SC: Roy, when did you join SARA and for what reason?
RB: January of 2015. The first community I joined was The Writers’ League in December of 2014. Followed by Romance Writers of America, Rainbow Romance Writers, and finally SARA.
SC: What sub-genre of romance stories do you write?
RB: I write gay romance. Apparently gay romance writers are in short supply…or they remain hidden. Hey…we can be romantic too!
SC: What about the romance genre appeals to you?
RB: It’s easy to write. As a man who is gay, I’m familiar with the topic and what attracts me to romance novels. That helps me to pen my own work.
SC: Do you consider yourself a romantic?
RB: That’s kind of a loaded question. I think the notion of being romantic is best perceived by others who may find that quality in me. I would like to think that someone out there will find me romantic.
SC: What are your ultimate goals as a writer?
RB: I could utter the expected response: get published! My goal is to write something readers will like…to write a page-turner and not a shelf-sitter. If I can do that, all of the other stuff will fall into place.
SC: If you could have any actor/actress cast as the hero/heroine of your latest work, who would you choose and why?
RB: Okay…remember my genre…gay romance. I’d love to see Chris Pine (Star Trek; Unstoppable; Jack Ryan) and Jason Statham (action movies too numerous to mention) together on the screen (and when I way together, I mean together). Individually they have a sexy quality that draws the eye. Together they would dominate the book.
SC: What is the best book you’ve ever read about the craft of writing?
RB: My writing career began with The Four Elements of Fiction by Judy Reveal. Then I read Dixon’s GMC, and am currently reading Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. Each book has its benefits. I don’t think a writer can read just one book on writing and get anywhere.
SC: I agree with you. There are so many helpful books out there. Do you have a writing routine? If so, what does it involve?
RB: I still work full-time, so have to devote time to writing when I don’t have work to do. In addition to my job as Chief Technology Officer at a college, I teach an online Music Appreciation course (I currently have over 70 students). That takes time as well, but I find plenty of time to write. I don’t have any problems losing myself in a manuscript and suddenly realizing three hours have elapsed.
SC: Do you have any writing superstitions?
RB: I didn’t know there were any writing superstitions. Do I need any?
SC: What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hidden talents?
RB: I once was quite the pianist and organist, but haven’t played in years. I like to travel, but that takes that green paper that seems to vanish all too easily. I enjoy spending time with my gang-o-friends, playing 42 or Mexican Train and enjoying a good meal.
SC: I’m a foodie, myself so I totally get it. I’m addicted to the Food Network. Back to writing. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
RB: All of it. When I discovered writing it was like what I imagine a drug addict discovers…it was such a turn-on and so much fun that I wanted to spend all of my time doing it. I like getting my ideas down “on paper”, and I like the editing process which takes the FSD (first s**tty draft) and turns it into something I can send my editor. I even like the rewriting process that occurs after the editor rips it to shreds. It’s a learning process. I hope that never stops.
SC: What would happen if you didn’t write?
RB: If you mean permanently? Six feet under! If you mean temporarily, nothing. I’ve learned to look at the world for ideas, so no matter what I’m doing, I’m observing and listening and tucking ideas away. I read voraciously since I started writing, drinking in everything I can about everything I read. Learning what not to do as well as what works.
SC: How do you know when your research is done?
RB: When I have the answer I need. I don’t want my readers yanked out of the story by something that either doesn’t make sense or is blatantly wrong. My editor and my other readers will also tell me if things don’t add up.
SC: Name one thing you absolutely can’t write about. RB: There are many things I would find very challenging…like writing from the perspective of a drug addict or an alcoholic, neither of which I have been. I might also find it difficult to write from the viewpoint of someone in another culture…one that I’m not familiar with. I don’t know of anything I absolutely couldn’t write about.
SC: Name one of the challenges you had writing or as an author and how you met that challenge.
RB: Learning what readers want. Initially I thought love and peace and let’s-all-get-along was it. Then I discovered that people need discord, conflict, challenge, and trouble. If writers don’t include those elements, the story is boring and lifeless. I’m glad my early works are not yet published so I can go back and add those elements. Happily-ever-after shouldn’t start in Chapter Two.
SC: That last sentence should be on a bumper sticker for us romance writers! Thanks for taking time to chat with us today, Roy. And best of luck with your writing!
Article by Mary Brand
Photo by Kayla Hartzog