…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
1. Starting from scratch: Tell us all about you. What do you want us to know?
I am insanely grateful to make my living telling stories. I feel so fortunate to have found out what I love to do when I was very young so that I could get down to doing it. Transitioning from Film/Theatre into fiction has been an even greater blessing because this genre gives me so much freedom.
2. 10 Questions about books:
How did you get interested in gay romance?
Well I’m gay and I read romance, but that really isn’t the truth of it. Round about 2007 I remember seeing the first glimmers of the most recent boom in LGBT romance and I picked up a couple books that really impressed me. There was definitely drek mixed in there, but some of the “M/M” titles coming out of former fan-fiction communities was subtle and sophisticated. I found a couple authors that I loved and started binge-reading (as you do!) and a couple years later I was writing romance myself.
Best book you’ve read in the last 3 months?
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare. Heidi Cullinan got Tessa to sign a copy for me at RT in New Orleans, and then flat-out told me that I HAD to read the book on my way home for reasons that would become clear almost immediately. Boy howdy! Beautiful book, killer writing, and I’m now an even bigger Tessa Dare fan than I was. Amazing.
Best book you’ve written in the last 3 years?
Bad Idea, definitely. It’s my meatiest work by far, thematically, structurally, emotionally, though it isn’t as “easy-access” as some of my other books. Telling Trip and Silas’s story was such a joyous process for me and pulled me out of a dark place creatively and personally. I think a lot of that comes through in the writing because the story is about creative people and the way stories come together and come to life. The thing is, I work my ass off to insure that each new project pushes me further and Bad Idea went to all kinds of crazy, dark, sexy, weird, funny places that I never expected.
What book would you recommend to someone who’s never read your work?
Hot Head is the easiest point of entry. It’s very much in my voice and tone, and it’s extremely accessible for folks who are checking my stuff out for the first time. People call it the marijuana of gay romance and with good reason. :) Beyond that, it’s my first book, and so Griff and Dante hold a special place in my heart.
What book would you recommend to someone who’s never read gay romance?
It sounds so self-involved, but again I’d suggest Hot Head. LOL It’s a book that openedthe genre up to so many people. Actually, a site did a survey a while back that revealed that Hot Head was the entry point for something like 43% of all people currently reading gay romance. Because the book deals with two guys who identify as straight who gradually find their way to each other, I think it takes first-time readers of gay romance on a similar journey…opening them up to outside-the-box romantic possibilities.
Your favorite character you’ve written?
Oooh. Impossible Sophie’s Choice question. I can never just point to a single character and say FAVE casually. I’m very protective of all the people I write and the answer changes all the time. But if you held a gun to my head and asked me to pick right this second, I’d say Ziggy from Bad Idea.
Now that might be because I’m gearing up to write the sequel, and I’ve been doing research and whatnot, but Ziggy is one of those characters that haunts me aggressively a year after that book was finished. I never planned for him to appear at all and he’s such a humdinger. LOL He turned up on page fully formed Fans write me about him a lot, and there’s something piercing about his voice and personality that I’m excited to explore deeper in the next book in the series.
Your favorite character someone else has written?
Woland in The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov… The book is a retelling of the Faust legend set in Moscow in the 1920s under Stalin. Woland is Bulgakov’s Lucifer character with all that entails: charming, subtle, hilarious, and insanely seductive. His motivations, and his basic decency, and –I dunno– his humanity just wreck me every time.
What plot bunny has been sitting in your head that you haven’t committed to writing?
I have this Steampunk trilogy that I’ve been fiddling with off and on for about 2 years and I need to just sit down and DO it. It kicks off with this insane hyper-theatrical seduction/abduction and a lot of slambang action. Totally a guilty pleasure to write. As it is, I’ve got about 45K in the bank, tailored maps drawn and all the research and everything… but I haven’t had a hot second to write the damn thing. It’s definitely coming, but WHEN? LOL That’s what I want to know.
What’s on the horizon/in the pipeline?
I’m finishing up a crazy romantic suspense novel set on Park Avenue…very blue collar meets blue blood with assault and abduction and angsty straight guys who can’t control themselves. It’s probably the most trope-tastic thing I’ve ever written: out-for-you, culture clash, workplace romance, rake reformed…you name it!
What’s the BEST thing about being an author?
Getting paid to dream for other people. I’m so grateful to have the chance to think up all kinds of crazy, dirty, funny stuff that other people want to share. That’s the biggest gift of all. I love that anyone wants to get on board and come on a crazy ride with me…and trusts me to take them somewhere worth going. Thing is, I’m a reader, and I know how much it means to give an author the keys to your mental car and trust them to drive.
When I was still doing film and theatre I used to have this odd recurrent experience watching an audience watching my work, because effectively when an audience sees a play or a movie they’re actually looking at the world through your eyes, but a book is exponentially more so. In theatre and film you’ve got all these collaborators helping to bring the story to life, but with fiction it’s just you and the reader, insanely intimate and personal. So yeah… the shared dream is the deal for me.
3. Would You Rather…
…Write a book that sells a ton or a book that generates a ton of discussion?
Ton of discussion definitely. I think it’s much more interesting to challenge expectations than just crank out something that goes down easy. Put it this way: there are many grains of sand, but I’d much rather be an itchy oyster that spits out the occasional pearl. LOL
…Have a book with 100 4-star ratings or a book with 50 2-star and 50 5-star ratings?
See above! If everyone agrees then you can’t have said much. I f everyone is nodding in unison, judging by consensus, and shopping by multiple choice then every meal is gonna taste like oatmeal and flat diet soda and the world will end up looking like a DMV. Art by committee sucks. I want bold choices, made boldly. Nah. Fortune favors the bold. Give me gigantic ideas, crazy attempts, and unforgettable disasters every now and then. :)
…Write fluff or angst?
Angst, no question! The hardest thing for fluff-heavy books is that they have a huge who-gives-a-shit? factor. I can read fluffy romance if I’m in the mood, but any Happily-Ever-After that comes too easily always earns a big side-eye from me.
If everyone is gorgeous and immediately snuggles and coos from page 3 then what exactly am I reading for? Hallmark porn? Gack. No. I think characters need to earn happiness or else the reader doesn’t give a what-what. Love needs a road that’s soft and rough. Like SUEDE, baby. LOL
…Have a book made into an indie-movie that told the exact story or into a long-running tv show that was only inspired by the story?
Long-running TV show on cable. Slavish adaptations may satisfy author ego, but they betray character and theme.
I come from film/TV so this is an easy one. Filming a book is a very different exercise than reading a book. Things that work on the page don’t (and shouldn’t) work on screen. The advantage of a long-running show is that you can take time to develop and expose character at their own pace. Storylines can be teased out of situations organically. Actors can explore tone and chemistry in a way that really allows audience access.
That said, knowing what I know, network would suck hog-dongle. The tv show adaptation would have to be on high-end cable to allow for actual casting, writing, and mindful editing…
…Have written Twilight or 50 Shades of Gray?
Eesh. I see where you’re going there, but jeepers. I think, by a hair, I’d say Fifty Shades… The writing and worldbuilding is still dire at least they take their pants off and have some subtext. Plus, I’m all for delayed gratification, but Twilight is SO sex-negative on so many levels.
More importantly, Fifty Shades was a calculated, mindful product of a professional strategy which I really admire. Stephanie Meyers was more of an accidental sensation. E.L. James had worked in entertainment for years and knew EXACTLY what she was building and doing. Still kinky as a project, still personal, but not blind or sloppy. I respect that kind of analysis and coherence.
4. Two Truths and a Lie…
Tell us 3 things about you…2 of them are true, 1 is false.
I love vanilla ice cream.
I hate board games.
I died more than once when I was in college.
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. 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 at DamonSuede.com