Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Ethan. We are very excited and can’t wait to learn more about you.
ED: I’ve been told that before, Michele – they were just trying to get into my pants, though.
Were they successful?
ED: Well…yeah! It’s always been a personal motto to put out first and ask questions later. More than a motto, actually – a way of life.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
ED: Well, I think it’s pretty average. Not too big, not too small – the Goldilocks of asses, if you will.
Wow, um…okay. I was actually asking about your past, you know, a bit of your history. Not about the size of your ass.
ED: Really? Huh. Perhaps I’ve been spending too much time in gay chat rooms. I just assumed no one actually cared ‘cause I keep filling out those profile thingy’s yet the first question I always get is: Stats?
Maybe you should save time and just list your stats?
ED: And come off like a big ‘ole ho…I don’t think so! What kind of a boy do you take me for?
But what about that whole, ‘put out first’ motto?
ED: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
You just said…
ED: Talk about putting words into someone’s mouth. : )
Okay…let’s just move on. What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
ED: The first book I completed was Dreaming of You, though it was the second book to get published. I finished it back in 2003ish. I did the whole agent/publisher route. Had a little interest from one publisher at that time, but they wanted me to make the book longer. Horrible thing, I know. How rude for them like my writing enough to ask for more!
I’m not sure why I wound up letting that opportunity pass me by. In retrospect, perhaps I just wasn’t ready? I ended up shelving the writing for a few years until the summer of 2008 when I decided to take a second look at things. That’s when I discovered the smaller e-pubs, and M/M or gay romance. It seemed like a nice fit, and with some slight re-tooling I was good to go.
How many books have you written thus far?
ED: I’ve written four novels and one novella. The short story, titled Sno Ho, I’m currently working on a full length continuation to. It was published in the MLR Antho, Melting the Slopes with 2 other stories, one by William Maltese and the other by Jason Edding. That sequel, which I’m writing now is titled Life in Fusion and should be out fall/winter 2010.
The novels, along with Dreaming of You, include Self Preservation, As You Are, and my newest release, available July 27th from Loose Id, LLC – At Piper’s Point. Piper’s is about going home again – dealing with change, and the history there which still haunts the main character, Cassidy. It’s a little sad, and funny and zany. He winds up with a lot of balls in the air, so to speak, juggling as fast as he can, yet still managing to fumble.
When did you start writing Gay Romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
ED: I started writing what I considered gay romantic comedy. It just felt like all the media/entertainment for gay men was depressing…about death, sadness and unhappiness. Too much tragedy.
Frankly, if want a dose of reality, all I need to do is log onto the computer and look at my checking account balance. That’d be enough to make any little homo weep.
With my books, realistic or not, I wanted to represent the lighter side. To write about gay men who fell in love, stumbled and struggled – usually in a humorous way, and then came out on top in the end…or bottom if that’s what the character preferred. : )
I really love being gay. I wouldn’t change that about myself for all the money in the world. And I wanted to write stories that celebrated who we are as gay men. To show that it’s not all Tammy-tragical with the coming out, hate crimes, and depressing crap. Yes…it’s still fantasy. But who says we shouldn’t have a little of that positive mojo in our gay-lit diet?
Do you write full time?
ED: No. I wish I could. But the insurance benefits for the self-employed suck, LOL.
Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?
ED: I’ve always been a daydreamer. Always fantasizing and playing make-believe as a child. I played with my Star Wars action figures and made up my own stories. I’d even re-write reality when I didn’t like the way things worked out. Imagining them the way I wished they’d happened. Reality can suck it! Imaginary is so much more fun.
Things would be so awesome if I was in control of how they turned out!! LOL.
On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
ED: There’s no such thing for me. I can sit down to write and get 1000 words that day, or wind up with five to eight thousand words. Some days I’ll re-read what I’ve already written, going back over it, trying to make it better. Other days I’ll stop and plot and make out a list of possible scene ideas for where I think the story is going to go.
I try to roll with the punches, so that on the days when the words aren’t flowing freely, I can make myself useful doing other things. I’ll wind up going back over the entire manuscript countless times, in smaller sections – trying to improve each scene. And some days I’ll beg off altogether and veg in front of the television. Keeping myself from wigging out when things aren’t flowing is what prevents me from having a meltdown. You must remain calm, people. If you can imagine it…it will come.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
ED: I always start each story with a very basic idea. From there I figure out who my characters are going to be. I’ll then begin free writing until I get about twenty to twenty-five thousand words. This kind of allows me to get the characters voice down. To get into their head and provides plenty of room for anything spontaneous. Then I’ll start plotting, making a list of scenes, figuring out the entire story and how I’m going to get from point A to point B. I’ll then search for moments within that journey where I can get some laughs.
What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
ED: Only what I need to. It’s easier to make up a town for me. I have an interior design background, so it’s less trouble for me to imagine spaces. Plus I suppose it’s my way of designing rooms, houses, and businesses such as restaurants without having to do any of the actual work.
I’m not a huge research junkie. It’s fun for about five minutes for me – then I start whining and getting all cranky and stuff. : )
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
ED: Wait…there’s a line? *Looking around at my imaginary entourage*
Who forgot to mention the line, people!?! It’s way difficult getting faux help these days. I only use pieces of me or my friend’s personality quirks in my characters. And I always change the names and sometimes genders to protect the innocent.
How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read?
ED: Depends on the person I was asking and why I was asking them. If I’m asking for help with the editing or content, then I have to bite the bullet and hand it over – regardless of how crappy the writing is at that stage.
If I only want an overall opinion of the story or to get a sense of the entertainment value, then I’d want it pretty darn close to perfect.
If you weren’t sitting there right this very moment answering our book of questions, what else would you be doing?
ED: Wondering why no one wanted to interview me. Seriously, yo! What’s wrong with me? Sheesh…can you believe that Ethan Day? Bitch be needy!!
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
ED: *spits on the ground twice, spins counter clockwise three times, then hops on one leg while singing Donna Summer’s Bad Girls until succumbing to dizziness*
I’m sorry…what was that? Do I think writer’s rock? Absolutely.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel, or experience?
ED: I hope they gain laughter, cop a feel and experience homo-nirvana!!
I’m happy if they’re entertained and hopefully they have a few really good laughs along the way. Anything beyond that is all, bonus. Writers and readers all want the same thing, to get lost in someone else’s life for a while. Hopefully that time spent with my guys is both engaging and fun.
I try not to take myself too seriously most of the time. It’s not now, nor has it ever been my goal to write, The Great American Novel. I’m in it for the cheap thrills and notoriety!! ; )
Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?
ED: I’ve had it happen both ways. Hmm…seems like I take it any way I can get it. Title slut!
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
ED: A little wicked? I don’t know, I suck at dissecting myself…I’m much better at examining others. Big shocker there I know. People make me laugh. The stupid things I do, make me laugh. Margaret Cho & Kathy Griffin make me laugh. Cursing for no reason makes me laugh. I love my potty mouth. : )
What is the most frequently asked Ethan question?
ED: Are you on meds OR should you be on meds?
What was the best piece of advice you’ve received with respect to the art of writing? How did you implement it into your work?
ED: To keep writing. Not to let anything stop you. Even if everything you write that day winds up being total shit, keep plugging away. I think writers are like sharks, which supposedly die if they stop swimming. I stopped writing for several years and it was a little like being placed on a dimmer. My light just didn’t shine as brightly.
When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?
ED: I don’t think I do all I could on this score, but there’s only so much time in a day. And as I’m not a full time writer, my time gets even more divided up. Often times it comes down to, I can write or I can promo. I do what I can and I try to keep my name out there without going overboard. I think blogging is likely the single best promo tool for authors. I wish I was better at keeping up with the content on my blog.
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
ED: Honestly, I have no clue. I think I’m too much of a spaz most of the time to consciously do anything intentionally. It’s important for me to take a break in between projects and just veg by watching TV or reading a book not written by me. A nice Saturday movie marathon with lots of caffeine and popcorn! Love that. : )
What pros and cons surround the e-publishing industry, and how do you envision the future of e-publishing?
ED: The biggest upside is the immediacy of it, for both writers and readers. Readers get it instantly, and I think that winds up helping writers sell more books. And writers make more money per book off e-book sales. The biggest downside is that despite the growing popularity of e-books, we are still a print society…hell, a print world. So for now anyway, I believe that if you can only be found in e-book format, you’re extremely limited with regard to building a larger readership.
What kind of books do you like to read?
ED: Really dirty ones. LOL…just kidding!
I like reading contemporary gay romance, obviously. I like mysteries, vampromance, and paranormal stuff. Anything really, so long as I feel engaged by the characters. I’m not a big fan of scary. Scary doesn’t mix well when you have an over-active imagination. I like suspense, but not horror.
What is your favorite TV show?
ED: True Blood & The Vampire Diaries. I still watch Buffy, Ally McBeal & Gilmore Girls. I think the character chemistry on Bones is totally brill. Cougar Town makes me laugh. That Courtney Cox will do anything for a laugh. Fringe – though I never really know what the hell is going on. The Closer, because Kyra Sedgwick is friggin’ awesome. GLEE…but seriously – it’s like gay-nip – as if I’d have the strength the resist it. Oh…you kinda only asked for one, huh? : )
What is your favorite fast food restaurant? Just thought we’d throw that in for fun…
ED: Hmmm…probably Sonic. They have the best soda. Plus lots of sweets and salty’s on the menu.
Without getting up, can you tell us what’s under your bed? (yep, another sneaky question.)
ED: Gi-normous dust bunnies! They require their own zip codes. Seriously, I can hear them whispering at night. I think their organizing… readying themselves to stage a coup and take over my bedroom.
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
ED: Really unhappy.
When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?
ED: I like for them to look professionally done and to reasonably represent the book.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
ED: Nothing I can talk about here. LOL…I’m so full of it. I like movies. Chatting, both online and face to face. A little wine now and again.