Interview and Giveaway with Sloan Parker
**THIS GIVEAWY IS NOW CLOSED**
**CONGRATULATIONS TO PENUMBRA**
Because Cindi and I have to time-manage well between real life and reading/reviewing we very rarely get to read the same authors but both Cindi and I do both read this author’s books when they come out. So we would like to extend a warm On Top Down Under welcome to author Sloan Parker today. We are here to celebrate OTDU one year blog-versary. Welcome to multi-award winning author Sloan Parker. Sloan: Happy blog-versary to you and Cindi! Thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of the celebration. The new site looks fantastic. Congratulations! Kazza: Thank you, Sloan. We are proud of our one year together and of the new site and it is a pleasure to have you here. Let the interview begin!! Kazza: As a female reader and reviewer of MM books I have been asked on more than a few occasions, why MM books? Why would I, someone who is obviously not a gay male, wish to read in the genre? So I’ll ask you a similar question, why MM as a writer? How/why did that start for you? Sloan: I like to write what moves me, the kinds of stories I enjoy reading, and the added bonus that I get to tell positive love stories about gay couples makes it all the more special for me. Several years ago, I was focusing on writing suspense with romantic elements that featured heterosexual couples, but I wasn’t happy with the outcome of each project. There was something missing. I knew they weren’t the kinds of stories I was meant to tell. I found myself reading more erotic stories, and I knew that was where I wanted my writing to go. Then I read a historical romance about two men and something clicked. My writing took on new depth and meaning for me. I had more passion and excitement for the stories and characters I was writing about. Honestly, I try not to question myself on why I write what I do, or over think it too much for fear I’ll mess with my head while I’m working on my next story. I’ve got so many plans for more, and I’m thrilled to have readers who enjoy the stories I’m sharing. Kazza: Everyone I know in my personal life knows I read gay erotica, romance and some…interesting stories. That also includes my family. Do the people around you, family included, know you write in the genre, or is it something you keep closely guarded? Are the people around you accepting and supportive? Sloan: Everyone in my life knows what I write, and most have been wonderfully supportive, even if they don’t want to read romances (which is really what I get the most negative reactions about: the fact that I write romance, not that I’m writing about gay men. It’s incredibly sad that there’s still so much negativity thrown at a genre that focuses on what I consider the best aspect of humanity, but that’s perhaps an entirely different discussion). The people I’m closest to are proud of what I’ve accomplished with my writing, and my partner absolutely loves my work. She’s my biggest fan and supporter. That’s really all that matters to me when it comes to the people in my everyday life. I think we all need that one person who believes in us no matter what, and I’m beyond grateful that I have that. Kazza: From when you first started writing in the genre have you noticed changes occurring? For instance, more people reading, more mainstream acceptance, better stories coming out? Sloan: There have definitely been a lot of changes since I started working on my first M/M romance in late 2007. There’s more awareness and acceptance of gay romances within the larger romance community, frankly more than I anticipated a few years ago, which is fantastic. When I first joined Romance Writers of America, I don’t think anyone in my local chapter had heard much about gay romances. Now there are several other people in that same chapter writing M/M, and the genre is mentioned quite often in larger discussions about the publishing world. I think readership continues to grow, at least that’s what I keep hearing from others and that’s what my own experience seems to indicate. My backlist continues to sell, and I still hear from readers who are new to the genre. Everyone seems to be talking about the vast increase in the number of authors and books being released each week. One thing I do wonder is does the increased volume available now make it easier or more difficult for readers to find the kinds of books they’re looking for? It’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues at a pace that the readership can support and still allow more than a handful of authors a chance at making a career out of writing M/M. Kazza: There is quite the diversity to the books you write. Three books that spring to mind are Breathe, More, and Take Me Home. Quite the spread of material! Is this intentional or something that the muses/voices in your head have a say over? Sloan: I think it was a combination of both. As I sat down to start each of the books you mentioned, I did specifically choose the basic premise for the story. I don’t want any two of my stories to read too similar in terms of the characters or the plot, but I also want—and in some ways, need—to tell stories that move me. If I can’t get excited by the premise and the characters, I’m pretty sure no one else will either. Which means I have to let my muse wander a bit as I feel my way through the beginning of any project. The final story never exactly follows my initial planned outline, and it’s in that window of unplanned creativity where the story really comes alive. Kazza: I’ll work backwards. The third book I read of yours was the fantastic Breathe. This is actually one of my all-time favourite books. I suspect there was a bit of intensity to the writing of this book as it tackles a sad subject, a young woman’s death and the lives that it has touched so profoundly. Not only that, the two men most impacted actually meet up and become lovers. I’m going to say that the psychology was fantastic and the families represented so very real. Katie, Jay’s wife, had such a strong voice, though dead. Where did this story come from? And how hard was the journey for you as a writer? Sloan: Thank you for the kind words about BREATHE. I’m honored it’s one of your favorites. It seems to be a book that resonates with readers, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It was a powerful story for me to write and came from my reactions to two real-life events. Several years ago there was a tragic car accident not too far from where I live. A young woman was killed in the crash, as well as her unborn child. Her young son and husband who were also in the car were both injured but survived. It was such a sad story, and my heart broke for this family that was left in pieces. Sometime later I was working in my living room when I looked up at the TV and saw footage on the local news of the man who had accidentally caused the crash. He was in the courtroom for his hearing and was apologizing to the woman’s family. I only caught a bit of what he was saying, but the look of misery and despair on his face was so genuine and heartbreaking and was something I’ll never forget. He was going to have to live with that guilt and despair for the rest of his life. Naturally I felt horrible for the family that had lost so much, but I also couldn’t get the other man out of my mind. Would he ever be happy again? Ever smile? Laugh? Love? Ever be able to forgive himself? Then sometime later, I was at a party where a discussion was taking place about the accident. Everyone in the room was a stranger to the woman who’d died and the man who’d caused the crash, but two of the people I was with had such horrible things to say about the man, talking about him as if they knew what he was like, how he always drove, that he didn’t care about what he’d done. I was in complete shock at their vehemence toward someone they didn’t know. They had no idea what he felt, what kind of anguish he was going through. I couldn’t get their comments out of my mind. A short while later, Lincoln was born, and I started writing BREATHE. It was definitely my most emotional experience as a writer, trying to dig into who those characters were and how they were feeling. Many people told me I couldn’t make the concept into a romance. I’m so very glad I didn’t listen to them. Kazza: We’re glad you didn’t listen either. I’d like to mention that Breathe won the following – the 2011 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Novel, Best Gay Contemporary Romance, Best Plot Development, and Best Characters Development, and also tied for third in Best Writing Style. Kazza: Take Me Home was a sweet friends- to-lovers story mostly set on board a train with a mystery component. What I loved was the reading of a Kyle’s grandfather Victor’s diary from the 50’s and how it tied into the MC’s of the book. Any inspiration for the characters? Perhaps Victor and his diary? Sloan: I’m really glad you liked that part of the story. It seems to be an element people either love or hate. There is a little piece of my dad in Victor’s personality. But as far as his backstory with Joe in the journal, that wasn’t based on anyone real, and I can’t recall if there was anything specific that gave me the idea. I did spend a lot of time dreaming up who Victor was and how hard his choices must have been for a man in his position. I loved Kyle’s feelings for his grandfather, and once that element was included in my outline for the novel, I was able to get a more solid picture of who Kyle was. Kazza: MORE was the first book I read of yours and I still have a great deal of Richard-love going on to this day. The book is about a ménage of three very different men, young Matthew, Lucas in the middle, and very guarded – he can’t get involved with his high profile father dogging his every move – and my favourite, the older and fabulous Richard who binds these three men together, in my opinion. Ménage books can come with a bit of a bad too-much-sex-not-enough-story reputation, and yet MORE has great characters, a terrific story, that touches on how vital communication is, strength of character, and family who can be caring and family who can be less than kind. Where did the ménage and these terrific characters spring from and how hard was it writing three men with such different and dynamic personalities in a relationship? Sloan: Thank you. That means a lot to hear you think the characters worked so well together. Working on MORE, I started out with more focus on the characters, and then the plot was built around those men. There was a lot of planning that went into this book, and into who the three men were. I began with the premise of creating a love story about three people who all meet on the same night, rather than two already having an established relationship. I started with Luke as the main character, and then developed Matthew and Richard. I knew right off I wanted Luke to be a loner, someone very reluctant to find love again. I wanted him to meet two men who were different from him, and also different from each other. Once I started writing the interactions between the three of them, the characters really came to life for me. It was in a way, both the easiest book I’ve written (because of how well those characters’ interactions came together for me) and the hardest (mostly because I was learning so much about plotting, writing, and self-editing at the time I revised that book). Kazza: Once again, MORE was another book to win accolades and awards – winner of 2010 Rainbow Award Winner in the Best Gay Contemporary Romance category Also 2011 EPIC eBook Award Winner in the Mystery, Suspense, and/or Adventure Erotic Romance category. Kazza: I believe that you are currently working on a sequel to MORE can you please tell OTDU more about the sequel. Lucas was the voice of MORE. Who is the voice of the sequel? What should we expect? Sloan: The sequel, tentatively titled MORE THAN MOST, is told from Richard’s point of view and picks up a little while after the ending of the first book. Unless something major changes during my revising phase, this one’s about Richard going after something he’s always wanted, and in the process, nearly missing some important things that are going on with the two people who need him the most. It’s about the possibility that relationships—and people’s roles in those relationships—change over time, and that a person has to choose to fight for the outcome of that change to be something stronger and more certain, for love to shine through the obstacles of life. As soon as I can, I’ll be sharing some preview excerpts on my website. Kazza: So, I simply must ask, what other works do you currently have in progress, Sloan? And when can we expect a new book/s from you? Sloan: I’m currently working on three projects. The sequel to MORE, which doesn’t have a release date yet. A contemporary novella that my publisher Loose Id asked me to write. It’s a reunion, friends-to-lovers story and is tentatively titled I SWEAR TO YOU. It should be out sometime in the first half of 2014. I’m also finishing up editing and formatting my serial story MORE THAN JUST A GOOD BOOK. The full novel-length version of that will be out in bookstores in November. Thanks for such thoughtful and interesting questions, and thank you for all your hard work and support of the genre. Happy blog-versary! Author Bio: Sloan Parker writes passionate, dramatic stories about two men (or more) falling in love. Sloan enjoys exploring the lives of people who are growing as individuals while falling in love. Sloan’s novels MORE and BREATHE are winners of the Rainbow Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance. MORE is also the 2011 EPIC eBook Award Winner for Mystery, Suspense, and/or Adventure Erotic Romance. Sloan enjoys writing in the fictional world because in fiction you can be anything, do anything…even fall in love for the first time over and over again. She lives in Ohio with her partner and their neurotic cats. Her greatest moments in life are spent with her family, her friends, and her characters. You can find out more about Sloan and her work at www.sloanparker.com
- Sloan and her partner of many years live in the US in northern Ohio.
- She holds a master’s degree in Mass Communications.
- Sloan wrote a gay vampire romance that has yet to be seen by anyone outside her own house. She loves the story and hopes to revise and submit at some time in the future.
- Sloan has won several awards for her writing including: Rainbow Awards for Best Gay Novel, Best Gay Contemporary Romance, Best Plot Development, and Best Characters Development; More Than Magic RWA contest for First Book category; EPIC eBook Award in Mystery, Suspense, and/or Adventure Erotic Romance category.
- Sloan is bisexual, a vegetarian, an animal lover, a writer, a reader, and lover of all things romantic and sexy.
For Kazza K’s reviews of MORE, Breathe, Take Me Home, Something to Believe In, and How To Save a Life click here For Cindi’s review of Swept Away click here To celebrate On Top Down Under’s one year anniversary, Sloan Parker has kindly agreed to a giveaway from her back list of terrific books, either in print or e-book. They offer something for everyone reading or wanting to read in the M/M genre. It is so easy. For a chance to win one of Sloan’s books simply leave a comment below to be in the running. (Please note the CAPTCHA code at the bottom of the page when commenting and add it for your comment to be accepted.) Thank you so much to Sloan Parker for popping by today and joining in our one year celebrations with such open answers to our questions and this fantastic giveaway. The giveaway will be open until midnight (US)Eastern Standard Time Sunday, October 20th 2013. The winner will be notified by email Monday, Oct. 21st. Good luck and Cheers!
**THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**