Halloween – what better time of year to do something scary, I thought…I like being scared… don’t I?
Not too long ago I read and reviewed Dead Gorgeous by Daniel deLoite – I like my fiction dark and edgy – Daniel definitely makes me edgy… Dead Gorgeous wanders far enough into the shadows to make me want to follow… and I like what I found there. Now that Daniel himself has stopped lurking in the shadows and is showing the world a little more of what he’s about (plus some sexy extras) I asked him if he’d take some time out to meet up – and I eventually got him to talk.
Dan: *wipes mouth on back of hand* No problem, Kiran.
Kiran: Shhh! Ahem… Now I’ve met you in the flesh, not just virtually, you seem more a man of action than of words… so, what prompted you to start writing? More to the point, what made you start writing ‘filth’ – a term you yourself use?
Dan: Because just about everyone likes filth, even if in public they say they don’t. The world is full of hypocrites, pretending to be oh-so-prim-and-proper while quietly gagging for a good shag with the milkman…
Kiran: You’ve seen my milkman?
Dan: I know religious Christians who go to church and blog about God and family, and at the same time (under a nom de plume of course) write about ménages, anal sex and BDSM. I wonder if they donate their books for the church Tombola? Look, I came across Tristram La Roche (no, not really, but I wouldn’t say no if he offered) and found his writing refreshing. Although I’m gay I didn’t read much gay stuff until I got a Kindle – not because I was too shy to buy it in the bookshop, which seems to be the excuse bandied about, but just because I wasn’t attracted to it. I read some of Alan Hollinghurst’s books but found his characters a bit middle-class wanky for my tastes. Really, I wanted to smack most of them. It wasn’t until I browsed the Kindle store that I realised how many writers were publishing stories about gay men. I use the term ‘writers’ quite loosely, by the way, having waded through some utter crap at the beginning…
Kiran: Good grief, once you start there’s no stopping you…
Dan: Ssh! I’ll forget where I’m coming from! I reached the point where I thought I would return to my old ways and not read gay books. So many of them were schmaltzy romances filled with pretty or androgynous boys mincing around and behaving like schoolgirls. *pukes*
Kiran: *hunts for tissues…*
Dan: I have never shared body fluids with people like that and don’t intend starting now. Then La Roche brought out another book which kept well away from the pink and fluffy, and then I found your Bedevilled which actually took my breath away – and not much has that reach these days, I can tell you.
Kiran: Bedevil, Dan…
Dan: Sorry, Bedevil. So, I thought I might give it a go. I had always been pretty good at stringing sentences together, although judging by some of the things I’d tried to read that wasn’t an essential requirement. It might be arrogant, but I felt I could do it better than a lot of those who were already putting their books out in the public domain, and at least as well as some. And another thing I have to admit, and I know this is a sensitive area, is that I was shocked when I first found out that the majority of M/M writers are women. I mean, WTF does a straight woman want to write about men sucking each other off for? I think Freud would have had something to say about it.
Dan: Look, if that’s what gets them off who am I to say it’s wrong? I am all for freedom. I do wonder, though, if while they’re writing or reading about fictional gay men, their husbands don’t have to nip out to the gay sauna or cruising ground for quick relief. That would be really cool! Anyway, what I’m saying is, I’m a dick man and have as much interest in writing about women as screwing them. Now, stop interrupting!I was going to say that I got over that, up to a point. I do still feel a bit queasy – offended even – when 300 pounds of female flesh in a velour track suit starts cooing about how cute and lovely gay boys are. *takes a deep breath and dons hard hat* (*me too!*). Anyway, you and La Roche did – do – a good job (and so do others, by the way, like James Lear, Erastes, J L Merrow to name just three) but I felt I wanted to go that bit further into the realms of real sweaty men and ignore the happy ever after.
Kiran: Don’t we all want to enter the realms of sweaty men…
Dan: Oh, I know all the places to find sweat, Kiran.
Kiran: I’m sure you do… 🙂 Sorry – I’ll shush!
Dan: You see, gay men are not all hairdressers or art dealers or dancers. In the real world that hairy-arsed gorilla operating the JCB at the top of the street could quite easily be a leather fetishist into nipple clamps and piss and addicted to dick. Lots of men do have multiple partners, do have sex in public places, do like a bit of rough. So I thought I’d give it a go. And do I need to say that I quite like to shock?
Kiran: Erm, I think we’ve got that, Dan. Now, Dead Gorgeous – I loved it. What inspired you to write it?
Dan: I was overdue to write another short story when I realised Halloween was fast drawing near. I suddenly thought of all the schmaltzy trick-or-treat stories that would no doubt be showing up on the Kindle Store – you know with men dressing up, toffee apples and candy and that kind of thing.
Kiran: Ah… yes… have I mentioned Eden…my Halloween short…? *looks worried*
Dan: Don’t get me wrong, that’s fine if you like that sort of thing but for me Halloween is about ghosts and demons. Now, don’t kill me, but having read Bedevilled I figured I could do it, too. Eden? Don’t worry – I loved it.
Kiran: Bedevil, Daniel… BEDEVIL! *ahem – carries on* Your writing is very down-to-earth, very male – something that I like, personally. A lot of women read gay fiction. Do you keep that in mind when you write or do you aim fairly and squarely at men?
Dan: I write what I know, not for an audience. I suppose it was an experiment when I set out. I wanted to see if raw gay stories would sell. So many people said the big market was middle-aged women who want a romance with a happy ending. I fucking hate stories like that and just have no interest in writing them. Just as we humans can’t be alone in all of space, so I knew I couldn’t be alone in the Kindle Store.
Kiran: Most writers appear with a blog/website/twitter etc as soon as they start to publish. You were an elusive character for a while, with no online presence at all – not that I could find… and I tried… Was that a conscious decision or had it simply not crossed your mind? What finally made you join the social network?
Dan: I purposely didn’t do any promotion. I couldn’t believe that Twitter and Facebook were the driving factors in book sales (I mean, get real!) so I didn’t bother to join them. I just published. Dick has been an incredible success, far beyond what I could have imagined for a niche market short story. And what surprises me is how it sells in the USA. Maybe they like the title. Maybe they like it so much they’ll elect a Dick to the White House. Now that would boost sales! I have recently started a blog but only because I found that I enjoy sticking things on it, not because I expect it to help sales. I recommend taking a look. I’m pleased with the cottaging image I have to say. And I joined FB and Twitter really just because I do from time to time like to fan the flames if there’s something controversial smouldering.
Kiran: Really? I hadn’t noticed… *raises eyebrow*
Dan: I know my sales figures and I know those of some other authors who have all this internet palaver. Mine hold up well. So you can make your own mind up about the real impact of social networking.
Kiran: I assume from a few short stories you can’t yet be making a living from writing so what is your day job?
Dan: I’m a rent boy 😉
Kiran: What are you planning next?
Dan: I’m going to stick to shorts (that reminds me of the old Plunger Perkins story!).
Dan: Short stories I mean. I might expand to a novella if I get excited enough but I enjoy variety too much to be able to spend a year writing a novel (and I think a novel needs that time, sod this business of a novel in a weekend – it has to be shite). Smutty, sexy, dirty short stories about spunky men getting it on. One-handed reads I believe they are called. Maybe for my first promo I’ll give away Kleenex with each book?
Kiran: So that’s where the tissues went… So, can I persuade you to get up to some more wicked games in the dark? (Literarily speaking of course)
Dan: Oh, I can assure you I need no persuading. I was once on Hampstead Heath…*gets back on knees*
Kiran: Oooer! Thanks, Dan – it’s been a pleasure having you
Dan: Ooh, matron! In your dreams, lady!
*checks still in one piece… and breathes again*
You can find out more about Daniel deLoite on his Blog
You can follow him on Twitter
You can find all of Daniel’s stories HERE