Release Date July 10, 2017
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Rick R. Reed here today answering questions and sharing insights into his latest release M4M. Welcome, Rick!
An Interview with Rick R. Reed, author of the trilogy of romance, M4M
How much of yourself goes into a character?
Well, if you’re talking about Ethan Schwartz, my romantic underdog hero who’s central to all three of the stories in M4M, he and I do share certain similarities.
At the start of the book, in VGL Male Seeks Same, he’s looking for love online. I know first-hand how daunting, terrifying, frustrating, and exciting that can be. But I do believe in online romance because I met my husband fifteen years ago on an online dating site. So, I know it can lead to true love!
The middle of the book (NEG UB2) occurs some years later when the love Ethan finds in the first part becomes strained when Ethan is diagnosed HIV-positive. I also am HIV-positive (and have been healthy and undetectable for over seventeen years now—thank God), so I know the terror that comes with that diagnosis. My heart went out to Ethan as he deals with his health status and the fear that the man he loves betrayed him. The story is a true test of love.
The last part of the trilogy that I call M4M is called Status Updates to reflect our current social media centralization into our daily lives, my own included. Social media can be a double-edged sword, bringing people from your past into your life. On the one hand, things like Facebook can be a wonderful way to reconnect—and even find the road back to love, if you’ve been hurt as Ethan was. On the other hand, it can easily bring someone back into your life that you aren’t sure you ever wanted there in the first place. That’s the crux of my story, which, oddly enough, reflects my own spiritual journey.
Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?
In everything I write and every character I breathe life into, there has to be a part of me in order for him or her to become real. So yes, I draw from my own life, but the comparisons, even if you know me well, may not be so apparent. That’s because similarities from my own life and that of a character can be metaphorical or symbolic. But I think any writer would be hard-pressed not to draw from his/her frame of reference when creating a character.
Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?
Well, when it comes to my horror and dark psychological suspense, yes. As a kid, I was obsessed with horror movies, books, and TV shows (I was a huge fan of Dark Shadows). Romance, though, I didn’t really get into until I was much older, and I wanted to bring love stories that would resonate with gay people to life because those stories aren’t told as much in mainstream fiction.
Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?
Yes, because it gives people (myself included) hope. I believe very strongly in intention and how our own thinking shapes the reality we get and, with that in mind, HEA or even HFN is a given.
Who do you think is your major influence as a writer? Now and growing up?
My main influences are Patricia Highsmith, Flannery O’Connor, Stephen King, and Ruth Rendell, all have a twisted and dark world view, but in the end, I think, they all believe in redemption—and so do I.
How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?
It’s here to stay. Personally, I love it and seldom even read a paper book anymore. In fact, I’ve bought ebooks of paper books I’ve gotten as gifts because I know I won’t read the paper book because I’m so used to the ease and convenience of ebooks.
How do you choose your covers? (curious on my part)
Most of my work is published by Dreamspinner Press, and I’m blessed to work with Reese Dante, who’s just amazing and wonderful—extremely talented. We usually huddle on what I want to get across, what my characters look like, and tone. Reese takes it from there and usually sends me dozens of stock photos of handsome male models to look at (such hard work!) to help find the best fit for the characters. But she’s truly inspired and I love every cover she’s done for me. The more we work together, the more we think almost as one, so that’s really nice.
What’s next for you as an author?
I have a short coming out in September called I Heart Boston Terriers. It’s about how a rescue dog brings two men together. I just got the cover and it’s amazing. I can’t share it, but can tell you it features my own Boston terrier, Lily, on the cover (by Reese Dante).
Finding and keeping love can be a challenge in the modern world of blogging, social media, and online dating, as one man will learn in this trilogy.
VGL Male Seeks Same
Poor Ethan Schwartz. At forty-two, he’s alone, his bed is empty, and his HDTV is overworked. He’s tried bars and other places where gay men are supposed to find each other, but it never works out. Maybe he should get a cat?
But his life is about to change…
Poor Ethan. He’s received the most shocking news a gay man can get—he’s HIV positive. Until today his life was perfect, with a job he loves and Brian, who could be “the one.” The one to complete him and fill his lonely life with laughter, hot sex, and romance.
But Ethan’s in for another shock. Could Brian have infected him?
Alone again, Ethan wonders if life is worth living, even with a cat. When an old nemesis sends a Facebook friend request, Ethan is suspicious but intrigued. It seems this old acquaintance has turned his life around, and the changes might hold the key to Ethan getting a new lease on life… and love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Real Men. True Love.
Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” You can find him at www.rickrreed.com or www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their Boston terrier.
FIND RICK ONLINE