Welcome to Rita’s Bower where readers gather to meet our favorite or soon-to-be favorite authors while sipping delicious drinks and savoring decadent treats. Serve yourself a plate and drink, settle back in a comfortable chair, prop up your feet, and welcome our guest author, Draven St. James.
I am pleased to have Draven St. James as our guest. One always wonders what to discuss. Among other things, I discovered that Draven’s current release is on All Romance’s Top 10 Best Seller’s list. I look forward to hearing about that and more.
Welcome, Draven. Tell us about yourself and how you started writing.
I grew up in the Northwest and am a part of a huge family (9 siblings). I was always the one that my siblings came to when they needed help with their writing. I started writing stories as a child and continued all the way through to college. After college, I worked as a psychological profiler. That actually is what inspired me to start writing full-length novels. It truly revealed the complexity of the human psyche. Granted, it took one of my best friends giving me a good shove to actually submit my work, but I'm glad I did!
Your website bio says you’ve “travelled extensively in search of mischief and mayhem.” I’d love to hear about the travels and the mischief and mayhem.
I've traveled to Japan, S. Korea, Canada, parts of Mexico, Hawaii, and all across the USA, At every location I spent time people watching and learning about the different cultures. I find it fascinating how unique each culture is, but more so that we generally are quite similar when broken down. I've found beauty everywhere and sorrow, but one cannot exist without the other. It is the contrast that gives them power. I have to say one of my favorite places I've traveled to is here in the USA. New Orleans is alive and it's almost like their culture is in the air, not just the people. It's intoxicating, passionate and mystical. Through my travels I've spoken to shamen, voodoo priestesses, and the real people. Not just the tourism, but going out and finding the core of a people. Those are the ones that inspire me.
I've gotten lost in forests, flown over volcanoes, danced in a fertility ritual, been painted from head to toe, eaten food which to this day I do not want to know what it actually was, watched healing rituals, and a great many other amazing things.
What fascinating experiences! They would certainly provide inspiration for stories. I just finished Scent of a Wolf, a scorching hot M/M erotic shapeshifter romance. LOVED IT! Tell us about the story.
First off, I'm so glad you loved the story!! Jace and Merek are wolf shifters who are fated to be together, but it isn't the classical strangers meeting and falling into love. The two have dreamed of one another their whole lives. The emotional connection has been built upon in those nocturnal interactions. Don't get me wrong, there is some steamy sexiness in the dreams.
Jace is a member of a rare wolf pack. The Pack of Light. There are very few survivors of his pack and he is attempting to search them out. Merek is the alpha of his pack. These two very dominant men clash and their vulnerability to one another is what makes their coming together beautiful. It's that conundrum of wanting to protect the one you love, even if it means sacrificing your own happiness.
They have to fight to be together, it isn't just meeting and mating. It's a struggle to accept that they are stronger together than apart.
Scent of a Wolf was a well-told tale with some outstanding world-building. How did you create this unique world with characters I’d love to revisit? Do you plan a series?
I created the actual physical world based on my own location here in the great Northwest. We have some amazing forests to play in. The wolf culture, really I wanted to try to do something to set my shifters apart from other books. I tried to infuse not just a basic shifter society, but a mystical one. The wolves possess a strong almost ancient mythical quality in their abilities.
I do plan for this to become a series. I've already begun the process of writing Liam and Sean's story. Obviously Cory and Jacob will be another book on the horizon. It's so exciting writing a book with characters you know, you will be able to revisit. I love it when the readers of my books actually are awaiting the release because they want more of the characters. They are invested in the people that I've created. It's a wonderful thing to be able to give a reader a world to escape into.
Your Firehouse Six series is doing very well. Readers first met Greyson and Mica in Grey’s Hidden Fire. We see them again in your newest story Fire & Mistletoe which is an All Romance E-books’ Top Ten. Tell us about the series and Fire & Mistletoe.
Grey and Mica are firefighters at Firehouse Six. It starts out with Mica being the new guy and Grey battling feelings for Mica. Primarily because Mica is a man and Grey identifies himself as being straight. There is also the undercurrent of bigotry that occurs in certain professions, firefighting being one of them. The story is about overcoming all of that and finding that love is more than a career and more than the gender of the person.
After writing Grey's Hidden Fire, I had a great many of my readers asking for more of Mica and Grey. I was more than happy to provide a second book, Fire and Mistletoe, surrounding Mica and Grey's relationship. There are always bumps in the road to love. Humans are imperfect creatures and slaves to our emotions. So, it was fun to be able to show the reality of Grey and Mica's relationship. The caring, the insecurities, the vulnerabilities and of course the very hot, unique, explorative sex.
There will be more in this series. The next book, that is currently almost completely written, is Simon's story. He's been a primary side character in both the first and second books. I've had many requests for his story! I don't intend to disappoint.
Outstanding! I’m looking forward to reading another of your sexy shifter stories. Your books that have been published so far are sizzling hot, gay erotic romance. What drew you to the genre?
I love the male psyche. I love the contrast of strength and vulnerability. It's so
intense when you have an alpha male who acquiesces to the emotions he feels for his lover. I think the sex is more raw and gripping. In other words, a lot of fun to write. I just write better if there are only male bits and pieces involved.
Your published stories and you works in progress are in the M/M LGBT genre. Do you plan to write in other genres?
I don't plan to write in any other genre. I really enjoy writing in the m/m LGBT genre and I love my readers. The stories continue to flow and I want to follow that path and see where it leads.
Sounds like you have found your niche and a popular publisher in the genre. How did you come to be published with Loose Id?
Well, when my friend pushed me into publication, it was right after I finished writing Grey's Hidden Fire. I submitted it and tried to forget I submitted because I didn't want to be checking my email every five seconds. Then one day, I got the email that they wanted to see the whole book. I was excited and shocked. Not long after Loose Id accepted it, and it was an amazing feeling. I found myself writing more and editing books I'd already written. Loose Id is a fantastic publishing company. I'm very lucky to be a part of a group of so many talented people.
Tell us more about your Firehouse Six story that you are working on now.
I'm finishing up Simon's story, which will be the third book in the Firehouse Six series. It's pretty much done, but I'm doing the first round of edits. Anyone who knows about edits, knows that is a time consuming labor of love. It is a May/December story.
Finally, you spend time tutoring creative writing students. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Have faith in your writing. Don't ever be afraid to share what you love, because writing is who you are, not just something you do.
Thank you, Draven, for visiting and telling us about yourself and your books.
Thank you! I had a lot of fun answering the questions. I'm not very good at talking about myself, but you made the process fairly painless.
I enjoyed our chat as well, Draven. Drop by and visit anytime. The door to Rita’s Bower is always open. Happy reading, dear readers, until our next gathering,