Next up in my author interview series is Bryl R. Tyne. I have read the short story FORSAKEN and absolutely loved it!
You are releasing a series of short stories, The Zagzagel Diaries. What inspired you to write about your main character?
Without getting philosophical, let's just say I've been fascinated with rebellion for as long as I can remember, maybe four or five years of age. You'd have to ask my mother how many times I got spanked for blatant defiance. (On second thought, don't ask). I also have this crazy drive to understand 'why' about everything.
That said; I ran across a submission call for angel themed short stories and immediately envisioned a too-big-for-his-britches guardian angel—a mix of the character Michael, from the movie Michael, and the character Gabriel, from the movie Constantine, hence, the perfect rebellious attitude, personality, and outlook—my favorite type of character.
Anyway, I had no name for Zagzagel right off, but I knew he would be a guardian angel and that he and Big Papa (Zag's endearing title for God) would be at constant odds. Sadly, seconds later, I also knew who his charge would be. Suffice to say, I poured a very real life experience into FORSAKEN. If only Zagzagel had been there for the young man who I knew all those years ago. That's all I'll say on that.
It was unfortunate the publisher asking for angel stories found mine "didn't quite fit" their call. I wasn't worried and was about to submit to another of my publishers when I saw Untreed Reads' call for submissions. The series didn't spring to mind, however, until after I'd submitted FORSAKEN to Jay Hartman at Untreed Reads. The idea of focusing on various LGBT charges and their problems and having them Zag's responsibility unfolded, as Jay considered my story.
How many more stories do you have planned?
I have three more—six in total. The next one is titled, LOST. It's about an elderly homeless person of transgender named, Charley. Definitely not the "charge confused about their love interest " as one review accurately describes the series thus far. I'm still working out the details for story number five, but I have the last in the mini-series laid out. That is, unless my readers convince me to continue. To be honest, considering how emotionally drained I am from writing this series of shorts, the collective "you all" would have to be mighty convincing to get me to continue.
Do you write in more than one genre? Where else are you published?
I write in many genres and will often cross genres. Mostly homoerotic romances, but nearly all of those cross genre with—Western, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Paranormal, I even have a Mystery series in the works. All of my writing is LGBTQI centric, meaning my characters fall within a wide spectrum of gender and sexuality.
Most of my works are published with Noble Romance Publishing. I started with them back in January 2009 because they were open to my ideas. They've been good to me, even helped me improve my craft significantly. So much so, I'm now also an Editor.
I have stories in anthologies from Ravenous Romance and STARbooks Press, and I have more gay erotic romances with Dreamspinner Press and Changeling Press.
What factors influenced your decision to sign with Untreed Reads?
Besides ambition? Well, Untreed Reads put out a call for stories, short and non erotic. Those two factors encouraged me to submit my angel story to them.
As is obvious from my list of publishers, I write Romance. Though much of my work barely fits the mold of the genre, I continue to hold out for that HEA or HFN endings. I also enjoy writing short as opposed to novel length (which I have yet to do, by the way).
I gave Untreed Reads a shot because Romance writers often get a bad wrap. Personally, I write the stuff because it sells, but the reason I write at all is because I can, and I enjoy bringing my worlds and characters to life and introducing them with others. So, on a quest to prove that this Romance writer is still, first and foremost, a writer, I submitted my first non-erotic story to Untreed Reads. Apparently, even without writing all that smut into my stories, I'm capable of fashioning a quite interesting tale. Imagine that.
How involved are you during the creative process for your book’s cover?
Very involved, always—but only because I know myself. To a certain extent, I'm shallow. I admit, I often judge books by their covers, at least at first glance. I often don't change my mind until a blurb or a recommendation can convince me to give the book a chance otherwise. With that in mind, I try to be as involved as the individual publisher allows in choosing the art and even the colors used on each of my covers. Color can set the mood or tone of the story, even represent the theme. I think writing is an art, as any other, and should be represented as such.
What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
Pardon my language, but I've been called a Promo-Ho, which I think answers the question, but I'll elaborate for those unfamiliar with the term.
I'm on tens of dozens of social media sites, including more than a half-dozen blogs, which I post regularly to most. I also have a bi-monthly column, 'My Way', which becomes active in August at The Pagan and the Pen. You can find me at all the sites you mentioned, along with nearly 100 Yahoo Groups, LinkedIn, Authors Den, LiveJournal, MySpace, a variety of Nings, and many virtual bookshelves such as, Goodreads, GLBT Bookshelf, etc.
One thing I've learned in the two years I've been writing is not to attempt to draw attention only to your books. With the onslaught of social media, readers expect you to interact with them, and many times, on a personal level, even if it's something as base and utterly ridiculous (in my opinion) as Tweeting what you ate for breakfast.
For example, I'm fascinated at the number of responses I receive when I blog about my family. Why any stranger would care, I don't know, but I think it has to do with people's inherent longing for interaction. Perhaps the relentless pursuit of wanting to know about others' lives is tied directly to the evolution of technology allowing us to do more with less. Though we've advanced to the point of never having to interact physically with another person if we choose, I think being human, we'll always long for that personal touch. As technology leads us to isolate ourselves further with each new advance, what we miss physically, we'll compensate for online on a more personal or intimate level.
How do you feel about the world of digital publishing? Do you think it will replace traditional publishing one day?
I don't know that digital will ever replace print publishing completely. Something inside me hopes that will never happen, at least. Digital will continue to grow, though, and eventually it will consume more than a majority of the market. Some predict in less than five years. The upcoming generation is tech savvy and tech hungry. God only knows how ravenous for new technology the following gen will be. In my idealistic world, I would hope books I can hold, turn the pages, and smell the paper and the ink last forever. Realistically though, the print industry as a whole remains in a steady decline, while readers' wants and needs seem intent on catching up to the speed of the technological evolution.
What’s next for you?
In August, I have a gay erotic novella, Trey #3, coming to Noble Romance. I'm also venturing into the YA world writing as BJ Holt, sometimes co-writing with up and coming author, Zak Gaap. Our first short story, Not Quite Pizza, will be out later this year.
Also, I'm working up a story for Untreed Reads' holiday anthology. As if I don't have enough works in progress, I'm considering answering Untreed Reads' call for Steampunk too.
Thanks for having me here today. Your questions really made me think.