Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I dread this question because I’m so boring! I’m always afraid that people will read my answer, yawn, and then stop reading. But since you asked so nicely, I’ll spill a little of my boring life here on the casting couch.
During the day, I work in Her Royal Majesty’s secret service. I’m sure you’ve heard of that sot 007, well, I’m so good they call me Google07. I don’t just have a license to kill; I’ve got a license to dismember. I just have to be careful who I share that with, so please keep it to yourself.
But other than my work across the pond, I have a wonderful husband, three children, and two dogs. We live in a conservative south Texas town of 60,000, but we all plan on leaving as soon as possible, especially if my arch-nemesis from my secret service job Mr. Big finds me!
Oh yeah, I also teach college English and have been doing so for 17 years, so when I’m not writing, teaching, or saving the day, I’m also working on finding a cure for the common cold.
I’ve actually been writing since I was a child. I used to write my own comic books. Naturally, Wonder Woman took center stage in those stories. She was always kicking ass and taking names or rescuing Superman or Batman with her lasso and yanking them out of sticky situations. There was just something about tying a man up that appealed to me at a very young age. :)
I submitted my first novel many years ago and when I was rejected, I didn’t take it well. I was young and allowed the rather nicely worded letter to wound my ego, and I stopped pursuing writing because I figured I wasn’t any good at it. It turns out that I just wasn’t mature enough to handle the business yet.
A few years ago, the writing bug hit me again. Not that it ever left, mind you, but it hit me with such force that I had no choice but to stop what I was doing and start writing. Then, somewhere about the early part of 2012, I submitted my first attempt at gay romance 3 to Dreamspinner, and they accepted the manuscript. I was ecstatic! Naturally, the first person I told was my husband, and he was so happy for me and proud of me too. He knew how hard I worked to get published!
I don’t get inspiration from one source. Sometimes I hear a song that somehow resonates within me and a plot is born. Photos of really hot men do that to me too. Go figure! Also, dreams can be pretty influential. My newest release The Gifted One, which comes out in March/April of this year from Dreamspinner actually came from a nightmare I had, and I decided to turn a small scene from my dream into a paranormal romance.
Who knew a dream about a demonic clown baby could turn into a romance novel? But hey, weirder things have happened I suppose.
Sometimes, though, the stories come from real life experiences, and I draw upon what I know and give it a little twist.
How do you make the important choices when it comes to writing your stories? Point of View? Voice? Theme? Title?
Point of view is easy. I seem most comfortable in third person omniscient. I’m thinking of trying limited third person, and I’ve toyed with the idea of a first person novel. Those two are very difficult for me though. I prefer to tell stories from more than one perspective. It’s just a style that fits my personality. You see, I’m someone who likes to be in the know. I can’t stand it when others know something I don’t! :)
Titles tend to come from the themes, and the themes work themselves out when I’m planning. I don’t typically start with a particular theme in mind. I usually flesh out my main characters and then create believable situations between them that lead to love and conflict. The theme and title usually comes during my planning of the novel, when I know what I want to put my characters through and how they are going to deal with those conflicts.
Are your characters purely fictional, or do you sample from people you've met in real life? Which one of your characters is most like you? How so?
I think most authors sample characters from people we know. It helps make the character more realistic for the author, which in turns makes the character realistic for the reader. I know I like to mix personalities of my family, friends, and loved ones into one character. For example, Justin from 3 is a mixture of my husband and me.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
For me, it’s just being published. It has been a dream of mine since I was a child. I’ve wanted to hold in my hands a work I created and that someone else wanted to pay me to share with the world. Everything else is just gravy.
If you could co-author a book with any other writer, who would it be?
That’s easy—Stephen King. He was the first author I read that wasn’t a school assignment. After Pet Semetary, I was hooked. I’d love to tell a really scary story with King. That would be fricking awesome!
What is the one book that you think that very few people have read but everyone should read? What are you reading right now?
While The House on Mango Street doesn’t qualify as a book few people have read, I still think it’s one that more people should read. It is a fascinating novella written by Sandra Cisneros. Each vignette in the book tells the tale of a little girl growing up in the barrio and trying to find out who she is. I think it has a message for any reader regardless of gender or ethnicity.
Actually, at this moment, I’m reading papers turned in by my students. Between grading and my own writing projects, I haven’t had time to read a new novel in a few weeks. I really need to rectify that.
What do you find the most difficult part of the writing process?
The revising/editing process.
When I’m writing the novel, it always makes sense to me, but after my beta readers have a go at the first draft, I’m amazed when they point out plot holes or character inconsistencies. I always think with each new draft: this one has no holes or inconsistencies, and then BLAM! My beta readers find them. Naturally, I’m grateful for that, but it’s the part I find the most frustrating. But no matter how crazy it might make me, I love writing. There’s little else I’d rather be doing.
What is a typical working day like for you? Where do you write? Do you wait for inspiration? Do you set certain writing goals? Are there any specific tools you use to help you write?
Well, I teach in the morning, and I write in the afternoon and evening in my plush and comfy chair in the family room. I don’t tend to set goals for myself although I do like completing at least a chapter each day. When I start a project, I typically start by fleshing out my main characters, getting a good sense for who they are and what they look like. After that, I plot out their love affair and conflict, and then I set to task on the computer filling in the points from A to Z. How I get to Z typically changes from the start of the project to its conclusion. I just love it when the stories or the characters take on a life of their own and move in ways I’d never planned. That’s when I know I’m in my groove. When my muse takes over and I simply go along for the ride.
What is your greatest guilty pleasure (literary or otherwise)?
You mean besides sex? Well, there’s watching television after having sex, or going on vacation and having sex, there’s also eating ice cream while…well, you get the picture. :)
And…last but not least: What are you working on now and what can we expect to see from you in the coming year?
I actually just submitted a manuscript to Dreamspinner. It’s called When Love Takes Over, and it will be the first book of what I’m calling The Provincetown Series. The series will be individual stories with overlapping characters. Provincetown is a town that my husband and I enjoy and that we return to every year, and I wanted to capture the romantic potential that the town holds, but also the romantic conflict that can occur in a town where anything goes!
The excerpt below takes place shortly after Zach arrives in Provincetown and finds himself inside a leather store. This is when Zach and his love interest Van first meet.
Zach made his way around the tub of lube and stood studying the latex wrestling suits and leather aprons that covered the far wall. He could understand the fascination with the wrestling singlets. Muscled guys rolling around in skimpy gear turned him on too.
However, he had no clue whatsoever why anyone would purchase a leather apron.
It resembled something a sadistic butcher might wear in a horror movie.
As he pondered what the aprons were used for sexually, the door to the dressing room fell open, and Zach gasped.
The store employee struggled to help a rather obese man shove himself inside a full-body leather suit. Talcum powder spotted the interior of the room and the outside of the outfit. It had also gotten on their faces. There was so much powder everywhere that Zach figured this must be what a coke den looked like. At least one that had exploded in on itself.
He wanted to turn around, but the spectacle proved to be too much of a train wreck.
The large man, who resembled Jabba the Hut trying to squeeze inside a Hefty bag, cursed as he attempted to force every roll of fat inside. His constant struggle caused sweat to drench his body, turning the powder that caked his pregnant, hairy belly into paste.
The poor employee, who knelt before the sweating crotch from which hung a tiny Vienna sausage, attempted to hike the suit further up the man’s meaty thighs. When that failed, he stood and yanked with all his might as the rotund fellow lifted his left leg in a vain attempt at assistance. The slick material, made even slicker by the man’s perspiration caused the employee to lose his grip.
The material snapped back quite unexpectedly for the big guy who already teetered precariously on one bulky limb. Unbalanced, he toppled backward onto the dressing room floor causing the layer of powder to explode upward and resulting in a momentary white-out in the small room.
Before he could help himself, Zach broke out into laughter.
The customer didn’t appreciate Zach’s sense of humor and called him a fuckwad.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized as he backed up.
Zach knew he needed to get out of there before he embarrassed himself further, so he turned around and bolted forward, completely forgetting about the display behind him. He struck the lube bin, which began a rather horrifying chain of events.
The display fell over, causing bottles of lube to roll throughout the store, some of which he squashed open with his large, blundering feet. When Zach backed up in surprise, he collided with the wall, which contained the aprons and rubber wrestling suits. The force of the impact caused the top row of hanging garments to fall from their perch and rain upon his head.
“Need some help?”
Zach looked up from amongst the aprons and crushed bottles of lube to find Mr. Tanned Body standing before him with a humorous twinkle in his steely eyes.
The roiling passion within Zach reluctantly surged forward once again.
Jacob's novel 3 is available now http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3285&cPath=55_655
and look for The Gifted One coming in March/April through Dreamspinner Press
You can follow Jacob’s musings on his blog at http://jacobzflores.com or become a part of his social media network by visiting http://www.facebook.com/jacob.flores2 or http://twitter.com/#!/JacobZFlores.