Hey, guys! I have author HB Pattskyn here today telling us about her latest release from Dreamspinner Press called Hanging by the Moment and answering my impertinent questions. 🙂 She’s also giving away a signed copy of the book and some cool swag! But first, I need to post briefly about the Fall into Romance blog hop that I’m participating in this week over at The Romance Reviews! There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs–so be sure to check it out! The answer to my Q&A is: a World War 2 listening post. Got it? Great! Now read HB’s interview and then head back to TRR to enter some contests!
Now, here’s HB! Welcome to my blog, HB, and thank you for answering my
nosy discerning, questions! First, please tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of stories you like to write. Would you say there is an underlying theme behind your stories?
Thanks so much for having me! This is the first time I’ve put a really serious effort in promoting a new book—but Hanging by the Moment is a really special project to me.
As for the actual question *G* I guess I could best be described as artistic, eclectic, and maybe just a little bit bohemian. I’m 44, and currently live in Metro-Detroit with a wonderfully supportive husband and mostly wonderful teenager.
It might be hard for anyone else to see a thread connecting my stories (I only have 3 novels out, and on the surface, they are wildly different from one another), but really the underlying thread is about finding home. My stories are about people who are lost or torn and have to figure out where they belong in the world—always with a happy ending, of course! I really can’t handle bittersweet. Getting there might be bumpy, but my guys will always get there.
What part of the world do you call home? Can you tell us a little about where you grew up and where you live now?
I grew up in a little blue collar Detroit suburb called Hazel Park. The city is all of a mile by a mile and a half, which means I walked to school—and pretty much everywhere else I wanted to go! My favorite place, however, was the library. When my husband and I got married, I moved just a few miles down the road to the Royal Oak area—so a lot of the places I write about are places I know personally.
I see you write M/M fiction. Would you characterize your stories as M/M romance, erotica, or something in between?
Totally M/M romance. The sex is secondary—although to be fair, my second book contains a lot of very steamy BDSM. The first half of Bound: Forget Me Knot can literally be summed up with “and they had a lot of kinky sex.” *G* The emotional bond between the two men develops a little later on in the story. (Hey, it’s two guys who meet at a science fiction convention, what can I say…?)
My third book, Hanging by the Moment, which just came out, is 350 pages long and there are only three and a half sex scenes, plus one pretty tame masturbation scene. The language is explicit, but none of the scenes are very long.
The amount of the sex and the explicitness of the sex is really determined by the characters.
What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?
Anywhere I can write undisturbed! *G*
But if we had unlimited resources, there are a number of exotic places I’d love to visit (preferably for a month or more at each, to really get to see everything—and get in some writing time!), like those Buddhist temples you see in books, the ones that are half grown over with jungle vegetation. I’d like to visit the same kinds of places in South America, too. And ancient Greek temples, the pyramids and some other places in Egypt, Easter Island…places like that have always fascinated me. If it were a viable career, I would have studied anthropology in college because I love exploring new places and cultures wildly different from my own. I’d stay in little villages and get to know the locals…and bring lots of mosquito spray!
Of the stories you’ve written, which one do you like the most? Which one would you recommend a new reader begin with?
I think the answer to that will always be whichever one I’ve finished most recently. I get so invested in what I’m working on while I’m working on it that it becomes “my favorite”. That said, I think my new one (Hanging by the Moment) is definitely the best in terms of being “accessible” (it’s a contemporary story with characters I think are pretty easy to understand as far as what motivates them), as well as being technically sound. I’ve learned a lot about writing in the last couple of years—which might be another reason why the current book will probably always be “the best” IMO. With each book, we become a better writer.
Of course if you like BDSM, Bound: Forget Me Knot is pretty freakin’ hot… *g*
What are the three most important things in your life—the things you can’t do without?
My family (husband and daughter), my pets (especially my dog), and my laptop. (Those things sometimes switch around in order depending on how annoyed I am with either my husband or my teenager at any given moment *g*)
What advice would you give to someone who aspires to be a published author?
Never, ever give up. Even if you’re not “good enough” right now, if you keep writing and keep getting feedback, you’ll get there. (And remember that “good enough” is entirely subjective). From a totally practical standpoint, I’d also suggest learning as much as you can about the publishing industry now before you find yourself in it. Things are changing and they’re changing fast. It’s never too early to start getting a handle on what’s going on out there. Last piece of advice: there’s nothing in the world wrong with self-publishing, but don’t let someone sweet-talk you into spending a stupid amount of money or fall of pie-in-the-sky promises. But if you do your homework, you’ll likely not fall for the sweet-talk and promises of fame and fortune!
The Zombie Apocalypse has begun. You have a van with enough gas to get you to a defensible location. In addition to your immediate family, you can take three of your own characters with you. Who would you chose and why?
Alun Blayney, because he’s a werewolf. If I take Alun, I have to take his mate James. James is human, but he’s a pretty good shot, so I think he’ll be an asset. Of course James would be really peeved if I didn’t take Robin—but that’s okay, he’s a demon, so seriously, a total asset if zombies overrun the earth! Now, if I can just keep Alun from getting all moody and pissy every time Robin so much as looks at James, I might just survive the trip…
(Alun, James, and Robin are all from my first book.)
If you could have lunch with anyone in the world (real life, celebrity, fictional, etc.) who would you choose to dine with and why?
Johnny Depp. I think he’s a fascinating man who by all accounts is a genuine human being, and I would happily sit and talk and drink with him all day and it would totally be worth the wicked hangover I’m sure I’d have the next day!
Have you ever read a story in which the death of a character felt like something that you would never forget?
Nope. If a character dies that I’m that heavily invested in, I resort to fanfiction and decide that it (the so-called character death) never happened. That’s the beauty of being a writer; I get to create my own universe and fashion it however I want *G*
Have you ever been intimidated by reviews?
Believe it or not, it’s the good reviews scare me. Bad ones I can usually brush off. Not always, but most of the time I just tell myself that the person didn’t like my book and didn’t know how to express that constructively—and that’s okay. We can’t all like the same stuff. But when I get a really good review I start to totally freak out because “oh Gods, I’ll never write anything that good again! Everything else is going to be a flop, I just know it!!” That’s when my husband hands me a glass of wine and some chocolate…
Who would play you in a movie of your life?
Drew Barrymore. She’s got the right attitude and quirky sense of…well, everything.
Are there things/topics you’d like to write about but are afraid to tackle?
No, but there are some things I’ve got rolling around in my head that will take an intimidating amount of research because they’re set in different eras/places. While I was writing my first novel, a Victorian era urban fantasy, I must have read a dozen books on cuisine, clothing, etiquette, architecture, and thank goodness for the Internet! I was able to find a street map of London that was made just a year or two earlier than the year my book was set in. Most of those details don’t show up in the book per se, but I needed them in my brain. I have to be able to really see/touch/taste/smell/hear the world in which my characters are living in order to write their story.
As far as actual topics, if I get an idea for something and the topic is sensitive, I’ll just figure out a way to make it work. I’m very lucky in that I have friends and acquaintances in all different walks of life, so there’s usually someone close by who can guide me through the proverbial land mines and make sure I’m doing the subject justice.
Thanks, HB, for answering my questions! It’s been a load of fun seeing another side of you (now I picture Drew Barrymore at a keyboard typing away furiously) and I’ve enjoyed reading your answers here today. I’ve always enjoyed our online interactions–now I think of you as a kindred spirit too! Also, you’re tempting me into checking out some BDSM titles. We’re going to have to have you come back some day and tell us what it is that draws you to BDSM–I think that would be a great blog topic for you! 🙂
Here’s some more about HB and her newest release, Hanging by the Moment from Dreamspinner Press!
Helen Barbara Pattskyn lives with her husband and children (both human and four footed) in a quiet suburb of Detroit, MI. She is working on becoming a full-time writer as well as doing volunteer work and still trying to find time to putter in her garden, watch the stars, and paint.
Helen describes herself as a storyteller, a science fiction geek, and a bookworm; as introverted, but not shy. Her favorite jobs (besides being a writer) have been hawking left-handed mugs at the Georgia and Michigan Renaissance Festivals and painting polyurethane corpses for Gag Studio. She’s also waited tables, cut fabric, and worked as a library assistant. If anyone ever asks, she describes her life as “quiet”—but even she’ll admit that when you condense it into two paragraphs, it suddenly looks a little more interesting.
Pasha Batalov has lived his whole life doing what a good son is expected to do. He dropped out of school to help run the failing family restaurant, and ever since he’s put up with his difficult business partner, who also happens to be his father. And, of course, he keeps his sexual orientation a secret from his conservative Russian family. After being closeted costs him his first serious relationship, Pasha resigns himself to one-night stands and loneliness.
But after a chance encounter with lost delivery truck driver, Daniel Englewood, Pasha starts to question all of his assumptions about life. Daniel is sweet, funny, smart, drop-dead gorgeous—and for the last six years, he’s been living with HIV. Pasha worries that he won’t be strong enough to help Daniel if HIV turns to AIDS, but he can’t walk away from their deepening attraction. He also doesn’t know if he can be strong enough to face the hardest task that a relationship with Daniel demands: coming out to his family and friends, and risking losing everything else he holds dear.
My website: http://helenpattskyn.com
As part of my Virtual Book Release Party and Blog Tour, I’m giving away a goodie bag that includes a signed copy of Hanging by the Moment and some cool swag. Anyone who leaves a comment (that includes contact info!) on the blogs I visit between now and October 14 will be entered to win.