Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Guest Blogger: Hal Bodner

For a pleasant change, I'm pleased to host a guest blogger, writer and bon vivant Hal Bodner. This is my first time hosting a guest blogger, and I may be doing it more in the future.

Hal is participating in the "Next Big Thing" blogging meme where an author answers ten set interview questions.

author Hal Bodner

1. What is the working title of your next book?

Which one? I’m almost always working on more than one book at a time.

Currently I’m doing a massive re-write on the third installment in the Chris and Troy series. It’s called Mummy Dearest and is the sequel to Bite Club and The Trouble with Hairy. I was never satisfied with the way the villains came out in Mummy Dearest. I started with one distinct idea in mind and the characters kept trying to move in a different direction. I tried forcing them to do what I wanted – which is always a mistake – and the result was a disaster.

I’m also working on the third installment – this is my years for writing the sequels to sequels, I guess – of my gay superhero series, featuring Alex Archer a.k.a. The Whirlwind. It’s called A Study in Spandex.

And finally, I’ve gone BACK to working on a space opera that’s been giving me so much trouble for the past couple of years.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Since Fabulous in Tights, the first Whirlwind book, is probably going to come out before any of the others, I guess that’s the one to talk about.

I had been toying with an idea for a mystery novel where the “detective” was a male prostitute. However, I very rapidly discovered that I completely lack the skill for intricate plotting that a good mystery requires. Nevertheless, there was something about the prostitute character that intrigued me. I had read both Perry Moore’s Hero and Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible, both of which are super hero books, and I realized that a lot of the elements that I wanted to tackle in a mystery novel could also be dealt with effectively in an adventure/fantasy book. Even better, l could spare myself the difficulties of plotting as I am definitely NOT Agatha Christie!

3. What genre does your book fall under?

It’s definitely a fantasy with a lot of action/adventure thrown in. I had a blast going over-the-top with my villains again. There’s also a fair amount of satire (which is a dirty word in publishing!) thrown in. Though on the surface, my stuff is just good clean campy fun, I tend to write sub-textually and thematically, though many people don’t realize that.

And, of course, being a gay author whose work deals with a lot of elements of LGBT culture, I often get labeled by that alone – which is a shame. I don’t write merely “gay fiction” any more than Bram Stoker wrote “Irish” fiction. An author’s background colors his or her work, but it shouldn’t limit it.

Finally, I think I’m best known as a comedy writer in spite of the fact that most of my work has been in the horror and fantasy genres. I have no idea why that is. Perhaps I’m funny?

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

If it were up to me as the writer – which it would NOT be in the movie industry as writers are considered the lowest of the low – I can think of a couple of actors I’d love to work with. Ryan Reynolds, Zac Efron, Taylor Lautner, Chris Evans or any of the guys from “The Avengers” movie.

In all honesty, they might very well be completely wrong for the role but, as long as I could write lots of scenes where they run around with their shirts off and be on-set when they shoot them, who cares?

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

An male ex-prostitute becomes a super hero and battles his arch nemesis to a surprising and heart-breaking finish… with lots of laughs and zany situations along the way.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’ve never had much luck with agents, frankly. I did one book as a self-published work and it didn’t sell as well as anything I’ve published with even the smaller publishers. So, the Whirlwind series will definitely be coming out from a “real” publisher.

Self-publishing is all very well and good but it takes a huge amount of time to do the P.R. that even the lousiest of publisher’s marketing departments can do.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I can’t remember exactly but, generally, it takes me between two and four months to do a first draft IF I’m writing full time. Since the economy went south, and since the advent of self-publishing and e-books, publishers have stopped paying the kinds of large advances that some of us used to get. So it’s even more difficult to make a living writing full time. I own a small business and, for the past year or so, I’ve been actively working in it to save money rather than hiring people. It takes up a lot of time.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I don’t know that there ARE any comparisons! I tend to do things that are innovative. Bite Club was the first gay vampire comedy. For Love of the Dead was the first erotic zombie paranormal romance. And Fabulous in Tights is pretty much unique. It’s comedic, for one thing. Neither Moore’s book nor Grossman’s book was written to be funny even though both are within the super hero genre (if there even is such a thing).

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
It’s nothing that “meaningful” that inspires me. I generally get an idea and think, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” or “Maybe it would be fun to take a whack at…” I jot it down somewhere and think about it for a bit. If the idea still resonates with me a few months later when I’m pawing through my desk drawer and I re-discover the slip of paper I wrote it on, I’ll generally start writing it.

Often, of course, I AM inspired by something specific but that’s rare. I wrote In Flesh and Stone because I had agreed to do a paranormal romance for an editor I knew. But the inspiration was having recently finished Katherine Kurtz’s St. Patrick’s Gargoyle. I enjoyed it but found it to be a trifle too political and church-y for my taste. Nevertheless, the gargoyle was a monster I hadn’t yet explored and which interested me. I set out to combine the romance I was committed to writing with the gargoyle concept and, as often happens, the result was something completely different than anything I’d intended! But that’s the way it works sometimes.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

It’s funny as hell. My main character is a really sweet guy in street clothes. But when he’s forced to don the costume and becomes the super hero, he kind of resents the heck out of having to save people from what too often ends up being their own stupidity. He’s also got the MOST caustic tongue of any character I’ve ever written and he has no compunction about slinging a couple of very cutting zingers at people he’s trying to save.

There’s also a pretty damned touching and tragic love story that runs throughout Fabulous in Tights which may also appeal to people. I know that almost every time I have to re-read it for editing purposes (you probably do that about a dozen times with every book you write), I end getting all weepy at the end even though I’m the one who wrote it!

You can find out more about Hal at his website, http://www.wehovampire.com.

And now for the Next Big Thing bloggers that Hal chose:

Michaelbrent Collings is a bestselling novelist, produced screenwriter and WGA member, martial artist, and has a killer backhand on the badminton court ('cause he's macho like that). He has written numerous bestselling novels, including Apparition, The Haunted, Billy: Messenger of Powers, RUN, The Loon, and Rising Fears. In addition, he has also written dozens of non-fiction articles which have appeared in periodicals on several continents. His blog is at http://michaelbrentcollings.com/blog2.html

Ray Garton is the author of over 60 books and scores of short stories. He is a passionate lover of movies and books, and along with his wife Dawn, he is owned by several cats. Sometimes he has the urge to write but really don't have anything to say, so he blogs at http://preposteroustwaddlecock.blogspot.com/

Karen E. Taylor is a horror/paranormal author, with eight published novels to date and an eclectic assortment of short fiction which ranges from vampires to ghosts to telepathic, romantic dinosaurs. I'm working on a few new projects, but I'm superstitious enough to not want to talk about them yet. Her web site is at http://www.karenetaylor.com

New York Times best-selling author Cherry Adair, always an adventurer in life as well as writing, moved halfway across the globe from Cape Town, South Africa to the United States in her early years to become a interior designer. Now a resident of the Pacific Northwest she shares the award- winning adventures of her fictional T-FLAC counter terrorism operatives with her readers. Her blog is at http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/55474.Cherry_Adair/blog

Ryan Field is the author of over 100 published works of LGBT fiction, the best selling Virgin Billionaire series, a PG rated hetero romance that was featured on The Home Shopping Network titled, "Loving Daylight," and a few more works of full length fiction with a pen name. He's worked in publishing for twenty years as a writer, editor, and associate editor. His work has been in Lambda Award winning anthologies and he's self-published a few novels with Ryan Field Press. His blog is at http://ryan-field.blogspot.com

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