Fame! (Still no fortune, though.)
Much to my surprise, about a month ago the editor of Out magazine contacted me to say “how do you fancy doing an interview? We’d send someone over to talk to you. And can you find us some other female authors of m/m fiction who could come along too?”
After being duly gobsmacked and panicking about what a stylish New York reporter would think of the state of my house, I emailed the authors in the UK I knew about, and asked whether they’d like to come and be interviewed too. Whereupon Out emailed me back saying “actually, we only want one.”
Which is how come (to cut a long story and three days of frantic cleaning short) last Thursday Erastes and I were interviewed for Out magazine by Cintra Wilson. If I had only had the sense to Google her, I would have been even more intimidated than I was, but (perhaps fortunately) I didn’t have the sense, so I didn’t know I was being interviewed by a doyenne of popular culture in New York, and I was only mildly and generally intimidated by the thought that here was someone of much greater sophistication than my own.
As a matter of fact, the interview was very interesting, and the three of us had some lively discussions and laughed a lot. I hope she wasn’t too disappointed to be sent to write an article about writers of gay porn for women and come across me instead. I hope she believed me when I said that that was not what I thought I was doing, and that one or two sex scenes in a book full of other stuff does not automatically make that book porn. But I guess I’ll have to wait until the interview comes out to find out what she made of us.
Then yesterday we had to go for a photo-shoot to go with the interview! A professional photo-shoot was not something I had ever envisaged occurring in my life. I’m a writer, Jim, not a celebrity! However, this turned out to actually be lots of fun. The photographer, Jonathon Williams (who, again, was someone we really should have known about beforehand) and his assistant, Ruth, were easy people to like and to talk to. Ruth said that portrait photographers become portrait photographers because they are interested in people, and that definitely showed.
I was also very reassured, when Erastes sent me a link to his website, to find out that he specialized in photographing normal-looking people rather than models and other great beauties. I’d been worrying that it was all much of a come-down for him.
To celebrate the fact that Out had sent a reporter all the way to England, when they could have found plenty of writers to interview in the States, I had suggested that they photograph us in front of Peacock’s Tea Rooms because what could be more English than that? (Also because Peacocks is amazing, quirky and comfortable, and has the most gorgeous food, and I was hoping to nip in there afterwards and fortify myself with a nice lunch.)
When Erastes and I got there, we found they’d gone one better than just standing outside and had cordoned off one of the inside rooms for us and provided us with tea and cakes as props. So we sat in solitary splendour, being photographed eating cake and drinking tea, while chatting with each other, and with the proprietor. He felt that Ely had lots of potential for a thriving gay scene, and had donated the premises, tea and cakes in return for the publicity of being in Out magazine.
Then we moved to a field with great views of Ely cathedral, and took lots more photos. And then, because I’d said I had to have a boat in anything I did, we went back to the riverside and took lots more photos of me in front of the narrow-boats.
I wished I could see the pictures, but wasn’t allowed, so I won’t know what they’ve gone for until the article comes out. I hope it’s something I can live with!
Fun though this all was, it does give me a feeling of being terribly exposed. I don’t feel I’m successful or established enough to merit any of this. I’d much rather have had a five volume book deal with Harper Collins under my belt first!
I also asked them why they were doing a feature on women writers of gay romance, and said I didn’t think it was fair of them to ignore the men in the genre, mentioning that Josh Lanyon had even written a “How to…” guide to writing m/m romance. A couple of days ago they asked me for his email too, so hopefully they’ll follow this up with an interview with Josh and Victor or Donald or one of the other men in the genre. I can but hope, anyway. It wouldn’t exactly be a fair portrayal of the genre to leave them out.