Interview with Rawiya/Michael Mandrake

I met Rawiya on Twitter, and was struck by her enthusiasm and drive.  Anyone who can get 5-6 stories out of a single holiday is awesomely productive by my measure 🙂  We agreed to do a blog swap for the day, so I’m handing over to her now:

1. Who has been the biggest influence upon your work?

MM: Lately, it has been fellow author and editor, Sascha Illyvich. He has really given me a lot of confidence that I can be a better writer. I’m still learning, and when you are a newbie, you need someone to guide you. Through my first set of edits for Only When I Lose Myself, he did just that.

2. What upcoming project of your own are you most excited about?

MM: my first hetero book, SQUEE! *laughs* – Not that I’m abandoning gay erotica romance but I like being able to tackle new endeavors. Because I write mostly gay erotica, African Sun will be a different look from me. It’s the longest story I’ve ever written, it has 4 books, only 2 are completed, and it’s filled with a little of everything, including a gay couple who are villains throughout the series.

3. While doing research have you ever done anything really exciting or

MM: Not yet. I mean, most of the research I do is in front of the computer on the net. The most “research” will come from my next series of books involving the city of New Orleans, Lousiana called “Lost in the Masquerade.” (Tentative Title) I recently visited there the second time and I have about 5-6 stories that I wrote down in response to everything I had seen.

4. Who is your favorite fictional character created by someone other than yourself?

MM: I know this will sound cliché but Anne Rice’s Lestat and Louis are my favourite characters.

5. Who is your own favorite character?

MM: At the moment, it would be my Doctor in African Sun, Doctor Nicholas Fairlight. He’s a bisexual physician who is quite intelligent, witty, and he’s a smart ass. In my head, he is dashingly handsome too. *grins*

6. How long have you been writing? What made you start?

MM: I’ve been writing most of my life, since my late teens but only pro for a year. What made me start was the great comments I was getting on my work. It all started with fanfiction then it went to publishing.

7. What was your first book and what was it about?

MM: My first and only sole author book is True Meaning of Love. It’s about a gay couple living in Brighton, who have an argument which results in an accident for the older man in the relationship, London Davies. Once they’ve gotten over that occurrence they will figure out what matters most in life.

8. What are you enjoying reading at the moment?

MM: Right now, I’m finishing up part three of Everything Erotic series by Danielle Gavan, Keta Diablo, and others. Next, I’ll be reading Berengaria Brown’s Changing Cherry and S.L. Danielson’s Diary of a 46 yr old Bellhop.

9. Do you do anything to summon up inspiration – write to music, have a special writing hat etc?

MM: I write to music all the time. It relaxes me, brings me new ideas. I usually cannot go on without it.

10. What do you do when you’re not writing?

MM: What? Is there such a thing? *Laughs* No, really, I like hanging out with my friends when I come out the cave. Spend time with my family, hubby and kids. Of course not in that order.

11. What works in progress have you got on the go at the moment?

MM: Oh man, I have 5 of them going. My free read, a gay ménage called Mi Familia is posted on my blog every Friday, 3 gay erotica fiction stories, Vertigo, My Lieutenant and Lessons in Ink, and my ménage M/M/F. Trois in Tune.

12. Tell us about the books you have out

MM: My only book is True Meaning of Love but I am part of 13 anthologies. Instead of my listing them all, I would visit my blogs, which I’ll share later.

13. If your book became a big Hollywood film, who would you cast to play your characters?

MM: Wow. Well, if True Meaning was a film, maybe I’d have George Clooney play London Davies and a young Brad Pitt to play, Brandon. WOW, talk about HOT!

14. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? What do you do then?

MM: I don’t. A fellow author and friend told me it doesn’t exist. She said follow your characters. If the story stalls, to go back and reread then change what you’ve written.

14. Alpha males, do you – (a)love them? – (b)think they should be shot? Why?

MM: No, I love Alpha’s. Occasionally, you need a strong man, especially when he’s gay.

16: Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

MM: nope, not yet

17: How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

MM: I felt proud. It was the anthology of Rock and Roll all over from STARbooks. The Wretched was my first published story. True Meaning is only on e-book at the moment.

18: What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

MM: A wide variety depending on the story. Sometimes its dance music, it may be a little 80’s pop, maybe even some rap; not too often on that last one.

19: Do you think you have specific themes you continue to return to? If so what are they?

MM: I would say yes. I always like the sweet love stories with tension in the middle and happy endings. My specifically, I have a thing for closeted military men. I’m working on two stories that involve that. I also love interracial gay erotica romances. I want more of them out there where the black man isn’t a thug or some rough neck. It is possible for a gay black man to be sweet and not be a diva.

20: What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

MM: My two lovely, happy, healthy children and my writing career.

21: Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

MM: My all time fave is Anne Rice. When I was younger, I liked Charles Dickens and Edgar Allan Poe.

Right now, I’m reading mostly gay erotica. Blak Rayne is tops on my list. I just read her first two books and I’m awaiting more work from her.

23: Have you seen those ‘author’s cave’ photos that show the office/study/corner of the table where famous writers work? What does yours look like?

MM: Well that would be my kitchen. Our house is too small for me to have a den. In my next house, I know I must have that.

24: Do you enjoy TV and movies? If so, what are your favorite shows/films? Do you find they inspire your writing?

MM: I’m not really a TV or Movie Watcher. My inspiration comes from what I read, see, and listen to.

25: Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know. Include information on where to find your books, any blogs you may have, or how a reader can learn more about you and writing.

MM: Okay then. I’m Michael Mandrake aka Sharita Lira, Rawiya, and BLMorticia.

Here are my links to find out more about me.

The True Meaning of Love by Michael Mandrake
Michael Mandrake





This last one, is a new blog I have started with fellow authors. Opens April 1st Its Raining Men Blog

My writing updates are posted on LiveJournal –

I write for XOXO publishing, STARbooks press, and Sizzler Intoxications.

I also have free reads posted on,, and

Here are the covers from my latest stories:


At XOXO, 9Clouds, Amazon, and ARE

Blurb –Brandon McFerry and London Davies are a couple that has been together six years. After having an argument over the importance of Brandon’s event at his art gallery versus London’s party at his club, London is involved in a serious car accident that makes him temporarily incapacitated. During his rehabilitation, Brandon and London will learn the true meaning of love thus bringing them closer together.


Only When I Lose Myself part of the My Sexy Valentine Anthology

Available at Sizzler/Intoxications, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Blurb: Adrian Vanderguard is the hottest singer in the music business right now and is currently on tour supporting his third album. Now that the long journey is coming to a close, he is visiting his home away from home in New York City to play a string of six exclusive shows at New York’s famous Falcon Theatre in front of sellout crowds that include top celebrities.

Adrian is also a loner who is in need of companionship. While on this lengthy trip, he has made up in his mind that he would like to be dating by Valentine’s Day of the following year, and he will stop at nothing to accomplish this.

Matthew Gionapolis is the Falcon’s environmental engineer. A young, healthy, twenty- something, that takes his work very seriously. Matthew is one person who likes everything to be in place, and really is not into having much contact with people unless he has to.

Not knowing this, Adrian decides that he would like to get Matthew to be his assistant despite the fact that the young gentleman was rather rude to him when he tried to introduce himself. Undeterred, Adrian even goes as far to point out the fact that Matthew must do as his managers say or else it could mean his job. This upsets Matthew but because he would like to be employed, he goes along with Adrian’s ploy, and while all this is going on, he develops a soft spot for the kind hearted, gorgeous crooner that may change his mind about wanting to be alone for the duration of his existence.


Longing for a Normal State of Vertigo Part of the Riding the Rocket anthology

Available at Sizzler Intoxications, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Blurb: Among the other great stories by Cecila Tan, M.Christian, Nix Winter, Kiernan Kelly, and others, editor Sacha Illyvich gave me the privilege to be part of this awesome gay sci-fi/paranormal anthology, Riding the Rocket.

My story, Longing for a Normal State of Vertigo is a historical story involving a young doctor in search of love that’s unique while still trying to make the next big discovery. In the most unbelievable situation, he will find what’s he’s looking for but at what price?


Sugar Daddy by Rawiya

Available at STARbooks press and Amazon, Spring of 2011

Blurb: A short story of a young man, Matthew Davidson, who is seeking the love of an older black man. When he goes to an internet dating site, he finds the man he is looking for but the ad calls for a black or Hispanic male. Interested, Matthew puts up the picture of his best friend, Devon Peartly who is Black. Now though, his chat buddy would like to meet him in person.

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Sharita Lira
13 years ago

Thank you for having me Alex.

I really enjoyed the interview and I appreciate the comments!

Delaney Diamond
13 years ago

Awesome interview! I’m amazed by how much you write. African Sun sounds intriguing. I’m looking forward to it.

Sharita Lira
13 years ago

Thank you Delaney for visiting and the lovely comments. 🙂

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