Welcome to my stop on the Absolutely Erotic Blog Hop! This summer, we showcase erotica and erotic romance authors from the Absolute Write forums. Interviews are done each day, and you can access the entire blog schedule at the very end of this post. Each stop has a prize, so be sure to hop along to maximize winnings.
As part of this stop, I’m offering a copy of any book from my backlist to a random commenter. When I say "erotic," what's the first word that comes to mind?
Today, I’m hosting Ana J. Phoenix, who writes m/m romance and erotica. Her debut book, Lab Rat’s Love, was released a few days ago from Loose Id. She and I actually have a ton of things in common, so we’ll be deviating from the standard questions (being all writers, I’m sure the organizers don’t mind overly much).
1. Hi Ana, and welcome to my blog. First off, congrats on your debut release. The cover is gorgeous, and we’ll get to that later. To start—how did you come about your interest in hot guy-on-guy action? (I’ve only ever written m/f romances, so I’m always curious).
Hey, Tara! Thank you for having me. Love what you’ve done with the place. Very cozy blog. My first contact with m/m action came in the form of the Japanese manga Gravitiation. It was marketed to adults, so I had to have it. I was probably 14 at the time. There wasn’t much adult material in that manga, but it acted as a gateway drug to the world of yaoi. Japanese ‘hard-core’ gay manga.
2. On the topic of ecchi and yaoi…. Who’s your favorite Mangaka, and how have their works influenced your writing? My tastes are largely shaped by Shinohara Chie and Saito Chiho, who both draw rather sexy stuff. I blame my tendency to favor “pretty” heroes on their early influence (though I’ve veered away from this in my later works).
My favorite mangaka… my al –time favorite series is Fullmetal Alchemist, so I’m going to have to say Hiromu Arakawa. It’s not a romance series, but it focuses on the importance of friends and family and the value of human life, lightening up dark themes with a bit of comedy. Things I like to see in the works I read and write.
3. It’d take a very quick perusal of our author bios to figure out we’re ESL writers (I grew up in Thailand). As a writer, what do you think are some advantages and disadvantages to not having been raised as a native-English speaker?
One of the disadvantages for me is the hunt for the ever elusive word. I often find myself struggling to describe certain motions or gestures, and then I put things like _insert blablabla_ into my first drafts so I don’t get stuck. And then I also get the ‘does this sound right?’ moments, like I’m suddenly not sure I’m using the language right and people actually talk like that. I usually end up rewriting those sentences.
An advantage is having actively studied English grammar, while native speakers often don’t have much of an incentive to think about the mechanics of their language.
4. (Fun activity–ask a native English speaker: What is the first person subjunctive mood of the verb to be?) Now that the more serious stuff is done, lets talk about your gorgeous cover! As it so happens, the awesome Syneca Featherstone also designed my cover for Operation Owl. So what type of author are you when it comes to covers—picky or not picky? Did you make lots of changes or just put your baby in her hands? (I think I drove Syneca very crazy by the end of the process. She likely will never want to do one of my covers again…)
My publisher handled that, mostly. I filled in a cover art request form, describing my characters and such, and they took it from there. I was shown the cover art about a week after that, and given a chance to complain. I didn’t.
5. You didn't? Tsk, tsk... Super chill authors like you give my ilk a bad name. Let’s talk about Nex and Kane from Lab Rat’s Love. How do they meet?
They meet at Nex’s twin’s deathbed. He dies in the opening scene, leaving both Nex and Kane with problems they can only solve by working together. Nex needs financial help, and Kane needs Nex to help him in an experiment with a sex chip. There’s some trouble with that because Kane used to sleep with Nex’s twin, though.
6. I have to say, that’s a pretty unique premise. What gave you the idea to write it?
Hah. Definitely not based on personal experience. But I’ve always had a bit of a fascination for twins and the construction of identity. And the sex chip… well… I’m a nerd with a filthy mind.
7. I can sort of tell this from your cover, but lets make sure—How hot are Nex and Kane? What do they look like?
Pretty hot? Hah, that’s actually not something I give a lot of thought to. I know some authors describe seeing their scenes like movies in their head, but I don’t. I hardly know what my characters look like. I know what they feel like, though, and that’s what makes a sex scene hot, anyway.
8. Good point (although I'm a much shallower author–I tend to "cast" my characters). Would you mind sharing a snippet from when they first get a little … naughty?
They found themselves in a large bedroom. Bookshelves lined one side of it, just like the ones in the office. A desk, a wardrobe, and a king-size bed, all made out of light wood, took up most of the rest of the space. A fluffy orange carpet decorated the floor at their feet.
“This your bedroom?” Nex asked, frowning. Was that “something” Kane wanted to show him going to be his dick?
Kane approached him from behind. He was so close now that if Nex had taken one step back, he would have bumped right into the arrogant bastard. It made the hairs on Nex’s neck stand up, just thinking about Kane’s hard male body. Thinking about Kane who seemed to have quite a thing for sex toys and quite a thing for Nex.
“Look around a little more; anything else you notice?”
Nex’s gaze found a hook in the wall above the bed’s headboard. He stood completely still for a moment, the implications of his discovery going through his mind.
“What do you think goes through there?” Kane asked, coming a step closer, that small step that made him press into Nex. Nex took a deep breath to help him calm down, but instead he got a lungful of Kane’s scent, leather and spice, and that didn’t help at all.
“Chains,” Nex said.
“You seem to like the idea.” Kane raised his hand, stroking through a lock of Nex’s hair, sending a shiver down Nex’s spine and into his groin area.
Was there any point in denying it? As much as Nex hated Kane’s arrogance, his dick didn’t seem to mind. “You’ll find I’m not as submissive as some like,” Nex said.
“You’ll let me find out?” Kane tugged at Nex’s hair, tilting his head back to make Nex look up at him.
9. Okay, now that you’ve got me all … bothered … Where can readers go to find out more about your book?
All the usual sites. It’s on Goodreads, for example, and of course on my publisher’s website, and Amazon.
10. Before I let you run off—any social media haunts readers can stalk you at?
I’m on Facebook and Twitter (@anajphoenix). I refollow / refriend liberally.
Thanks again so much for stopping by! I look forward to reading your interview of the very talented Evelyn Aster tomorrow.
Lab Rat’s Love
When Nex blows all his money on drugs and gambling, Kane offers to pay off his debts. But his generosity comes at a price: Nex has to become his lab rat. Kane’s company has developed a sex chip, and Nex is the only eligible test candidate.
Nex doesn’t mind having kinky sex with a drop-dead gorgeous CEO for testing purposes. Even less so when Kane turns out to be all Nex ever wanted in a Dom and in a boyfriend. There’s only one problem. Kane used to live with Nex’s deceased twin, someone who Kane may still be hung up on, even if he denies it.
Still, Nex wants Kane, and he knows there’s only one way to get him: kick the drugs and stay clean — before his addiction ruins the experiment and their budding relationship.
About Ana J. Phoenix
Ana writes m/m romance and erotica. Her interest in hot guy-on-guy action was first sparked by reading scandalous Japanese mangas. A dirty secret she couldn’t resist. In a long bout of insanity – also known as her life — she decided to learn the language and escape to the land of sushi, sumo, and yaoi.
She’s since moved back to Europe to be with the love of her life – delicious European chocolate.
Now she resides in the sunny part of Germany where she fills her days chasing her dreams and writing about men in complicated relationships. Her family believes she’s writing “erotic manga stories.” She’s pleased they got the erotic part right, at least.
Follow along on the 2014 installment of the Absolutely Erotic Blog Hop...
June 23 - Azalea Moone interviews Anais Morgan
June 24 - Anais Morgan interviews Emily Veinglory
June 25 - Emily Veinglory interviews Scarlet Day
June 26 - Scarlet Day interviews Zoe X. Rider
June 27 - Zoe X. Rider interviews Gail Bridges
June 28 - Gail Bridges interviews Crane Hana
June 29 - Crane Hana interviews Kate Lowell
June 30 - Kate Lowell interviews Karenna Colcroft
July 01 - Karenna Colcroft interviews Kimber Vale
July 02 - Kimber Vale interviews Ravon Silvius
July 03 - Ravon Silvius interviews Tara Quan
July 04 - Tara Quan interviews Ana J. Phoenix (HERE)
July 05 - Ana J. Phoenix interviews Evelyn Aster
July 06 - Evelyn Aster interviews Dee Tass
July 07 - Dee Tass interviews Azalea Moone