Here's the thing – I'm an erotic romance author. I settled into this groove six months or so ago and decided that yes, here, good, this is what I'm going to do with the rest of my life. Prior to making that decision, I fluttered between being a poet (a crap one), an author of short literary pieces, and a YA author. YA author held out the longest; for a while, I took my props from people like Maggie Stiefvater and John Green. I even wrote a ways into a YA manuscript. About ten thousand words, I think.
That's how far it took me to get to the sex. Which I wanted to write. In detail. Which I couldn't write in detail, if I ever wanted to publish the story. YA went out the window, and when I abandoned the genre in favor of erotic romance (going back to my fanfiction roots), I figured I had dodged the "Is it like Twilight or Harry Potter?" question that plagued me since I told coworkers and family about my plans to become a YA author.
Then I wrote a story about vampires.
My piece in Masks Off Too!, titled "Scented," is about the furthest from Twilight that you can get, but I still have to ward off the eternal Twilight question. "No, it has gay sex," has become my default answer, which does one of two things: 1) shuts people up, or 2) interests them. The fact that a huge chunk of the industry has rabid interest in shapeshifters does stem from Twilight's publication, but the default assumption that your vampire book = an exact copy of Twilight is obnoxious to any writer.
Truth is, Felix, the vampire main character from "Scented," was inspired by a popular book: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I can go back to a single moment in the American film of TGWTDT: Lisbeth, sitting bare-legged on the sink and eating breakfast, her hair down, telling Mikael that she likes working with him.
That single moment is the inspiration for Felix. I wanted a whip-smart character with an odd sense of humor who gives affection to one person only. Ben, the other main character, flourished from that image. He's the counter-balance to Felix: the serious, grounded everyman who wound up tangled in vamp business that was over his head and who is now stuck with Felix as a lifetime addition.
Together, they make a good enough team to mostly make it out alive sometimes. Yes, that.
For a short excerpt from "Scented," go here!
Buy Masks Off Too! here.
GIVEAWAY! Comment on this post or on the excerpt post at my personal blog with your name, email, and your favorite trope to read about in vampire fiction. Do you like the biting? The coffins? The garlic? I want to hear about it! Contest closes Saturday, 3/16, at 9PM CDT.
One randomly selected winner will receive a signed paperback of Masks Off Too!. A second winner will receive a .pdf copy of Masks Off Too!. A third winner will receive a .pdf of "Scented"!