…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
Day 2 of “Bad Idea” week is a doozie! It’s kind of an awesome day…yeah, a really, really awesome day…because we’ve got Damon Suede joining us!!!!!
Damon, of course, is the author of the much-adored book “Hot Head” (over 5000 reviews on Goodreads alone)…(remember that firehouse locker room kiss? And the black leather sofa scene? WHOOO WHEEEEE).
His newest release, “Bad Idea”, is a blog favorite (5 stars from both Sue and Susan), and we’re excited to pick his brain and get to know him a bit.
(drops to announcer voice)…AND NOW…WELCOME TO BOYS IN OUR BOOKS….DAAAAAAMON SUUUUUEEEEEDDDDEEEEE!!!!!
*crowd goes wild*
Damon: Thanks so much for letting me come play with y’all.
*stares*, *big smile on my face*….OH! Sorry! Got caught gushing…
Ok, so Damon, let’s just get the big pink elephant out of the way…rip off the bandaid. What’s going on with Hard Head (sequel to Hot Head)? Is that still in the works?
Damon: It’s coming! I swear to all the gods. I’m hopeful that I can get the final draft turned in in 2014. Here’s the deal: I spent ALL of 2012 working on that book and ended up writing a rough 260K word draft that just needs to be sliced up and beaten into manageable shape. It’s all there: story, characters new and old, the world. The hardest thing was the pressure to get it right and my abject terror of fucking up these heroes that I love so much. I just needed to take some time to get my head on right before I did anything stupid.
The amazing Lynn West is my editor at Dreamspinner and she is a flat-out, no-holds genius. I cannot sing her praises enough. She really helped me get past a lot of the block and panic I had built up around the book and as we were wrapping up the Bad Idea galleys, she gently floated the possibility of getting back into Hard Head, and I’m happy to say I’m starting to feel ready to tackle it. So yeah, the Hot Head sequel is coming and the third book as well…
Well good to know. Wait…a THIRD book too???!!! Gah!!! Ok, but, to be honest, we’re super happy to have you deliver Bad Idea to us. It was FANTASTIC! Sue said “I wanted to hoot and holler and shake my bum and raise my glass in boozy glee to it and with it.” and Susan said “I would not WISH FOR ANYONE to miss out on this book.” The story is…quirky….tell us about it? And where did the inspiration come from?
Damon: The inspiration came from two separate directions.
Back in September of last year, two hardcore fans named Jillian and Rina came into the city to have dinner and started telling me this story about training for a zombie run. I’d never heard of one, but once they explained that runners were chased by actors dressed as zombies….I could see the theatricality of it (i.e. an instant movie poster as my agent said later), and I started thinking it would make a great “meet-cute” for a romantic comedy couple.
A couple weeks later I was prepping for GRL in Albuquerque and I had to pick something to read. Because of the anxiety I had about the unwieldy Hard Head process, I was determined to read something else, but I couldn’t decide what. Heidi Cullinan made me swear I’d write something completely new that felt fresh and fun. I remembered the zombie run idea… and just ran with it: I’d make the runner a reclusive comic book artist allergic to life and the fake zombie became a movie makeup designer who couldn’t settle down… I wrote the first chapter in half a day 72 hours before I left for GRL. I read it aloud and people went bananas.
After wrestling so long with Hard Head, I decided to set it aside for a bit and tackle something totally different. That became Bad Idea. In a lot of ways the book is about the way made-up heroes can save the real world, and how passionate fans bring imaginary characters to life. As an homage to the ladies who taught me about zombie runs, Rina and Jillian became fictionalized as characters in the story. And because the book itself is about pop culture and fandoms, I built cameos into the book for lots of people who had been supportive during the dark stretches of 2012.
What really, REALLY makes this book is the strength of the characters…ALL of them (so cool to find out that they’re semi-based on real-life people!). If you could describe each of them in one word…
Trip – guarded
Silas – rowdy
Rina – focused
Jillian – discerning
Ben – supportive
Max – frank
Staplegun – callow
Kurt – demanding
Ziggy – explosive
The book involves so much detailed geekdom. You clearly had to have researched or are knee-deep in this fandom yourself. Fess up. How do you know so much about comics, cons, and FX makeup?
Damon: Again, I’m sort of a fanthropologist by default. LOLOL
I’ve scripted for comics in my other writing life… Marvel, DC and independents…so I know part of the business from that end. I also have a lot of friends working at all levels of the industry. Compounding matters, my boyfriend is a hardcore collector who hits six to eight cons a year. Comic books have been a big part of my world for a long-ass time.
By the same token, my dayjob for the past twenty-plus years is scripting for theatre, film and television… I pretty much grew up in showbiz, as an actor first and then as a writer/director , so I’ve been on a lot of sets where I got to watch special effect technology over the years. All those gigs and anecdotes I collected, informed Bad Idea because I’ve been behind the scenes in those trailers and in those studios for the past couple decades. I’ve watched a crazy idea start as a spark and build into a pop culture bonfire… and I felt like that was such a cool reflection of the way artists let their lives inform their work and vice versa.
Ahhh…a man of many talents. :)
You took a bit of a risk making this so zany and odd and geektastic. There’s a possibility some people just won’t take to this ‘world’ you’ve immersed these characters in. What are your thoughts on that?
Damon: You don’t have to read comics to get this book. All of us participate in pop culture to some degree. Superhero movies and Hollywood spectacle impinge upon our imaginations daily. These stories have become the mythology of our time. The geeky pop-culture references act as sparkly candy for any comic fans who read it, but anyone who’s ever had fun at a convention or waited on line breathless for a new book or album will understand Bad Idea. It’s about exciting ideas and all the crazy things we do to bring our fantasies to life (for good or ill).
By the same token, I like romances to be larger than life, and there’s a real spectacle to showbiz folks falling in crazy, painful, epic love while they try to do something as nuts as invent a hero from scratch. :) Imaginary worlds don’t come out of thin air, and I think that the sneak-peek at creative people living and loving and letting their emotions drive their art is universally appealing. A big splashy, romantic saga with fangasms built in!
Truth. Great point.
This book is so quotable… words/phrases which we lovingly will call Damonisms, Some hysterical and others just plain TRUTH (…some of them F’ING THERAPY for me personally and had me screaming “P-reach!” at my Kindle.) Are you naturally this yoda’esque in life? Where do these come from?
Damon: My boyfriend says yes! LOL For whatever reason, I’ve got a weird knack for aphorisms and in my life as a playwright and screenwriter, I get hired a lot for my zingers. I don’t think of myself as Yoda-esque but I definitely can quip like there’s no mañana. I actually didn’t realize how “quotable” Bad Idea was until reviewers started commenting on it. Early reviewers and bloggers have gone bonkers highlighting things and tweeting quotes, which I love. I think part of it too is that Trip and Silas are both smart, funny guys with witty friends…so I think the people in the book had some pithy stuff to impart.
(I wish Rina was my therapist. She is boss.)
I was thrilled to find out this is book 1 of a SERIES! Can you tell us about your plans for the rest of the books and will the entire cast of characters being making appearances in the others (please say yes, please say yes…)
Damon: Indeed! ALL of the characters will be appearing in future books. Trip and Silas created Scratch, but Scratch has a long way to go still!
These “Itch” books are a contemporary series about creative guys who take Scratch and extend his reach in mass media. In each book, the guys wrestle with their internal demons and personal relationships, which in turn affects the way the Scratch character evolves in his own adventures. Because he’s a homoerotic demon, he’s also changing pop culture as a whole…dragging the character’s fantasies into the light. LOL In Bad Idea, Scratch helps Trip come to grips with his sexuality and anxiety…and gives Silas a way of facing his own issues.
That’s actually how the paranormal “Scratch” series started. Horn Gate is the comic book retold as a paranormal novella. I wanted to show the story that Trip and Silas had created together . Now, not everyone digs paranormal, but if anyone wants to see the comic created inside Bad Idea… they can see it in fictional form, which also gives a deeper peek into the characters state of mind and emotional journey. Totally not essential, but a fun extra for anyone who’s interested.
Comic books turn into other things. Superheroes get adapted and then they change along the way, right? :) The next book in the series will focus on a different couple as Scratch takes his next steps in a new direction. The idea of Scratch will change and the characters will change along with him. This book is about creators and their creation… and each sequel will extend Scratch’s reach into games, television and beyond.
GAH! That sounds amazing! Cannot wait!!! Well, Damon, before we let you go, can you tell us a little bit about you? What do you do for fun? How are your down times spent? What’s you favorite meal? And erm…boxers or briefs? (god, I swore I’d never ask that question ever…) :)
Damon: Briefs, but that’s only if I’m wearing anything over my bojangles.
It’s been SO GREAT having you with us. We’re lucky to have Trip and Silas stop by tomorrow and Jillian and Rina the next day. Any words of advice or warnings? :)
Damon: Expect surprises! The BioB crew is pretty saucy and I imagine anything could happen up in this joint.
*hugs* Thanks again for coming and spending time with us. We love you fiercely! :)
Damon: Are you kidding?! Thank you for embracing Bad Idea so passionately! Y’all are wonderful to let me come play this week. I’m really proud of this book and I’m psyched to share it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Having lived all over, he’s earned his crust as a model, a messenger, a promoter, a programmer, a sculptor, a singer, a stripper, a bookkeeper, a bartender, a techie, a teacher, a director… but writing has ever been his bread and butter.
Though new to gay romance, Damon has been a full-time writer for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He has 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 at DamonSuede.com.
Enter to win a paperback copy of “Bad Idea” signed by DAMON SUEDE himself AND the e-book version (your format of choice) as well! LEAVE A COMMENT in each day’s post during “Bad Idea Week”. Every day you comment is another chance to win! GOOD LUCK! (winner will be selected at random and announced Monday, October 28th)