Today, fellow JMS author Gavin Atlas is here for an interview. Welcome, Gavin!
Why do you write?
I can think of two reasons. First, I have to. I think even if I could only write for myself or a small group of friends, I would still write. Second, because I want to make people happy. I started with literary fiction, but it seemed like most of that was depressing. Writing gay erotica or romance (or humor) makes me feel hopeful I’m making my audience feel satisfaction or joy.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what do you do to avoid it?
Absolutely. I have ADHD, so I write slowly when I write at all. To focus myself, I choose one of my obsessions to form a plot around. At different times I’m intrigued with art, music, colognes, tennis, gemstones, travel, colleges, and airlines, among other things. So, if I can create a character with one of those obsessions and obstacles related to it, I have a good start. Perhaps the character is also lonely and needs love. For Hurricanes and Rainn, I focused on a beautiful green island in the Caribbean, Dominica. My love for the setting helped power me through writer’s block. Moreover, Dominica is not exactly pro-gay, so the setting also created obstacles that propelled the story forward.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have, and do you plan to finish them?
As far as unfinished stories, I understand there’s an incredibly large number called “googleplex,” which is the number 1 followed by a hundred zeroes raised to the power of 1 followed by a hundred zeroes. I suspect that’s probably close. I would like to finish much of what I’ve started. I have a romance set on a luxury cruise liner I like. There’s another with a handsome aspiring perfumer whose world collides with that of an airline magnate. Furthermore, I have ideas for two or three more collections of short erotica. I also have ideas for one or two books of humor fiction, and I’ve also started a couple novels. Finishing one or both would surprise me, but perhaps I’ll give it a shot.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a triad romance, which is something I’ve never written before. As I love art and art museums, and I also love being silly, the main character is the adorable young curator of a terrible museum of art. It’s a collection of “old masters” that are less than masterful, located in the dusty, remote town of Egbert, Texas. The protagonist absolutely needs rescuing, and a pair of dashing, noble alpha males might just swoop in.
Blurb from Hurricanes and Rainn
Rainn may fear tropical storms more than anything, but his love of flowers has landed him a gardening position on the Caribbean island of Dominica. Loneliness leads him to take tours with breathtakingly handsome local guide, Sam.
Sam is taken with Rainn but not at all with the planned hotel where Rainn works as a gardener. Windemere Resorts is quietly destroying Dominica’s natural beauty, and now Sam and his friends hope Rainn will help them obtain information they need to stop the hotel from being finished.
Rainn wants Sam badly, but what if he’s being used? An out-of-season hurricane bearing down on the island makes his worst fear a reality, and now he must decide if he should break the law for Sam. Can he trust Sam with his heart and body?
Rainn didn’t know this song, but it had a regular groove, sexual and grindy. He soon found his rhythm. He saw Roger nearly choke on his drink and then scurry over to him and Sam.
“Ooh, Rainn. You’re a good dancer,” Roger said. “I bet you’re fun in bed.”
Rainn laughed and felt himself blush. Sam turned and smacked Roger on the shoulder. Then he turned back and put his hand around Rainn’s waist.
“Is this okay?” Sam asked.
Rainn nodded. It was more than okay.
Rainn hated to sound like all he did was panic about storms, but it was on his mind. “So, I heard on the radio the activity east of here is almost definitely going to form Tropical Storm Alex. Isn’t that crazy? I mean, it’s only April.”
Sam shrugged. “It’s the dry season. Even if there’s a fluke storm, it can’t be that bad.”
“I heard some of the other laborers say the trailers the Windemere has for us aren’t hurricane safe. We’re supposed to have places in the hotel to live in by June but …”
Sam massaged Rainn’s shoulders. “Relax, baby. Why do hurricanes scare you so?” Rainn inhaled Sam’s cologne, warm with musk and vetiver, and felt calmer.
“When I was little, I liked the rain because of my name,” Rainn said. “I was staying with relatives in Houston for summer, and I was out riding my bike in a storm. I didn’t want to go home. I was swept away in a flash flood and almost died. To this day I feel faint when I hear thunder.”
Sam whispered in Rainn’s ear. “Shh. We’ll keep you safe, I promise. I, personally, will keep you safe.”
“Sorry to bust in,” said Cyprian. “But have you been working for that hotel for longer than the month and half you’ve been here?” Cyprian asked.
“Because you should know the people there are an evil bunch,” Roger added. He was loud enough to be heard over the music. Again, several nearby men turned to look at Rainn. Sam said something Rainn couldn’t understand, probably a rapid Creole. From the tone, Sam suspected it was something akin to “hush up.”
“I’ve always wanted an evil friend,” Roger said quickly. Then he smiled flirtatiously at Rainn. Whatever Sam then said to Roger sounded very similar to what he’d said a moment ago, but it sounded gentler.
Sam looked at Rainn. “I said, ‘Hands off. He’s mine.'”
Rainn laughed again.
“I love how you can’t stop blushing,” Sam said with a grin.
This was thrilling, Rainn thought. He was delighted by all the flirting, but he still sensed tension in the room. Clearly his employer bothered Cyprian. Roger and Sam, too.
Sam caught Roger blowing Rainn a kiss and pointed two fingers at him to tell him, “I see you.” He said, “I love Roger, but I worry his big mouth, or his leering eyes, will get him in trouble sooner rather than later.”
The song changed to something faster, and the crowd whooped.
Sam leaned in to whisper. “You are adorable. How sho — uh, how tall are you?”
Rainn laughed. “You were about to ask how short I am. I’m 5’6″.”
“My little pocket gardener.”
Rainn laughed again, then flexed his arm. “But hey! I’m nobody’s wimp.”
Sam smirked. “Pint-sized but powerful.” He squeezed Rainn’s bicep. “May I slide my hand lower?” Sam asked.
Whoa, what? Rainn felt a ripple of pleasure run through his body. He couldn’t look at Sam but nodded. He felt Sam grab his butt. Delirium and lust shot through Rainn. It had been months since Rainn had been touched like that.
“Such a nice ass,” Sam said. “You think I didn’t notice? Because I did on all three tours.”
“Wait. You noticed me even on the first tour?”
“I should have guessed you’re part Indian. I noticed your beautiful brown eyes right away.”
“I also noticed your shorts can’t hide your gorgeous chunky ass. I have to have it.”
Wow. Rainn gaped at Sam’s brazenness. He loved it, but he couldn’t believe it.
Sam burst out laughing. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m not normally like this. I think you may have put a spell on me because I’ve never said anything like that before.”
Rainn wasn’t someone who slept with a guy on a first date. He didn’t know what to say. But he continued to dance, keeping his lower body within easy reach of Sam’s hands. When the song ended, Cyprian was at Sam’s shoulder, looking impatient.
“Kiss him already,” Cyprian said. “It’s past time we talk to him.”
Talk to me? About what?