My guest today is a fabulous writer who I “almost” met at Gay Rom Lit but fully intend on meeting at least once in the next year. Marguerite Labbe has published 4 solo books and 14 stories with co-author Fae Sutherland. Marguerite’s next solo book, All Bets are Off, comes out on December 9 at Dreamspinner Press.
Welcome, Marguerite. I swear I’m going to collect those twitter hugs we exchange in person some day. J
I still can’t believe we kept missing each other all those days and end up at the airport at the same time and still not see each other. Next year for sure, we’ll sit at the bar and ogle all the handsome men together. Thank you so much for having me on your blog. *Squishes*
1. How did you get started writing m/m romance? Did you always want to be a writer?
Actually, when I was really young, I wanted to be a painter like my Granny, but I have zero art skills so I started writing poetry and stories in elementary school instead. When I was in college my mom started harassing me about trying to get published. I did not have the confidence in either myself or my writing at the time to even attempt and eventually the pressure from my own lack of confidence got so bad that it completely blocked me and I stopped writing altogether. Several years later I discovered fan fiction and I started writing again just for me, just for fun and I fell in love with m/m fiction.
2. What were your early influences either in this genre or any other?
That’s so hard for me because I read a lot for fun, all genres, all kinds of authors and I’m very bad about analyzing what I like/don’t like about their writing styles, so I’m not sure how to see which styles would apply to me. I will say that role-playing made a big difference with character development. My favorite authors growing up were C.S. Lewis, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey and Louisa May Alcott and I have a lot of must by m/m authors. The Goodreads M/M group’s Hot Summer Days challenge also opened me up to many more new authors that I hadn’t tried before. My pocketbook hates me, but my e-reader is happy. I loved your story K-lee and I can’t wait to read more about Glitter Fox.
Coming up with titles and blurbs and all those little things that make presentation part of the package. There are days when the words come easily and days when it’s a fight for every one. I would prefer a lot more easy ones, but I’ve recently compared writing a book to childbirth. I had a hard time with All Bets Are Off. It took me years of false starts before it finally started flowing and then it took twice as long to write because it was out of my comfort zone. But when I looked I the final copy I was so proud and happy that I stuck with it and I kind of forgot about all the times I bitched about pulling out the words for it. When it’s all said and done and your “baby” is here, an author forgets about the blood, sweat and tears. Probably why we keep trying for another instead of giving up the whole gig.
4. Does any one of your books hold a special place in your heart more so than the others?
First it was Bee Among the Clover because that was the first story Fae and I finished and I loved it. Then it was My Heart is Within You, because that’s the first solo novel length story that I ever finished on my own and I like the spin I put on it. But the truth is they’re all special in their own way to me.
5. Tell us a little about your new release, All Bets Are Off. Is it a stand-alone or part of a series? Where did the inspiration for it come from?
I got the idea for All Bets one Christmas several years ago as we were shopping with a “what if” moment. Most of my stories start that way. What if these two men had a one night stand only to discover the next day as the school semester starts that one is the professor and the other the student. I have to let stories percolate for awhile in my brain before they start to wholly form. Eli in particular took extra long to cook because he is nothing at all like how I originally envisioned my professor. He’s contrary, hard-headed and entirely too rebellious and independent and I tried fighting him for too long before I realized that he was right and I couldn’t make him a more submissive character.
Eli wants only two things out of life, to be left at peace at work and to find the right man to share his life with that will stick around. Ash is just looking to finish his last year of school so he can finally move on and settle down. The last thing either of them expected was to have all of their expectations derailed by the heat between them that neither can deny. Over baseball, bets and classroom debates Eli and Ash learn the real meaning of life and love.
It was meant to be a stand alone because I never wanted to try writing a contemporary romance again. However, one of the members of my crit group is poking at me to write an interracial contemporary romance and Eli in All Bets has a cousin Gareth who insists he is one of the characters in this new story. So we’ll see.
6. Do you have any writing quirks? (ie computer has to be facing a certain way, cup of coffee on the left, certain music playing, etc)
If I get stuck writing on the computer I’ll switch to pen and paper and that usually unblocks me. I do make playlists of songs for each story, though I don’t always listen to music while I write. All Bets’ playlist included “You Do Your Thing” by Montgomery Gentry and “Strangers In The Night” by Frank Sinatra.
7. Do you have any writing or reading squicks? Things you don’t like to read and can’t see yourself ever writing?
M/M/M doesn’t squick me out but I can’t see myself writing it either. Pronoun confusion is hard enough in m/m without adding a third party, plus it’s very hard to get a really good balanced dynamic between all three characters. However, I know better than to even trying saying “never” because my muse always makes me pay for such a statement.
8. As I mentioned, you write solo as well as in collaboration with Fae. How did that come about? Do you have a preference now?
We met each other online years ago and we wrote a few things together for fun and then lost touch. Little did we know that she was literally living 15 minutes away from me at the time. A few years later we met up again online and started writing and after a few months we realized from a meme that we had already met before. We had a good laugh over that. Our dynamic works well together. I love the stories that Fae and I come up with when we work together and I especially love the characters. Writing solo gives me the opportunity to do stories like my vampire trilogy and ghost story that I’m working on that are not quite romance. They’re darker and different and I like that, too.
9. What can we expect next from you? Are you already working on something else?
I finished the rough draft of a gay horror/thriller during Nano. That story started with one of those what if moments as well as I was driving down to South Carolina with my husband two years ago. What if a man is murdered on the side of the road and he comes back as a ghost to help his long time partner find the killer. I really wanted to write the story, but resisted for a year because I couldn’t think of one publisher that would take it. Neither the story, nor the characters would leave me alone though, so during the midst of my vacation last year I sat down and wrote the first couple of chapters. I love Andrei and Dean’s story and I’m very glad that I wrote it. After that I’m either going to work on my pulp noir story, or one of several fantasy stories that won’t leave me alone.
10. Finally – a few quick choices:
a. Coffee or tea – Two cups of coffee in the morning, after 11 am, I love tea of all kinds as long as it’s decaffeinated.
b. Dog or cat – I love both. Currently we have two cats, Isis and Osiris. Once we get a house of our own I’d like to add a dog to the mix.
c. Beach or mountains – Again both, I was born a mountain girl and if I had to pick one, then I’d go with mountains, but I love my yearly vacations at the Outer Banks.
d. Pecs or abs – Abs. (Whoohoo, you see I didn’t pick both there?) Pecs can be overdone, abs are just nice to ogle and stroke.
e. Smile or eyes – That one’s hard, I like a nice genuine smile, but I’m a serious sucker for eyes. I’d have to say that the eyes are the first thing I notice and fall for.
f. Cowboys or rockstars – Neither, Fae says that I’m sapiosexual, which means that I’m attracted to super smart men. I have to say that nerds and geeks really get me going.
g. Who would win in a fight – vampires or werewolves? And why. Vampires, they fight dirty and are more ruthless. Werewolves have a code, but a if it was a pack of werewolves again a group of vamps I’d go with the pack. They know how to fight together.
But if you don’t win, you can pick it up at Dreamspinner Press http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2660
Also be sure to drop by Marguerite and Fae’s website to see all their wonderful collaborations and solo works. http://chasethedream.net/