write what they know, (okay, being a vampire or were doesn’t quite enter one’s daily life), 🙂 is there a personal backstory that influences how your characters behave?
The Telling is my therapy novel. Basically, life as I knew it burned to the ground, and I was faced with either giving up or reinventing myself. I started writing (at P.D.’s urging), pouring my insecurities and fears into my characters, and then a funny thing happened. Those characters started to show strengths, and I realized those were my strengths as well. That book helped me realize that life wasn’t over, and that I still had a lot of living to do. Since it was too personal to sell, I gave the book away to readers as a gift, and they quite literally got a piece of me in the bargain.
Seriously, life is gritty, and my influences can be an article about teens aging out of foster care (The Angel of 13th Street), or a glimpse of someone others thought had it all but who was lonely and miserable (The Wish). I don’t always write angst, though. When I’ve been in angstville too long I try to balance by writing comedy like the The Match Before Christmas series or Galen and the Forest Lord. And, yes, my personal experiences play a key role in shaping my characters.
Almost every M/M author is asked “what’s his/her favourite book” and they never give a straight answer so I won’t ask you about yours. But I would like to know which book was the most difficult to write and why? Was it the amount of research involved? Did the characters decide when you were half way through the story (I understand that some characters are quite stubborn) 🙂 that they didn’t like the direction in which it was going? Something else?
The most difficult book is the sequel to The Telling, still in process after four years. Ryan from the first book finally gets his say, and it’s a struggle to write because he’s in such a bad frame of mind that I can’t stay in his head for very long. He’s very gloomy, suicidal even, and the book is also a labor of love, for all the readers who wrote asking to know what became of Ryan and wanting him to find a HEA.
You used to write fan/fiction, I believe before you decided to try writing stories that could actually be published. Even though writing fan/fiction must have honed your writing skills, it’s quite different from inventing your own characters. Was it difficult for you to make the transition?
Although I wrote fan/fiction, mostly I used underdeveloped minor characters from the original books and pretty much got to make up lives for them. It was a valuable experience in characterization and keeping personalities even throughout the book. When I did write main characters it usually wound up as farce, like a certain snarky wizard professor pitted against an equally snarky female vampire hunter, so transitioning wasn’t very difficult.
When you look back on how far you have come in your writing career, what was a defining moment for you?
The day I received a letter from a reader saying, “Your book made me re-evaluate my life.”
What are you most proud of in your writing?
That I didn’t give up.
What is your biggest challenge writing M/M? Some straight female writers tell me that writing gay sex scenes is their toughest challenge. What’s yours and how did you overcome it?
Word choice. I envy other authors their ability to go page after page and seldom use the same word twice. I rely heavily on Autocritter and my amazing betas to help me eliminate overused words.
In your opinion what’s the hardest thing about being a writer? Is it reading negative reviews? Writer’s block? A favourite book that sort of never made it with the readers? Something else?
*mumbles “poor Duet“* Actually, the hardest part is biting my tongue and not constantly talking about this or that story or this or that plot. Once I get started talking writing, that’s all I want to do, so no one at work knows anything past, “Oh, my hobby is writing and proofreading.” I’d never get any work done, and living in the Bible belt, “rimming scenes, love ’em or hate ’em?” might not be the best topic of conversation.
Conversely, what for you is the best thing about writing, outside of connecting with readers/fans which is the standard answer?
I love that part, and some of the friendships I’ve developed online are now friendships in RL! It doesn’t get any better than that. Okay, if I must name something else, then I’ll have to go with: it’s one hell of a lot cheaper than therapy. And probably more effective. In fact, I once had a counselor who urged me to write.
Has your writing career turned out as you expected or is it even better? What are some of the perks other than being in bed with two hot men for the duration of a story?
Occasionally I’ll reread my old work and think, “I can’t believe I wrote that!” sometimes while wearing a grimace, sometimes a grin. But I must say, receiving an email that said, “Congratulations, Lambda Finalist….” Well, that made me cry happy tears, and for days I kept checking their press release to make sure Settling the Score was still there. I was stunned, thinking it was a dream I was gonna wake up from. So yes, it’s definitely better than I ever imagined.
Since you have been interviewed a lot I won’t ask you questions about your other books but perhaps you could tell us the backstory of your newest release Diversion, which is getting a lot of buzz. Could you also talk about the MCs?
Convicted drug trafficker Lucky traded in a part of his sentence to help the good guys put guys like him behind bars. He hides his low self-esteem behind a smart-assed façade, taking pleasure in tormenting the newbie he’s assigned to teach before he can leave the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau for good. Bo is haunted by his time as a Marine in Afghanistan, and became addicted to prescription drugs. To keep his newly awarded pharmacist license, he must take Lucky’s place on the task force. And I got to give Lucky some fun lines!
Both have reasons not to get close, but Bo’s innate desire to please and believe the best about everybody is the perfect foil for Lucky’s deep-rooted suspicions and dislike of the human race.
Several times in the book Lucky traded his soul to advance himself, but in the end, he sacrifices what he now treasures to protect the man he’s come to love, and isn’t really sure he can live without.
Tell us about your current/upcoming projects over the next 3 – 6 months.
Fallen Angel, the sequel to The Angel of 13th Street, is due out May 9. Noah’s having a little trouble adjusting to changed circumstances. This book wasn’t easy to write, either, because in the beginning, Fallen Angel and the third part of the trilogy, Broken Wing, were one book. The plot became so convoluted that I had to split them in two. In some places the two books line up, telling a major event from Noah or Jeremy’s POV in Fallen Angel, and meth addict Lark’s in Broken Wing.
The Wish, currently out of contract, will republish in August. I cleaned up the manuscript, but didn’t change the story.
I’m halfway through the draft of Broken Wing. Then time for an angst break and something a bit more fun.
What does Eden do for fun in between the EDJ and writing? Is it true you ride a motorcycle?
I like to hike and camp, and take my grandkids to cool places. I used to own a Harley, and hope to one day again. Right now I ride with friends, and occasionally, my brother.
The guys in the hot tub wanted to interview you but I wouldn’t let them because their hands are everywhere and you’re not that kind of girl. :blush:
**Eden jumps up, waving hands wildly** Oh yes, I am! What do you guys wanna know? ** Oops, sorry, Wave.
They wanted to know what’s your favourite physical attribute on a guy. Hairy Chest? Tats? Six Pack? Bubble butt? Tall and lean? Short and muscular? They are all size queens but I’m not going there. 😮 They don’t seem to care about a brain, being a good conversationalist, or even if the guys are funny. Maybe they have ulterior motives.
I’m past being swayed by a pretty face or a hot body: I’ve learned to look deeper than that (although I do think nice eyes and a great, genuine smile are a plus). If a person is sincere and kind, possessing self-imposed lines that they will not cross (character and integrity), that’s far more important than physical looks.
The guys have another question. (Guys, get your minds out of the gutter – I told you that Eden is not that kind of girl)!
Eden: I am! I am! Come back here! Ask away!
If you were holding a casting call for a movie based on one of your books, would these be open auditions and would there be any “couch” action?
If they wanna audition, let’s let ’em! Hey! Who wants to act out that scene with Noah and Jeremy over the hotel desk? Show of hands! I said hands, not…. Jeez, Wave, how do you put up with those smart asses?
Thank you, Eden. The guys in the hot tub are waving goodbye (I won’t say what they’re waving).
Thanks so much for inviting me, Wave, for all the support your site has given me, and for offering The Telling as a free read all those years ago. That really helped launch my writing. I’ve always enjoyed visiting here, and you and your reviewers are also responsible for many of the ebooks now nestled on my hard drive and Nook. Hey! You in the hot tub! Put that thing down! You don’t know where it’s been!
Eden’s Contact Information