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08 April 2011

Welcome special guest: author A.J. Llewellyn

Today we have m/m romance author, A.J. Llewellyn, visiting. A.J. Llewellyn is the author of over 100 published gay erotic romance novels. He lives in California, but dreams of living in Hawaii. Frequent trips to the islands, bags of Kona coffee in his fridge and a healthy collection of Hawaiian records keep him refueled. A.J. has a passion for all animals and believes love is a song best sung out loud.




* So, A.J., what inspired you to become a writer?
The death of my mother when I was 6. The adults around me wouldn’t talk about her. I wrote my first book when I was 8. I crammed an exercise book with single-spaced drama and death. It was a horse story and a story about cancer. The boy in the book discovers he has six months to live. He dies at the end…everyone dies at the end. Even the horses! Yes, I was a macabre little boy!
* When did you attempt your first story? What length was it? What's become of it?
As I said, I wrote my first book when I was 8 but my first professional work was as a journalist. I wrote interviews with actors for a now-defunct Australian movie magazine (I was born there) …it got me my green card here in the US. I went to college and film school here and got the job through a friend of my father’s.
I was very lucky to be in school and earning money as a writer. One of my first interviews was with Mel Gibson. He was a very nice man in those days and he was very kind to me. I still recall he was shooting “Lethal Weapon” a block from where I lived in West Hollywood and we chatted a couple of times. I dropped by the set which was right on Santa Monica Boulevard and I met some of the other actors. Mel and I had the Australian thing in common. I was missing Australia a lot and he suggested I go to this British pub on Sunset Boulevard for fish and chips and some Guinness like we got back home. I have been going there ever since!

* How many stories did you complete before you sold your first?
I am lucky I sold my first magazine story right out of the gate. Selling my first book took a little longer…lol.
* What genre(s) do you write in? What drew you to write in it/them? What’s your favorite genre of all to write in?
I write M/M and have done two M/M/F stories though my passion is M/M. As a struggling writer out of college I wrote M/F. M/M didn’t exist in my world and I wrote a book that I was proud of but didn’t sell. I later rewrote it as M/M. That was “Beyond the Reef” and I still think it’s one of my best books.
* What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
I get asked this a lot. I think advice is something we all get and mostly should be ignored. Advice is an opinion. Just that. I would say though that if it feels instinctively right, go with it. If it doesn’t, just don’t do it.
* How do you celebrate/deal with acceptance/rejection letters?
I can’t stand rejection letters and was devastated when I got my first one. And then they kept coming. I read a wonderful book by Dame Diana Rigg called No Turn Unstoned in which she lists famous rejection letters and cruel critiques. Then I interviewed actor Rob Lowe one time and he told me he had laminated a really bad review of his and that he carried it in his wallet.  He showed it to me. It read: Rob Lowe in his performance has the personality of a doorknob.
Ouch! I realized that there are always going to be haters. It is tough to accept but not everyone is going to like you. I was impressed that he kept that thing! It was a real head-leveler!
* In regard to the book you’re promoting, which actor and actress do you envision playing the roles of your hero and heroine? If there’s a villain or other characters who are pertinent to the story, who would play those parts?
I learned a long time ago that keeping an actor or actress in mind when you are writing something is a fantastic way to keep a character real. If you can see them in your mind, if you see your story like a movie, then it’s working. However, actually getting that person almost never happens. I worked as a Hollywood story analyst for several years doing screenplay coverage and almost every screenplay I read seemed slanted for the big names of the day. I still do this work on a freelance basis and I guess Brad Pitt has stood the test of time because he seems to be the guy EVERYONE wants in their movie. He obviously can’t do all of them right? When Morgan Freeman became hot I remember reading a plethora of screenplays with an older African American man in the lead, very clearly slanted towards him.
It’s funny, but that’s the nature of the business. So no, I haven’t really imagined who would play the characters to be really honest!
* Is it a stand-alone story or part of a series? If it’s part of a series, please list the order the books need to be read in for maximum reading enjoyment.
I am promoting my new book The Love God of Indian Frybread coming to Amber Quill Press’s Amber Allure line on May 1. It’s a stand-alone.

*** Now for some fun info… ***
* What’s your favorite color?

Purple. And I love, blue, too.
* What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Fantasia. You can only get it at Disneyland.
* Are you a cat, dog or both kind of person?

Both kinds of a person!
* Would you/have you own(ed) a snake or some other exotic pet?
I have a turtle. She is awesome but whilst I respect snakes, I could never feed a live animal to one. I can’t stand seeing people buying mice and rats at Petco knowing those cute little guys are going to become food.
* Which do you prefer: rain or sun & warm weather or cold weather?
I like sun and rain (tropical).
* Are you a morning person or night owl?
Morning.
* What’s your favorite day of the week?
Friday.
* What’s your favorite number?
5. The number of change.

* If you could live anywhere in the universe, where would it be and why?
Hawaii. It is in my blood.
* If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?
My laptop, flushable toilet, toilet paper, a full medicine cabinet and a case of bottled spring water.
*** About A.J.’s book… ***
The Love God of Indian Frybread
Concept: I went to the Science Museum here in LA with some friends who belong to a tea group. We meet once a month for afternoon tea and plot little jaunts.
My lovely friend Rosie who usually comes to everything didn’t want to go because the idea of The Mummies of the World exhibit frightened her. She said, what if a spirit of a mummy came home with her?
And that gave me the idea for the story.
The exhibit by the way was fascinating but I was disturbed by the mummified dogs and cats I saw...really creepy stuff. I’d had no idea many cultures, even in South America and Europe had mummies…not just the Egyptians!
Logline: Ever BeleƱo just fell for an older man...about 1,600 years older!
Blurb: Ever Beleno is a collector of old Hollywood memorabilia. He's also a fan of dead people. Mummies are his special passion, just like flying saucers are his roommate Johnny's particular obsession. Ever's dark and gothic world might be lonely but after a heart-breaking split with his ex, it's exactly how he wants it...until he visits the sold out Mummies of the World exhibit.
As Ever studies one particular ancient Egyptian mummy, he experiences the odd, chilly sensation of somebody touching and following him. Every time he turns to look, he thinks it's handsome but obnoxious security guard Chris Coelho, who sneaked Ever into the exhibit as a favor. He clearly wants it returned, but would Chris really feel him up in public? Ever isn't sure, but then once he goes home weird things start happening.
Chris shows up everywhere, but he's suddenly, sweet, silly, profound and...forgetful. After a torrid night of passion, Ever becomes hooked on the guy even as his feelings for Chris veer between desire and exasperation.
And then, the mummy he'd been studying disappears from the exhibit...could they be connected? Could the spirit of the mummy have somehow followed him home? Is Ever losing his mind? Or is Chris really, as he says in a drunken moment, The Love God of Indian Frybread?

***Find A.J. here***
My website is www.ajllewellyn.com you will find details of all my blogging appearances and chats.
and I still love mySpace: www.myspace.com/ajllewellyn

Thank you for joining us here today, A.J.! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your work.
Thanks so much CR!!

To a lucky reader, A.J. will give away a paperback copy of his new book My Yakuza – a book he co-authored with John Simpson. It’s a modern-day samuraitale set in Hawaii, Tokyo and New York. On Thursday evening, April 14, around 6PM pacific, a winner’s name will be drawn by C.R.. To enter you need to comment on the post with your email (or email contact@crmoss.net with it) so you can be notified should you win.

10 comments:

Denise Vega said...

enjoyed your interview A.J. your a great writer keep up the great writing ( hutchslady26@aol.com )

phoenixemrys said...

Purrrrple..... Really enjoyed reading this, you are one fascinating guy! Thanks!

SammyJoHunt said...

Awesome interview. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing more about yourself and your history. It was very interesting.

Best of luck to you with your new book!

SammyJo

my email: sjhuntwrites@gmail.com

Dannyfiredragon said...

Hi AJ,

what a great interview, I am still learning new things about you. I can only agree with what you said about Beyond the Reef, but for me it's a tie with Phantom Lover.

Shannan Albright said...

Fantastic interview! Congrats on the new book and I know you will get tons of sales!

Serena Yates said...

What a great post! Love your insights about Hollywood. Can't wait to read "the Frybread book", LOL.

bookreader54 said...

I always love when you do interviews. I learn more about the kind of person you are. Great interview. I have my ebook reader loaded with all your books that were on my wish list.
Hugs
Martha

AJ said...

Thank you so much everyone. And thank you CR for having me here!

AJ

Teresa K. said...

AJ,

Wow that Fantasia icecream looks so good. What's the taste like? I'm a Moose Tracks & Bunny Tracks baby. Thanks for sharing and wishing you the best in your writing career.

Teresa K.
tcwgrlup41@yahoo.com

C.R. Moss said...

Congrats to Denise Vega for winning AJ's print book!
=)
C.