Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I'm J.M. Snyder, author of gay erotic and romantic fiction. I'm in my early thirties, graduated from George Mason University, and have always wanted to write. I live by myself with two very spoiled cats, love pop music, movies, musical theater, and video games.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
Well, I write every day, or try to. I work full-time, which is a hindrance, but until the cats get their own jobs, I'm the only one paying the bills. But I wake up a good two hours before I have to be at work so I can write. From 6 AM to 8 AM, I focus only on my writing (or, if I'm between stories, updating my websites). After work, I tend to come home and take a quick nap until around 8:30 PM or so, when I wake up and try to write some more before the day is done. On a good day, I can get four hours' writing time in. On the weekends, you'd think I'd write more, but without a deadline (like having to be at work by 8:30, or in bed by 11:00), I usually goof off and read, go to the movies, go shopping, whatever. I slack off, in other words, but during the week I'm very regimented about my writing time.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
In February 2008, I have a novel-length book coming out with Amber Allure Press entitled The Bonds of Love. This is a contemporary fantasy story featuring what I call my "superhero" characters-Vic Braunson has found that sex with his lover Matt diLorenzo imbues him with super powers. When Vic stops a robbery, he's featured on the front page of the local newspaper. An ex-lover of Matt's sees the article and decides he wants those powers back, and he'll stop at nothing to get them.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
Currently I'm working on two short story series: Working Man, published by Aspen Mountain Press, and The Positions of Love, published by Amber Allure Press. One story from each series is released every month. Next year, I have quite a few novellas coming out in e-book format with Amber Allure, including the one I'm working on at the moment, another "Vic & Matt" story called With This Ring. And it's not about what you might imagine!
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I love research. A lot of my stories involve characters who hold jobs or find themselves in situations with which I'm not familiar, so I have to do my research to keep the stories realistic. Fortunately, I love to read nonfiction, and often find myself inspired to learn more during the course of my reading. Most of the nonfiction books I read "for fun" are really research for future stories, even if I don't know it yet!
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
As an undergraduate at Mason, I found that I work very well against a deadline. I thrive on them, to be honest. They help keep me focused and bring out the best in my work.
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
The best advice . One year at Mason, I took a writing workshop by author Richard Bausch. He said that authors have to believe two things simultaneously about their own work ~ that it is the best thing ever written, and the worst thing ever written. Believing their story is the best gives writers the self-confidence to submit it for publication. However, when it is rejected, they must be able to see its flaws and what they can do to edit and strengthen the prose. Then they must feel it perfect again, to have the courage to resubmit it elsewhere. The worst advice . I honestly can't think of any. I tend to hear what I want to hear and disregard the rest :)
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I can't just dive into a story without giving it any thought, but I also can't outline it completely or I lose the impetus to keep writing. I find it best if I have the characters set in my mind, and maybe the first two or three scenes already thought out, before I begin writing. My stories play out like movies in my mind, and as I go along, more and more of the story will become clear. I don't like knowing how a story will end before I begin writing it, because that discovery is part of the joy of writing. But I need to be able to see a little ways into it before I get started.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
My very first published work was a poem in a local newspaper. I don't think that really counts though, as it was one of those things where whoever submitted something was published.
My first "real" publication was a set of 3 poems in a small press zine called Ultimate Unknown in December of 1999. A few months later, I published a short story entitled "Bones of the Sea" in another small zine called Goddess of the Bay. None of these were gay fiction, however, and after several more rejection letters, I turned to self-publishing. However, in December of 2004, two flash fiction stories of mine were published online at Ruthie's Club, and the rest, as they say, is history :)
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
I am always online, I swear. My websites are:
http://jmsnyder.net ~ my main website, where readers will find information on all my books, excerpts, free fiction, and purchasing information.
http://jmsnyder.com ~ my "official" blog,
firstname.lastname@example.org ~ my e-mail address
http://www.myspace.com/jmsnyder23/ ~ my MySpace page :)
http://jmsnyder.livejournal.com ~ my LiveJournal
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jmsnyder/ ~ my Yahoo! Group :) * Note: I have both a Yahoo! Group and a monthly newsletter. The newsletter list only receives one message from me a month. The Yahoo! Group is much more active, and readers can post questions or comments about my writing at any time (no promo is allowed). Each month, I pick 1 winner from both the group and the newsletter for every 100 members to receive any e-book on my backlist. Currently both the group membership and the newsletter subscriber lists are at 200 members, which means I will randomly select 2 members from each to win!
Thank you for this opportunity!
Interviewed by Tammie King