My lovely friend, author Christopher Craven, graciously accepted my invitation to answer some very intrusive, er, I mean, informative questions for the very first ever Tiki Bar Author Chat…and here we go! Comment to enter the draw to win one of FIVE free ebook copies he’s offering of his gorgeous new M/M novel, PLIGHT – or a $15 Amazon gift card!!
And now… It’s tiki time!
Hi Christopher, and thank you for visiting my authors’ hideaway tiki bar. With the ocean to your left and the mountains to your right, you can have whatever cocktail you like. What is your favorite?
I’ll take a delectable Bay Breeze any day of the week!
Now, onto the important stuff. The interrogation. Er, I mean, the questions.
You and I share a love of Hawaii. What led to your passion for it? I see on your Facebook page you have a bar in your office and you plan to add Hawaiian decor…what will you put in it?
Well it’s a great work in progress—a term we authors on the market coin any project that has consumed at least one of our thousand brain cells. I mean literally, I do have a day job and work in a very busy pharmacy. But I have the fundamentals for my fun office project: A mini fridge. A mobile storage cabinet/countertop purposed primarily for a kitchen (but it works GREAT for this project). Then of course what would a Hawaiian themed party be without a Palm plant? I’m sure I’ll acquire some wall décor in due time.
I read on FB you are planning to move to Hilo, HI at the end of next year. Have you spent much time there? Do you love the rain? It rains a LOT there…lol
You know? The basis of my life in the past handful of years have been by the seat of my pants. Being Autistic, this actually comes quite opposite from what I usually prefer. I like things to be in order, I always love to know exactly what to expect from any situation and most of all, I typically don’t do anything willy-nilly. But the foundation of my life in the past 4 years have been themed: “Willy Nilly.” Sorry, I suppose I deflected the question a bit. To be quite honest, I’ve never been to Hawaii. I have several friends and even a couple author friends whom currently or have lived down in paradise. A few of these friends have told me all about Hilo and its beautiful wonders. I decided that while I’m finally going to be settling down in life, why not choose such a slower, lower atmosphere? It certainly bodes well for lower blood pressure and the weekly adventure opportunities are plentiful.
I know you have a few books out and your latest, “Plight” is doing very well. You describe it as a novel of suspense. You’ve also said the two leads, Miles Turner and Landon Black are your “babies.” You have the sequel to this book, “Accord” coming out soon…and you’ve written a prequel. What is it about these two men that has you writing all these stories?
Yes, “Plight” has done pretty dang well! It has seemed to slow down a bit though (which is okay with me because more is just on the horizon and it will probably spark new interest and sales in case readers haven’t read it yet in order to follow the plot in the sequel.) Miles Turner and Landon Black really are just like children to me. They are the first products of my imagination when I decided to write in the Gay Romance genre. Since I’m not a parent, all I’ve got to spoil and think about are my “literary first borns.” Miles is a defense attorney. He’s got an average build, refined appearance and will always be the first man in my head to pull off wearing a black silk tie naked. Who could resist such charm? While the storyline in “Plight” alludes to Miles as a true Californian, this is only a result of his relocation after his mother passed away during his years of Law school. Inside, Miles is from the Midwest—Indianapolis to be quite exact.
Landon Black is a former underwear model who decided to step out from in front of the camera when he met Miles. “Plight” places him in his educational part of life when he decided to get a degree in Accounting. (Quite a stark opposite, which makes it interesting while writing his character in the Prequel “Tryst”)
What makes a hero appealing to you in fiction?
I absolutely despise picture perfect everything! Life isn’t perfect—it never has and never will be (unless you’re born into the Royal Family… then that’s its own situation altogether. What makes a hero appealing to me is one with real life issues. Drama. I tend to have a flair for the dramatics (so I’m told by everyone around me) so why not write about it, too?
Do you have a day job and how do you juggle it with your writing? I know you worked as a pharmacist. Will we ever see this pop up in one of your stories?
Actually I have never been a pharmacist to the very definition. I am a Pharmacy Technician (which is a career in itself). I have been in the pharmacy world for about four years. I wanted to attend Pharmacy school to be a Pharmacist, but I won’t lie and say I thought it was going to be an easy feat. Having a major in English, some of the required classes did not appeal to me after looking in from the outside. I work 40+ hours and arrive home typically in the mood to flounder about my home in boxers and a cocktail—completely forgetting about the day at work! How do I juggle in writing? Well, that comes primarily on days off and some nights if I’ve taken a couple hours nap prior to waking and accomplishing some writing.
What elements in your work space are crucial? And do you have any sacred writing rituals?
Did I mention I have Asperger’s Syndrome (High Functioning Autism)?? HA! Rituals and routines are my middle name! I absolutely love music of all types and most generally you’ll find my Spotify playing whenever I’m hunkered down in my office to work or write. If I don’t have music playing, I’m probably squandering around the internet or doing mindless tasks, or talking on the phone! As far as sacred, nothing in my life is as secret as it probably should be. Being the loner type, my life is publicized on Facebook even down to probably what I ate for lunch that day. Having the newly established minibar in my office has helped me focus during my chunks of writing because short of using the bathroom, I am not forced to become distracted by entering my kitchen to get a drink and think about twelve million other things I should be doing. Office to bathroom, bathroom to office. How simplified, right?
I know you used to work at Sam’s Club Photo…according to your FB wall. Did people ever bring in weird pics to be developed?
Yes, absolutely! I can recall a couple “homemade boudoirs sessions” scrolling through my photo station… and pardon me for saying—but I can remember my chauvinistic store manager giving permission to print them anyway, because he let his pecker decide for him. And by homemade, I mean “risqué” to the point a gay man like myself wanted to vomit profusely.
I see you’re writing a nonfiction story about a gay, autistic man. What aspect will be the focus of this story and is this somebody who is a close friend? Or, is it, as you’ve suggested on FB…you?
Yep. It’s pretty much an autobiographical commentary style about my life and my journeys. How I found out I was gay and the personal/relational struggles that come in between the Asperger’s and my own desires. Most who know me also know my real name and this will be a nice project to interweave my real name and highlight certain aspects of writing Gay Romance even though I constantly face my own relational challenges as an Aspie.
Have you lived in Colarado all your life? Will you miss it? I see you use it as a locale for many of your stories.
I have lived in Colorado a great portion of my life. However, it isn’t the only place. I have lived in Salt Lake City, UT as well as venturing out to the Midwest (Indianapolis, IN) for a handful of years. There’s an old adage, “You write what you know.” So I suppose I find it fun to write about the places I’ve discovered. While “Plight” takes place in Colorado to some extent, it starts and ends in Los Angeles. Have I lived there? No. But it is also quite fun to research the places you haven’t lived in for story details as well.
Is it hard to meet good guys there? I was intrigued about your FB post about the guy you were dating who said, quote, “I’m sorry, I guess I’m just not as gay as I’d like to be.” What does THAT mean by the way? And did he really choose not to wear deodorant???
That guy was a joke! And yes, he decidedly did NOT wear deodorant. Though he was an out of work professor with his PhD in Microbiology. One would think he’d know the benefits of proper hygiene. But then again, that’s probably why he’s out of work in the first place! GROSS. And yes, I slept with him in MY OWN BED. I’ve since washed my bedding and have fancied the thought of replacing it altogether! Yes, Colorado is a rough place to find a good guy. There are lots of hillbilly – backwoods guys that are widely homophobic. That being said, finding a good gay man here would be akin to winning the lottery!
What is the worst date you ever had…or was he it?
You know, it actually wasn’t the worst date ever. While his gross and disgusting qualities surfaced only after the second and third interactions, he hasn’t been the worst. If you’d believe it or not, the worst was the first time I spent the night at a guy’s house after dating a week or so and practically planning our lives together. Since my life’s practically a matter of public record, Todd actually was the guy to take my virginity. While I lean towards older guys, he definitely was older. (By fifteen years, in fact!) But since I’d actually known him for 10 years through a past friendship, we’d supposedly moved past age and both agreed that it’s just a number. The very next morning, Todd tells me, “I am not ready to be in a relationship with anyone and you’re way too young for me. I feel like I’m screwing my stepson who’s the same age.” So that pretty much takes precedence of worst dates EVER! (I’m left with the question… Is it ALWAYS the “first times” that are the worst?)
Okay, here’s a question. If you could invite any six famous people to dinner – alive or dead – who would it be and what would you serve them?
Great question! If I were to entertain anyone famous from past or present, I’d probably rely on some great French Cuisine catering. Why would I dare let them taste my own cooking? What if they didn’t like it? LOL Who? The guest list would include:
1) Maya Angelou—I adore every part of her. She was such a convalescent spirit and will be missed.
2) Luke Bryan—I love everything about him. If only he was gay…
3) Seth Rogan—While he’d probably be awesome in bed after dinner, I’d most want to learn more about him and his life as a comedic actor. Oh and also because he and I share one of the same pairs of “tortoise shell” RayBan eyeglasses.
4) Ellen DeGeneres—I love her personality and she’s probably just as genuine in real life.
5) Jimmy Carter—I have always wanted to meet him and learn about all his adventures.
6) James Scott—(EJ DiMera from ‘Days of Our Lives’) strictly just for the eye-candy!
And…what are your top 10 desert island keeper books you’ve read?
Did you say dessert? Ohh I’ll take a handful of French Macaron’s, please! Oh DESERT… I haven’t read many that would classify as Desert Island Keeper books. But I do believe that the J.D. Robb ‘In Death’ series would be considered in that realm and I have read the first one of hers. Not sure if anything else I’ve read would be classified as such.
Apart from your non fic book, what else do you have in the pipeline?
There is indeed a short story about a Pharmacist. But that will come only after I make progress with the biggest book of my creation which releases around Christmastime this year. It is called “Critical Pursuit” and the details of such awesomesauce (along with everything else) can be found on my website listed below.
Please provide a synopsis, excerpt and purchase links for “Plight.” Will you be doing an ebook giveaway?
Yes. I will be doing a giveaway! I’d like to give away a free Kindle Copy or All Romance Ebooks copy of “Plight” in addition to a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky commenter at random that answers this question correctly: What are my two favorite desserts?
Then because I desire giving things away—I’ll give away a free Amazon Kindle or All Romance Ebooks copy of “Plight” to five lucky commenters at random.
Because my schedule is usually always packed, allow a week for me to electronically deliver all prizes. I will email winners asking their preference of Kindle version or ARe version.
As a defense attorney, Miles Turner believes everything in his life is supreme. At the peak of his career, he takes on a high profile case that if he plays his cards right, would sufficiently line his wallet. The task is to defend a famed heir notorious for his constant troubling attention in the limelight. Miles finds resolve to all of his issues through his partner, but the recent decline in his everyday wellbeing compromises this trust.
After stumbling upon Miles in a bookstore, former underwear model Landon Black is finally settling down in life. To occupy his time, he takes classes to earn a degree as an accounting major. But studying late at night comes difficult with the extra-curricular activities deep within their Los Angeles abode. Landon has finally discovered the simple joys—love, learning and life.
With an impromptu family reunion back home in Colorado, Landon cannot fathom which of those simplicities could break when they spend a weekend around his prejudiced father. But as members of the “Black Pack” come together in the snow capped mountains of Colorado at Lake Alexander, no-one can see what’s looming ahead– an event with consequences so severe it stands to alter all of their lives forever. Prepared with nothing but his integrity and a heart full of hope, Miles is praying for a miracle while Landon, forced to play a high stakes game of life-or-death, is asking himself if the love he has is enough to offer.
And what are your contact links?
Thanks for stopping by. The cabana boys will be mixing you another drink before you hit the beach!