This week I had the pleasure of being the Hotspot Tuesday feature on Interracial and Multicultural Books with Mahalia Levey
Where do you draw inspiration from to write in the IR or MC niche?
I’m always interested in the story that’s not being told, and there aren’t many people writing about Middle Eastern men as romantic leads. Called “desert romances” back in the day, Middle Eastern men haven’t been widely featured in fiction since the mid 1900s, as sheiks and mysterious dark princes. With all of the focus now on scrutinizing their cultures and how they fit into the modern world, I found it a good time to explore how that dynamic would impact relationships.
What do you find the most difficult to write? Dialogue? Back story? Emotion?
Back story, without doubt. I find it challenging to weave important details of the past , actively into the present. I see how the two connect in the overall context, but it’s not always pretty getting them to fit together in a way that’s pleasant to read. I’ve got some work to do, there.
Have you ever found that you didn’t like your Hero or your Heroine? If so, what did you do to change that?
Wow. Good question! I don’t think authors talk enough about characters they don’t like, because we so often are moved to write about them because we like them. Definitely, the hero in my upcoming book 1 of the Scattered Dark series, Journal of a Lycanthrophile, Jesse, I’m not so crazy about. He’s not a bad guy at all, and he has a good heart. But he embodies that typical American young male dufus mindset that’s been privileged and doesn’t really get how his actions affect others. I’m eager to see him grow into a more mature, intentional hero, rather than an accidental one. That novella should be out just in time for spooky season this year!
Do you write full time, what is your schedule for the day? Or do you have a full time job, if so, when do you find the time to write?
I am a technical writer by trade, so yes I write full-time and it is my job. But I also write nonfiction and fiction books. I’m always writing. It’s harder to carve out time to write fiction, though. I find that my technical and nonfiction writing have a logical linear progression, I just have to sit down and get it out of my head. I don’t have to figure out where it’s going, I just need to get it out. Fiction, though, requires a lot more scheming and research, and that slows down the writing process, initially. It takes a lot more work, in that regard, so I’m slower to turn out fiction than the other forms of writing.
What has been the biggest challenge of your career?
Staying connected to writing for the love of writing. It’s easy to have ambition and fall into the trap of measuring what I think success should look like. When I do that, though, I find I’m furthest from enjoying writing. It’s all about the joy of writing, and the rest is what it is.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? If you are a plotter, what are you methods?
Both. I sketch out the broad characteristics of a plot, but I’m comfortable with letting it tell itself. Sometimes I have this end of the plot and that end, but I’m not sure how to get them together. That’s where most of the pantsing comes in. And it works. I find that when I get out of the way and stop worrying about how it fits, things naturally come together.
How have your techniques for character development changed since you’ve been writing? Is it still the same, or has it developed over time, if so how?
They really haven’t. That’s one area where I’ve always been fairly strong. I have a clear sense of who my characters are and where they need to go, from the start. I leave open opportunities for them to tell me how they want to develop, and it works.
Do you have a book coming out? If so what? Do you have a web site? Do you have a blog? My space?
My first contribution to Decadent Publishing’s The Edge series is out this month—Traveler Through Darkness. It’s a gay interracial erotica short story, and I’m excited to have it available. I’ve written gay erotica for a long time, though this is the first that has been published.
What do you do to relax?
Do you have hobbies?
I have a sad lack of hobbies. I stay so busy that when I’m not working I’m either asleep or distracting myself with The Vampire Diaries. Maybe that’s a hobby? I didn’t expect to become interested in it, but it’s got some interesting hooks. Although ,I’m Team Damon-Elena-Stefan. I don’t have a lot of time for love triangles who can’t all hook up. This is the modern era. Polyamory, FTW!
What are some books on your keeper shelf?
The Hunger Games series—the first book, anyway. I’m on the fence about the others. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Storm Constantine’s Wreaththu series. LOVED it!! There’s a pattern there. Maybe I need to write some dystopian fiction…
Are there any other genres you’d like to try your hand at?
I’ve got a New Adult/Magickal Realism novel making rounds. I’m most comfortable writing in an arena that is a little magickal, grounded in day-to-day details, so I’m really excited about this novel. I hope it finds a home, soon.
What are your networking links so readers may find you?
Frolic with Fierce on:
On Traveler Through Darkness
A lifetime of want collides with fate the night of Tarik’s bachelor party, fulfilling his deepest secret desire—only it’s not with the strippers his Arab friends hired to cater to his every whim. Uncomfortable with the debauched festivities, Tarik ducks out of the soirée, stumbling into Wo, a kind Navajo artist, who forces him to say what he really wants, then gives it to him, all night.
From Traveler Through Darkness
“I am so sorry–” Tarik began.
“It’s okay. It was an accident.” The words were rushed as he pulled the soaked sweatshirt from his skin and fanned the dripping tablet. Black smudges coated the fingertips and heel of his left hand.
“I’ve ruined your work,” Tarik lamented, motioning toward the pad.
“Oh, no. It’s just a sketch. I was fascinated with the moonlight on the harbor.” He flashed a charcoal rendering of the midnight water. A long, shimmering black strand fell forward of the band securing his hair, lighting just at the edge of his upturned mouth. “No masterpiece here.”
Piercing umber eyes met Tarik’s, and the gentle smile relaxed his shoulders. “You were in the ballroom earlier.”
“Mmm. The bachelor party.”
Tarik pursed his lips, nodding once. “I’m staying in the hotel. Allow me to get for you a clean shirt.”
“It’s fine. I don’t have far to go.”
“In this cold, with no jacket, you will freeze. Please. I insist—”
“What’s your name?” the younger man asked.
“I am Tarik.” He bowed.
“I’m Wo.” He nodded. “Thank you for your kind offer, Tarik.”
Enjoy Traveler Through Darkness along with the Reader’s Guide.
Originally published on Interracial and Multicultural Books.