Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Interview with Erotic Romance Author Draven St. James

Check out my interview with erotic romance writer Draven St. James

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?  
I've always known I wanted to be a writer. I came up with stories before I could even write and lets just say I'm not the best artist.  So I won't be illustrating any books anytime soon. Thus, when I could actually write out my stories I found my love of words. 
How long does it take you to write a book?  
Honestly, it depends on the book and the amount of research I have to do. It is possible to write a first draft of a book in a week. I have done that, but when you tack on editing that is what takes the most time for me. 
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 
I guess something that may seem odd to others would be that I write all the steamy scenes in my books last.
What do you think is the best way of publishing a book these days? 
 I've really enjoy working with Loose Id so I'd say that submitting your work and finding a publisher might be good to start. With any book an author is responsible for a good part of their promotion so either through self-publication or publishing through a publisher it is a lot of work. 
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? 
I get my ideas from my day to day experiences. Interactions with individuals from different professions or just seeing a man and thinking "wow, I want to work a story around him". I get my information through on site interviews, like in the Firehouse Six series I spent some time at a firehouse getting to know the guys.
When did you write your first book?  
My first m/m erotic novel was when I was twenty-two. I didn't submit it because I'm horribly shy about my writing, but eventually my pushy friends got me to let down my guard enough to submit.  That book was Grey's Hidden fire from the Firehouse Six series. 
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?  
I really enjoy reading, which I have very little time to do anymore. I enjoy dancing and going out to coffee with friends. Granted, as of late I haven't really had time for much else. It is all promo, editing and writing.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? How supportive my friends and family were. 
The ones who had never even read erotica, let alone m/m erotica went out and bought my books. They actually read them and were surprised by how much they enjoyed them. 
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?  
I've published three, but I've written at least ten. I pick at them and mold them until I feel they can be completed. My favorite so far is Fire and Mistletoe because I got the opportunity to delve more into the Firehouse Six guys. Mica and Grey are my two favorite characters, but the other firefighters are getting their own stories. Simon should be next!
Can you tell me and your readers something about your main characters? 
Mica and Grey are two down to earth heroes. They are passionate, but not perfect. They're real. They laugh a lot and explore one another's nudity in depth.  Lol.  Grey is vulnerable where Mica is more open. They compliment one another. 
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?  
I do hear from my readers and I love it! They generally ask when my next book will be out and who will it be about. When Grey's Hidden Fire was released it didn't take long before my readers were asking for more of Mica and Grey…then of course they wanted more of Simon. The same thing with Scent of a Wolf happened. The readers wanted to know more about the shifters and the stories behind the other characters. 
What do you think makes a good story? What are your favorite book genres in writing and reading? Why? 
I think a great story is only great if the characters are strong.  A story is character driven. No matter how exciting a story line may be, if the characters are weak the story won't hold together. I read primarily m/m erotic fiction both paranormal and contemporary. I read and write what I love in those genres.  I think that I enjoy those genres because of the strength of the male characters and how it contrasts the vulnerability that is exhibited. Also, building new worlds is incredibly fun!
Who are you favorite authors to read?
Wow, now that would make for a very long list. I really enjoy Lynn Hagen, Stormy Glenn, Stephani Hecht, Shawn Lane, Carol Lynn, Morticia Knight, Katalina Leon, Rick Reed, Erin O'Quinn, Gabrielle Evans, Joyee Flynn, Charlie Richards, so, so, so, so, many others!  I use to have more time to read and now I just buy the books and they sit sadly on my Ipad waiting for the day when I'll have time to read them!

Now that we have learned a little about Draven St. James lets check out Fire and Mistletoe

When Greyson Hayes envisions the perfect first Christmas with Mica Cruz he sees twisted sheets, a bottle of wine and a roaring fire. What he doesn't see is a holiday spent with the uproarious Cruz family. Grey hasn't taken part in a family Christmas since the death of his parents. Despite his misgivings, he can't seem to form the word no when it comes to Mica.

Mica knows that Grey's not a grinch. Hell, the man shares so much Christmas cheer during the holidays that he leaves no time to experience any for himself. Not this year. Mica plans to make a few changes, starting with a few wicked and whimsical gifts. He enlists the help of his co-workers at Firehouse Six. They band together and strive to provide Grey with the same joy he gives to everyone else--with five a.m. tree hunts, strategically placed mistletoe and Mica playing Santa's not-so-little helper.

But while Mica is busy being nice, Grey has plenty of time to be naughty…


The holiday season immersed Mica as he wandered around the mall with Simon, one of the men Mica worked with at Firehouse Six. The strong scents of cloves and nutmeg permeating the air carried along the melody of every Christmas song known to man. Santa bellowed a “Ho, ho, ho” when they made their way past his village. Children lined up around the plush red chair, herded by elves in their eagerness to see jolly old Saint Nick. 

“What exactly are we looking for?” Simon asked from beside him. He fairly bounced in his gait. The man never did anything at a slow pace. 

“I’m having a hard time picking out something for Grey,” Mica admitted. 

“If you want something for your lover, then shouldn’t we be at the adult store?” Simon grinned with a not-too-subtle thrusting of his hips. 

“Hardy har har. I already got that gift. I want to get him something more serious. More meaningful.” Mica sighed. For all the little bits of information Grey shared regarding his life, he remained closed off in other ways. They were still getting to know the minor quirks about each other. But with each moment shared, Mica fell even more in love with the quiet man. 

“Earth to Mica.” Simon’s hand swished in front of his face. 

“Shit, sorry. What were you saying?” 

“I wanted you to share with the class what you bought Grey at the naughty store. Please, please, please?” Simon vibrated with his enthusiasm. His moss-green eyes shone like they were lit from within. 

“No. If I let you peek into the bedroom games, soon you’ll want to come in to referee. I think not, my friend.” Mica emphatically shook his head. 

“Okay, but just know, my own thoughts about it are probably so much dirtier than what’s really happening.” Simon snickered and proceeded on ahead. 

Mica followed him into a popular clothing store. There was always hope he’d trip over what would inspire him. He’d already purchased a lot of gifts for Grey, but he hoped to give Grey everything he wanted for Christmas. That included a joyful holiday season. Mica didn’t want to be responsible for Grey being disappointed or regretting his decision to spend the holiday with Mica and his family. 

He finally shook himself out of his mental reflection and took a look around, nearly getting smacked in the face with a silk thong. He doubted the perfect item for Grey would be in the women’s lingerie section. 

It was quite awkward being surrounded by racks of teddies, panties, and cotton gowns. The ankle-length flowered frocks just wouldn’t look good on Grey’s frame, Mica thought, laughing to himself at the visual. 

“Oh, come on,” Simon cooed. “Grey would look so dreamy in these.” 

Mica picked up the pink panties Simon waved at him. “This isn’t really his color.” 

“They have them in green,” Simon offered. 

“That makes it so much better.” Mica rolled his eyes. Besides, he preferred Grey naked. “But I’m sure you could buy them for yourself.” 

“But wherever would I wear such a delicate piece of fabric?” Simon fluttered his lashes. 

“Not where, but for who.” Mica tilted his head and assessed Simon. 

Simon stared back at him while obviously attempting a blank expression. 

“Come on, now. I see the way you look at him.” 

“Him who?” Simon’s face reddened. 

“You know exactly the man I’m referring to,” Mica prodded. He escaped the women’s section and wandered over to the men’s clothes. How romantic was a shirt? 

“I don’t…” Simon hunched his shoulders. “Do you think he notices?” 

“I knew it.” Mica couldn’t stop the huge smile that spread across his face. “And no, I don’t think Michael knows.” Simon’s crush on the lieutenant at Firehouse Six remained under wraps between Grey and Mica. Truth be told, he’d seen Michael giving Simon some curious looks. Michael frequently made a point of poking fun at Simon, but never in a cruel way. If Mica dialed up Dr. Phil on the situation, he’d say the two men were playing a game of chicken regarding who would cave first. Except with Michael’s pride, even if Simon swerved before him, Simon might just run into a brick wall. 

“It’s ridiculous. I mean, look at me.” Simon gestured to his thin frame. “Someone like Michael would never be interested. He treats me like a kid anyway.” 

“Don’t sell yourself short. Maybe you have too little going on upstairs and too much downstairs.” 

Mica smirked. Although he wasn’t one hundred percent sure Michael was gay, he wouldn’t be surprised if Michael came out. Not long after Mica’s relationship with Grey came to light, Michael had made a point of pulling Mica into his office for a private chat. Michael had given him the number of a gay support group for firefighters, one that not even Mica had known about. Then Michael had gone on to explain that if Mica or Grey ever needed any advice on being openly gay in their profession, his door was always open. Through the whole conversation, Michael hadn’t out-and-out said I’m gay, but Mica’s gaydar had dinged like crazy. 

“Funny man,” Simon muttered. 

“Just remember, sometimes it’s what isn’t said that’s important. Besides, we’ll be losing you to the paramedics soon. Give him time to miss you.” 

“It’ll be odd not to work with you guys anymore, but working as a paramedic is more up my alley. I’ll still be helping people in a different capacity.” Simon shuffled through some hideous shirts on a rack, completely avoiding Mica’s comment about Michael. 

“True, but you’ll miss out on all the great food,” Mica joked. 

Simon theatrically put his hand to his chest. “Oh my Lord, I will waste away.” 

“You have no excess to lose. Just make sure to eat a box of doughnuts a day and come to visit us often,” Mica ordered. 

Simon chuckled and chose a bright orange dress shirt off the rack to pair with a pink tie. “Do you think he’d like this?” 

“Like it for what? Something to laugh at?” Mica stared at the glaring combination of colors. For a gay man, Simon had horrible fashion sense. Not that Mica was a pro or anything, but orange and pink? Really? “Or perhaps to direct traffic?” 

“You know, I’m sure we came here for you. Go forth and find something for Grey. I’m getting old standing next to you, and I actually have to go on shift in about two hours.” 

“Don’t get all snarky on me,” Mica said with a shake of his head. Scanning the store, he meandered past Simon to the jewelry section. He perused the selection of watches, the masculine bracelets, and paused at the rings. 

“Really?” Simon asked from behind him. 

Mica ignored him and hunched down to get a closer look at a simple band with what appeared to be titanium lines of color along the surface. 

“Can I help you with anything?” A smiling saleswoman approached and stopped to face him over the glass counter. Without waiting for his response, she pulled out the tray of rings and set it in front of him. 

“This is a special collection of platinum with inlaid titanium. We just got them in, and already they’ve become one of our most popular items.” The sugary sweetness of her voice belied the sincerity of her words. 

Mica couldn’t care less about her sales pitch. The ring beamed back at him, and in a flash he could see the precious metal contrasting with the tan skin of Grey’s strong finger. Was it too soon to take such a big step? He felt no panic or fear well up. His mother had told him that once you know, you know. 

“Really they are quite a unique find. So masculine and—” 

“You can stop now. I’m sold.” He pointed to the band he wanted. She sized it based on his hand and placed it carefully in a box. 

The heat of Simon’s gaze burned its way through Mica’s shirt. It was a private event for the man to have been a part of, but the group of men at the fire department had become a second family. Mica didn’t need to be concerned regarding Simon gossiping about his purchase. 

When the woman finished ringing up Grey’s gift, he pivoted to face Simon. The only reaction he got was a small smile from Simon and a subtle nod. He didn’t need the approval, but it felt good nonetheless. This man had known Grey longer than Mica had, and Simon’s acceptance produced a certain level of comfort. 

“Just don’t go all cheesy, dude.” Simon bumped his shoulder against Mica’s. “That doesn’t seem to be Grey’s style, you know? Simple is the way to go.” 

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Mica started to move away from the jewelry counter, only to be stopped by Simon pointing out a tray of men’s bracelets. 

Pink to red gravitated up Simon’s face all the way to the tips of his ears. Mica suppressed the urge to smile when Simon picked out and bought a bracelet that was a combination of titanium and leather. 

With both of them holding their purchases, Mica said, “I think he’ll like it.” 

“If I can manage the cojones to give it to him,” Simon muttered. “It wouldn’t be the first gift to be left languishing in my closet.” 

A twinge of surprise went through Mica. He knew Simon had a crush on Michael, but not for that long. 

“Like a Band-Aid, man. Just like a Band-Aid.” Mica put his hand on Simon’s shoulder and squeezed. “You never know.” 

“Sometimes being in the dark is better,” Simon whispered so low Mica barely heard the words. 

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