I’m back with another interview in the Meet the Men interview series! Today I have my interview with Damon Suede! Damon Suede writes homoerotic novels.
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What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t wearing your author hat?
Read! I’m such a crazed book junkie and I read like a woodchipper. So when I’m no putting words on a page, I’m stuffing books into me. LOL Fiction, nonfiction. Any genre, bizarre subjects. I love that endless opening outward that books give us.
What is the first book to make you cry?
Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle. Full-on ugly cry, snot cry. I cried so hard I gave myself a nosebleed and a headache. Astonishing, lambent storytelling. She’s such an incandescent writer and that book is the perfect blend of romance, bildungsroman, and philosophical/intellectual/spiritual uplift. I tear up thinking about it. One of my prized possessions is a hardcover copy of that book she signed to me a couple years later.
What would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Hmmm. Hard one. I’m a feline person, a reptile person, a bird of prey person. Big cats. Lizards. Ravens. I love things that coil, swoop, and scheme. Maybe a dragon? But I want Ursula LeGuin’s dragons, not Tolkien’s or Martin’s. All teeth and heat and muscle and sorcerous wordplay.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Not idealizing or polishing them into paragon paralysis. I also write gay romance, which at its margins can be eerily misogynistic, especially from female authors (I know… weird, right?) which makes me hyperaware of the need for female characters in gay romance to have legitimate agency and power and wisdom that isn’t tertiary or reductive, especially when supporting the story of my main (male) lovers. I was raised in a DEEPLY feminist home by lesbians who took no guff, so I tend to approach double-X chromosomes with reverence which can get in the way of a good story, if I’m not diligent. I always want my characters to feel authentic, rounded, human, accessible. So I have to be careful about hagiography or romanticizing them.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Like someone defusing a bomb in a shopping mall. I feel like a name is such a critical, pivotal choice and one that alters the entire shape of a story. I‘m RUTHLESS about naming, obsessive and overanalytical. I fidget and fuss for long stretches and cannot rest until each name carries several different loads for me in the story… as a marker, as a symbol, in euphony, in cultural context, in rhythm, in conjunction with other characters.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
In every book, without fail. It’s one of my favorite things to do, burying easter eggs for the fans. Thing is, they expect it now and so it’s this little fun side game I play in each book, how and what and why those secrets get planted. It’s a blast to do, both as a creator and because I love those easter eggs myself when I’m digging a book. I’m a devoted rereader, and I think that kind of buried treasure makes rereads especially entertaining and rewarding. So, yeah… 🙂 Always.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
The actual writing is two to three months, but life always intervenes. I’m also an inveterate fiddler and reviser when I’m finishing a project, so I’m never satisfied until the book FEELS the way I want it to. I’m never gonna be the kind of writer who can churn out a title a week. Writing for film I used to have to crank out wordcount under hellish deadlines and a loathed it. With romance, I want to get things done properly. So 2-3 months in raw typing in an ideal workspan, but up to nine months depending on the complexity of the idea and how many other balls I’m juggling at that time.
Have you ever participated in Movember?
Nope. Or at least not officially. I’ve had a full beard since my first anniversary with my husband, so maybe inadvertently I have without realizing it. LOL Still, I try to fundraise whenever I can; I’m a big advocate for prostate health and preventative healthcare for men.
What are you currently reading?
One Night at Finn’s by R.G. Alexander (tart and tense in the best way) and simultaneously finishing up Wilde in Love by Eloisa James. (Radiant!). And I just picked up His Dark Kiss by Eve Silver, which has all the hallmarks of classic retro gothic.
If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would it be?
Write from your joy. Write what you feel so strongly you need to give voice to it. Write the story you need to tell. I spent 20+ years writing increasingly commercial projects in film/TV/theatre/comics, and little by little I let the business end of showbiz leach the joy out of my projects. By the time I started writing romance, I’d gotten to the point where every decision I made on the page was weighed against production costs and actors’ egos. I’d get myself so tied in knots that what I’d begun in enthusiasm became drudgery. That sucked. Romance really set me free to write forward. To write my own future. To write from joy every time I sat down. Writing in this genre has been such a blessing in my life because of that infectious energy and buoyancy.
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BIO: Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him on Twitter, Facebook, or at DamonSuede.com.