Heidi Cullinan

Read more about Heidi Cullinan.

Interview By: Tamazon

Date: September 22, 2011

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TEMPLE BOY | 978-1-61118-417-4 | Publisher: Loose Id. | Genre: LGBT Fantasy Paranormal

There is something different about Aurel. Though he's lived his whole life as a Temple Boy in remote Mantua, no one seems to know when he arrived, or even when he was born. Despite a strict edict against sexual contact in the monastery, somehow even the most devout of men seem unable to stop from throwing themselves at Aurel. But things really get hairy when God shows up speaking Catalian and demands Aurel help him find his true love.

Now giant stone beasts are running him down at mass, witches are dropping out of the sky, and a sad, headless man whispers of lost love to Aurel in his dreams. It isn't until a band of vengeful amazons drag him into the desert hills, however, that Aurel realizes how much of not just his life but the lives of others are at stake-but he can't do anything until he figures out which God, if any, is real.

Please tell us your latest news!

My most recent book is Temple Boy, out from Loose Id. It's the second in a romantic fantasy series; the main romance is m/m, but there's an m/f storyline as well, and in this one even an f/f. It's kind of my "big project" series, a mixture of things I think a lot about and enjoy reading/writing (metaphysics, magic, mythology) and fun things (pirates, mystery, kick-butt women, sex). I'll also be attending a few conferences in the next six months: I'll be at Gay Rom Lit in New Orleans this October as well as doing a panel (How to write sex scenes people don't skip) for Romantic Times in April.

What main genre do you write in?

Science Fiction / Fantasy

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

My favorite author hands-down is Terry Pratchett. He makes me laugh and think at the same time, and I can read him over and over and over. His books for me are ones you can find something new in every time. That's what I'm always looking to put in my own books, but to me, Sir Terry is the master.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I was always playing with story as far back as I can remember. I didn't write anything down until junior high, when I took to writing during class (looks like taking notes) and during my free time and vacations at home. When I got into graduate school I began to think more seriously about trying to get published, and once I was home with my daughter I started to get serious about honing my craft and submitting. Mostly I just love story, especially the kind I know will work out okay in the end. The world is full of uncertainty; I like escaping to a place, reading or writing, where unlike the real world things always work out okay in the end.

Please describe your writing environment.

My office is a 6x12 foot space in the upstairs of our house. I have no idea what its original intent was; my best guess is nursery. It has two shuttered windows that open into my daughter's room and three huge east-facing windows on the other side. We have an older home, so it's got Arts & Crafts woodwork and hardwood floors. Somehow as soon as we moved in, I knew this was my space and that it needed to be painted an almost terra cotta red and mango. My father-in-law helped me turn shower board from Lowes into a markerboard, and between that, the windows, the doors, and the closet, most of my wall space is gone. I used to have a fainting couch in here, but I used it less than I thought I would, so I traded it for a rocker. I now have my computer desk, a cubby for supplies, a rocker, footstool, lamp, closet, and many places for cats to hang out.

What's been the most challenging part of writing for you?

Writing, actually, I have no trouble with. It's promotion and editing and all the fussy work that keeps me from editing. I need time, space, and mental calmness to write, and sitting down to an email box full of fires and a sense of pressure to buy ad space, make a trailer, etc, drain me until writing is so far from my mind I don't even try. My solution to that is my publicist, my agent, and separating writing time from promo time. When it's a writing day, I'll only answer the most pressing writing-related emails. Everything else has to wait. That and I don't do much housework. That helps a lot.

Do you have any animals? Do they influence your writing?

I have four cats. I don't know that they influence my writing, but they do like to walk in front of the monitor and believe the keyboard is very much in the way of my lap. We're in a bit of transition at the moment as we used to have five cats, three of those original five dying of three unrelated cancers within six months of each other, and now we have two new, younger girls in the mix with the two survivors.

If you had to choose one person to have dinner with, who would it be? And why?

I'm horribly boring, but it would be my husband. He's my best friend, and just being with him makes my world even out. Plus he doesn't mind when I stare off into space and think about story or, alternately, talk nonstop about a new plot idea.

Who's your agent? Please tell us about them.

My agent is Saritza Hernandez of the L. Perkins Agency. She's also known as "the ePub agent." I can't imagine selling a book without her. She talks me out of trees, gives me perspective, and fixes things when they go wrong. She has so much energy and enthusiasm, and it rubs off. I tend to get scared by the uncertainty of publishing right now, but Saritza just sees it all as another challenge. And when things change, she just grabs my hand and drags me along, whistling happily. While I want to focus on the terror of, "But last week THIS was the good idea! And now.now that's all different? How do we know this one's good?" she just smiles cheerfully and forces my attention back to the now, telling me stories of how great everything is and how much better it will be. Her 15% isn't even close to compensation for what she gives me, which is chiefly peace of mind.

Who has been your best supporter? How have they been there for you?

My husband, no question about it. He's supported my writing ever since we met. He's sent me to conference after conference and supplied moral support at all times, turning that into a kick in the pants when I want to give up. His favorite example of that is SPECIAL DELIVERY, which is my most famous book and is one I tried many times to quit writing, but he wouldn't let me.

Do you like to mix genres?

I do. I'll write in any that come to me as a story, but I like to mess around with tropes and expectations. I wrote a shifter story, but the shifter was a place, not an animal, and was fixed to location. I wrote what many have described as "could have been a cheesy porn setup" novel in SPECIAL DELIVERY, a story where a trucker takes an eager-to-have-adventurous-sex young man cross-country, but I probably put more heart and craft (and blood and many, many tears) into that story than anything I've yet done. I like to write fantasy, but with sex scenes as intense and unique as erotic novels. For me it's about writing what I enjoy as a reader: variety and the unexpected amidst the familiar. I also like pushing the envelope, which makes my life interesting sometimes, but when it pays off, it really pays off.

Signing Off: Heidi Cullinan

About The Author

Heidi Cullinan is the award-winning author of seven novels and two novellas, and her short stories have been published in several anthologies. Heidi has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren't enough of those stories out there. When she isn't writing, Heidi enjoys knitting, reading, movies, TV shows on DVD, and all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi also is one of the keepers of Coffee and Porn in the Morning, a naughty blog she runs with fellow author Marie Sexton. (The home page is always work safe, or at least as work safe as a blog with "porn" in the title can be.)

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