Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Michael Rupured here today talking about writing, characters, and the latest in the Luke Tanner mystery series, The Case of the Missing Drag Queen. Welcome, Michael.
Our Interview with Michael Rupured……
How much of yourself goes into a character? Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the character. Probably more than I realize. Many combine aspects of people I know, have seen on television, or in a few instances, passed on the street. Regardless of the inspiration, characters have a way of taking on sometimes surprising lives of their own before I finish the first draft.
Does research play a role in which genre you write? A desire to show how much things have changed for the LGBT community in my lifetime motivates me to write. Homosexuality was considered a mental illness, same-sex relations were illegal, and discrimination was the norm throughout most of the 20th Century. Because life for homosexuals was often dangerous, mysteries are the ideal genre for my stories.
How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going? Like them or not, ebooks in one format or another are here to stay. More options make reading accessible to more readers. I prefer paperbacks, but because of vision issues, usually buy (or rent) audiobooks. Piracy, however, is a huge problem with ebooks. I get notices almost every day about a site offering free downloads of one or more of my books.
How do you choose your cover? I envy authors who know exactly what they want for a cover. I never do. Filling out the cover request form is always a struggle. My brain doesn’t work that way. The artist creates a few different versions, I say what I like and don’t like about each one, and we repeat the process until everyone is satisfied. The stunning cover Alexandria Corza designed for The Case of the Missing Drag Queen is perfect for the story.
Do you have a favorite among your own stories? And why? The Case of the Missing Drag Queen is a contender. It’s the first set entirely in Lexington KY—my hometown—and it takes place in 1982, a few years after I came out. Whippersnapper is the best story. Unfortunately, it’s in the wrong genre. Rather than the May-September romance suggested by the cover and blurb, it’s really about Peggy Tucker’s big awakening. The HEA ending makes me cry every time.
Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work? Funny you should ask. After Happy Independence Day was published, I abandoned half a dozen manuscripts. Around 15,000 words, the story ran out of gas leaving a great cast of characters with no place to go. With a lot of encouragement, I did finish Whippersnapper, then couldn’t finish a story if my life depended on it. In May of last year, I figured out what was wrong with my abandoned stories. I found out a novel is supposed to be about the main character’s literal or figurative journey. You could have knocked me over with a feather! The Case of the Missing Drag Queen is my first novel since that epiphany.
What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into the story? I first heard about m-m romance a few weeks after I started writing Until Thanksgiving. When pressed to identify the genre, a member of my writers group said it was m-m romance and sent me several to read. Like many gay male authors who stumble into the genre, I confess to having had a bit of a chip on my shoulder for a short time about all the straight female readers and writers. I felt like I had something to prove, and wrote some extremely graphic sex scenes. Another member of the group said lighting was the difference between romance and porn, and my scenes were very brightly lit. In the end, I kept a few paragraphs from the beginning and end of each scene and cut the rest.
If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why? It’s tempting to say the beach, or the mountains, or by a lake, but I’d be lying. I’m happy writing in my comfy leather recliner here in Athens GA with my diabetic chihuahua between my legs and everything I need within easy reach.
Broke, saddled with a mountain of debt, and dependent on his Aunt Callie’s support, aspiring writer Luke Tanner has returned to Kentucky to put his life back together after a failed five-year relationship.
On his twenty-fifth birthday, Luke meets diminutive Pixie Wilder, a long-time performer at the Gilded Lily. After headliner Ruby Dubonnet doesn’t show up, Pixie takes her place as the star of the show—a motive that makes her a suspect in Ruby’s disappearance.
Luke reluctantly agrees to help his new-found friend clear her name. He and Pixie set out to find the missing drag queen, and in the process, put themselves in danger.
About the Author
Michael Rupured writes stories true enough for government work about gay life from the 1960s to today. This life-long Southerner was born in Fayetteville NC, grew up in Lexington KY, and after 18 months in Washington DC, moved to Athens GA where he’s lived since 1999. By day, he’s senior faculty in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia. He’s an avid fan of the Georgia Bulldogs, the Kentucky Wildcats, and any team playing the Florida Gators. In his free time, Michael tinkers with his garden, plays with Toodles (his diabetic chihuahua), and keeps up with his many friends around the country. Previous novels include Until Thanksgiving (thriller), No Good Deed (mystery/thriller), Whippersnapper (regional), and Happy Independence Day (historical). Visit his website, follow on Twitter and Goodreads, like his Facebook page, or shoot him a message (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Case of the Missing Drag Queen
Series: Luke Tanner Mysteries, Book One
Genre: Mystery, LGBT Fiction
Word Count: 60K