CA: What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
MC: Well, I like to call myself a ‘literary streetwalker with a heart of gold” meaning I usually write what folks – meaning publishers and editors -- want, which can mean anything from non-fiction to horror, from science fiction to humor, from advice columns to gay fiction, from blog stuff to smut, although most folk seem to want smut most of all. Not that I’m complaining, you understand: smut has been very, very good to me. In fact it’s how I got started and how I made my ‘name.’ Not to toot my horn … at least not too much … I’ve sold close to 300 stories short stories that have been in a whole lot of ‘best’ erotica books: Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica … well, you get the picture. I also have four collections of my stories in print: Dirty Words (gay erotica), Speaking Parts (lesbian erotica), The Bachelor Machine (science fiction erotica), and Filthy (more gay erotica); and have edited 20 or so anthologies including Confessions, Amazons, and Garden of Perverse (with Sage Vivant), and the Best S/M Erotica series. I also have written five novels and am working on my sixth: Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys, Me2, Brushes, and Painted Doll – of which only a couple are erotic.
CA: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
MC: I was in the fourth grade or so when I first realized that I liked the idea of writing, and that people could actually make a living at it, but it wasn’t until high school that I really gave it a shot. Alas, it took close to ten years before I sold my first story – a smut story, by the way – but after that I’ve been really working on getting stuff out there and working even harder on having fun doing it.
CA: Who or what was your inspiration for writing?
MC: I’d like to say some of the great and noble gods like Hemmingway and such but I found most of my true inspiration from, and admiration for, honest working writers in science fiction and comics. Okay, I really do love Steinbeck, Kipling, Hugo, and Dickens, but William Gibson, Alan Moore, Alfred Bester, Adam Warren, Ted Sturgeon, Alexander Jablokov, and Phil Dick are who I adore. I also really love classic movies, especially directors like Frankenheimer, Billy Wilder, and Wim Wenders.
I also can’t say enough for writers of simple, beautiful prose who are too often dismissed because they happen to write for things like television; Paul Dini, Hilary J. Bader, and Joss Whedon, and so forth. As I like to say: good writing is good writing, and it doesn’t make a difference if it’s for the New Yorker or a Saturday morning cartoon.
CA: When writers block attacks, what do you do to get back on track?
MC: I have a rather strange work ethic in that I don’t believe in talent, a muse, or suchlike. I’ve always just plain worked at my writing. Sometimes a story isn’t going well but I try to push through it nonetheless, trying to get to the heart at why it might be trouble. I also don’t wait for inspiration: most of the time what I’m doing is because someone, somewhere, asked for it. But that doesn’t mean I sell my soul. I really do simply love to write, to tell stories. When I get an assignment, or an opportunity crosses my path, I always try to make whatever it is ‘mine’ with a story I want to tell, no matter what the eventual market might be.
CA: What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
MC: I don’t really have a set schedule but I’m always very much aware of what has to be done and when it has to be turned in. Right now, for instance, I’m writing a bi-monthly article for Dark Roasted Blend (www.darkroastedblend.com), getting the word out about my four new books (Me2, Painted Doll, Brushes, and The Very Bloody Marys), and working on a new book for Zumaya – one I hope to get done in a few more months. Beyond that I’m trying to round up some new novel gigs and trying to find a new day job … after getting laid off recently from my last one, which I had for over ten years (sigh). Between all this I also have a wonderful partner in all things, Sage Vivant, who I adore, and various hobbies I’ve been regretfully ignoring. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to write for a living but until then I’m working as hard as I can to get myself out there: opportunities don’t come to you, you have to look for them.
CA: Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?
MC: One word: sigh. I’ve never been a huge self-promoter but I’ve been forcing myself to work harder at it. Like I just said: things don’t find you, you find them. Sitting in the dark hoping someone, anyone, will call just doesn’t work. That doesn’t mean I like having to send out press release after press release or do interview after interview (no insult) but to get where I want to be, which is to be able to write more books, it takes getting people to know who you are. It’s not fun, but it has to be done.
CA: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
MC: Alas, I’ve been ignoring a lot of my hobbies lately but I do plan on getting back to them eventually: robots and fun electronic stuff, little art projects, photography, food (eating and cooking), and travel. One of these days I’ll be able to get back to them but for right now the writing and the job search is taking up a lot of my time …probably too much of my time, but them’s the breaks.
CA: What is something shocking or weird about you that your readers don’t know about?
MC: Well, the biggest one I can think of is that even though I write a lot of gay themed books, for a lot of gay publishers and anthologies, I’m straight – but certainly not narrow, as the joke goes. I'm actually pretty proud of being able to make my projects, whatever they are, respectful of the audience and the ‘theme.’ I'm happy that my publishers don’t mind who I am, and that so many of my readers like my work --it's something that keeps me going. I just hope it continues because while it can be challenging, there’s a lot of enjoyment that comes with that challenge, and I really think it’s helped my writing.
CA: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
MC: I’ve already nattered about what I’ve done, so I don’t need to do that again. As for my fave … well, I don’t really have one. Sure I thought that Me2 came out really well and Painted Doll, Very Bloody Marys, and Brushes were lots of fun – and collections are always a kick -- but I like to say my favorite is the one I’m either working on right now or will be working on next. I just don’t like to look back, I guess. Besides, if you think your best is behind you, it doesn’t push you forward. I like the books I’ve written but I also think I could do better, which is what I try to remember whenever I do something new. I also try to stretch as much as possible, taking risks each time so I can learn and grow.
CA: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
MC: That’s a toughie: I do but I don’t. I don’t put ‘real’ people in my stuff, meaning friends and such, but I do put a lot of myself into whatever I do. I’m not gay man – and I’m not equipped to know what being a lesbian is like – but I do know what desire, hope, fear, embarrassment, pride, and love feels like so I write all of that into my stories and books. I also try to project as much of myself as I can into whatever I’m doing, to really get into the people I’m writing about. Occasionally, though, I do borrow an actor or actress though it never feels … ‘real’ I guess you could say.
CA: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
MC: I once wrote a column called “Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker” for the Erotica Readers & Writers site, which I’ve been reposting on my own site at www.mchristian.com. Part of the reason I did those columns was because I was tired of the poor advice teachers and other writers were dishing out. Some of the more important topics I addressed was that writers, especially new ones, shouldn’t try and be the next ‘fill-in-the-blank’ celebrity author. Instead, they should work where there’s work and not be biased about different genres. I got my start in smut and am now writing novels for a wide range of audiences. I also think writers should focus on the writing and not spend too much time ‘playing the game’ of being a writer instead of actually writing. Finding publishers, agents, and such is important but doing the work is what it’s all about. Lastly, but not leastly, writing should be fun: if it’s not then you’re not doing it right. Being a writer sucks: the pay is cruddy; no one gives you any respect; and it’s a lot of hard, emotionally brutal, work – but if you enjoy writing then it becomes something truly amazing, and totally worth it.
CA: How can a reader contact you or purchase your books?
MC: All of my books are on Amazon.com under “M.Christian,” and I have links to all of them from my page at www.mchristian.com. I’d check that page out first and go from there. I’m also very free with my email address, so please feel free to write me anytime: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CA: Is there anything you would like to add?
MC: Just that I also have a pair of fun blogs I post to quite often: Frequently Felt is a place for fun and strange sex stuff, and Meine Kleine Fabrik is for fun and strange stuff (no sex). I’ve been posting my “Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker” columns on my main site as well
CA: I’ll have to hop over and check out your blogs, Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker is an attention grabbing title : )
Monday, August 18, 2008
M.Christian on M.Christian
I'm excited to be featured on Interviewing Authors. Here's what I have to say about myself: