Today, Coffee Time Romance has the pleasure of speaking to author of original m/m fiction, Christie Gordon. Thanks so much for granting us this interview, Christie. Just relax in our cozy recliner and put on the fuzzy bunny slippers while I pour you a cup of hot coffee.
Thanks so much, Cherokee. I'm glad to be here.
Today I thought we could discuss your release, A Summer without Rain. I love how you composed Shannon and Ciaran to be almost in tune with each others feelings. It was almost as if their wide range of emotions pulled the reader right into the story with them. Could you enlighten the audience a bit on this story?
I went through a period of watching lots of Irish independent film and for some reason, I love the era of the 1920's-1930's. It just seems like such a romantic and turbulent time. When I write I usually come up with the ideas for the characters first and then try to fit them into a place or situation that would be the most difficult for them to force them to grow as people. In A Summer Without Rain, the Irish setting and 1920's time period was a terrible place for a gay boy to grow up. Plus, Shannon has the unfortunate first time sexual experience of being molested by a male school teacher and found out. The people of the town, the local priest and even his own mother and father make life miserable for him, even though he was the victim. As a result, Shannon, a normally sweet and sensitive young man, is forced to put on a persona of being much tougher than he really is and lives a very solitary life, except for his lifelong best friend, Ciaran. Ciaran on the other hand has all the qualities Shannon doesn't - he's upbeat, naive, friendly and is well liked by the community of their town. It is this relationship of opposites, but complementary opposites, that makes them such great friends and eventually lovers. For me it was very rewarding to see Shannon grow as a person through the story and become comfortable in his own skin. It's interesting for me to read the last chapter and then go back to the first - it really shows how much Shannon changed, even the tone of the story seems very different to me.
The storyline is quite engaging. Did you feel drawn into the story where you could not let it go?
Yes, as I do with all of my stories. Sometimes I get so dragged in, I don't even shower for a few days! I just sit and type like a mad woman on my computer. Not only do I write the story, but I draw the characters as well to help me get a better feel for them. It always surprises me how the characters seem to come to life in my own head and do things I never planned on or saw coming when the story started. For instance, when I came up with the idea for Shannon's character and the molestation, I had no idea how much this event would effect his life and the plot of the story.
I believe you have another release, Emerald Envisage Anthology, could you tell the readers a little about this anthology? I must say the cover is awesome.
Yes, the cover is awesome - I have Martine Jardin over at eXtasy Books to thank for that. The Emerald Envisage Anthology is a collection of short stories by many great eXtasy authors. My story, Behind the Jade Tiger, was inspired by a Japanese boy love (yaoi) anime I bought at Yaoi Con in San Francisco last year, titled Winter Cicada. After I watched this tragic love story, I wanted to give the characters a happier ending. This is what gave me the plot idea for Behind the Jade Tiger. In this paranormal story, Jordan is by all accounts a normal, young architect living in trendy Scottsdale, Arizona and caught up in trying to land a simple hook-up. He's been plagued by recurrent nightmares all his life and frequently has feelings of deja-vous and severe hatred for anything Japanese and doesn't know why. A friend of his tells him the local gay bar is a great place to meet women that most men don't know about. So, he goes there one night by himself and of course, who he meets is not a woman but a beautiful young Asian man named Kira. He's drawn to Kira and can't for the life of him figure out why. Strange emotions and visions flash into his mind when Kira kisses him. As confusion sets in, Kira leads him on a journey to discover a past he's tried to keep buried. This story was fun for me to write because I was able to poke fun at myself and "fangirls" who love yaoi and boy love. I have a caricature of myself in the bar who challenges Jordan to dance with Kira and the bartender is a bald, body-shaved man named Harry - get it?
When composing, do your characters ever wake you up in the middle of the night and insist you write?
Although I don't usually write in the middle of the night, I have gotten up a few times after going to bed to jot down plot ideas. I keep these ideas in a list at the end of each story and I refer down to it as I write.. Once I've completed each idea, I just delete it. Hmmm, but this one time I got this great idea for the start of a new Fullmetal Alchemist fan-fiction story just after I went to bed and wrote about 4 pages of it around 1am. Does that count? This was actually how I got my start in writing, making up stories for Edward Elric and Roy Mustang in the Fullmetal Alchemist world of Amestris.
Growing up, did you ever keep a journal and write notes about the stories you would love to compose?
The only thing I wrote growing up was a silly story with a couple of friends in high school called "Buns-Buns McGee". It was really silly...so I won't get into it. I barely even had a diary. I wanted to be a veterinarian!
Do you prefer to start with an outline when you write or just go with the flow?
I usually start out with two characters that are fairly well defined, hero and hero (although I have this idea gnawing at me for a male/female story), and some of the major points in the plot, then just start writing. Bringing the characters to life and watching them do what they want to do, within reason, is the most satisfying thing for me. It's the creative process of letting your subconscious mind take on these persona's and tell the story that works best for me, if that makes sense.
Do you 'lose' your track of thought, story thread or whatever emotional pitch you happen to be at when you do leave your story for a bit? If so, what do you do to get that leave of emotion back?
I do and boy is that frustrating! My life's a bit of a mess lately and this has invariably led to me taking sometimes a week at a time away from my current story. There are times when I have to sit down and reread the whole story, every word, every sentence, from beginning to end, before I can get back into it. I don't like to write multiple stories at a time either, it also makes me loose my train of thought from one to the next. I guess I'm a serial writer.
How long does it take you to finish a book from start to submission?
In normal circumstances, it takes me about three months to write a novel-length (around 90,000 words) story and submit it. I like to edit as I go, meaning I write a chapter, take a short break and edit it before moving on. So when I'm done writing a story, it's pretty much in the proper condition to be submitted.
When is your favorite time to compose?
I find the words flow the best in the morning right after my work out. I spin three mornings a week and do a majority of my plotting in spin class, of all places. So when I get home, I immediately want to jot down my ideas and get started. I can write fairly well at night or midday, but this requires a good dose of caffeine.
If you were to plan a wedding, tell us what it would consist of?
I'd rather plan the honeymoon! After having been married three times(twice to the same man), I'm not a huge fan of fancy weddings. For me it's more about spending quality time with the people you love most and getting the ceremony out of the way. I'll tell you about a honeymoon I planned, though. For my last honeymoon, I planned a trip to Southern Africa where my husband and I spent a week on safari in these lovely thatched roof huts. There's nothing like landing in a small airplane on a simple grass runway while the locals are shooing elephants off it. At the first safari lodge, one side of the hut was open to the Zambezi River and we got to watch wild hippos and elephants from the comfort of our open-air bathtub. There were even fireflies at night... Of course, we rafted on the Zambezi two days into the trip and I broke my ankle on the longest class 5 rapids in the world...but that's a really long story. Our trip ended in Cape Town where we drove up to the South African wine country and stayed in these quaint little bed and breakfasts. It was such fun and the best trip of my life.
You have been given the opportunity to visit either, New Zealand , Holland , or Antarctica , which one do you choose to visit and who do you plan to accompany you?
New Zealand, definitely, I've always wanted to go there. I've heard you can rent these campers and just drive and camp across the country - that sounds like such an adventure. I'd take my trusty camp-savvy, REI man - my boyfriend. He's always a joy to be around and we have great fun together (plus he's quite romantic when he wants to be).
You have planned for a lovely night out with your loved ones but when your order arrives; your meal is a disappointment. Do you complain to the waitress/waiter, or just let it slide?
Being as I waitressed for seven years through high school and college, I'd very nicely let the waitress/waiter know. If you don't say anything, she or he can't help you and this really is their job, to make sure the customers have a pleasant dining experience. Do I sound like a restaurant spokesperson now?
Having lived in Arizona, especially around the Phoenix , Scottsdale , area, I have to admit it is lovely there. If you had someone come to visit for a whole day, what areas or attractions would you take them to see?
I'd take them to see the red rocks of Sedona.. Even though the area has grown over the years and turned quite touristy (is that a word?), I still think it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. You can hike, view ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs, go to a vortex, spend a day in a world class spa or just relax, sip your favorite drink and look out over the beautiful red rock formations surrounding the area. Another lesser-known but really cool place to go is Jerome. It's an old mining community built on a hillside just south of Sedona. During it's heyday, the mine collapsed. The town became many things over the years, a hippie colony, a witch retreat (I used to hear interesting tales of wiccan's holding ceremonies there on Halloween), and now it's primarily an artist colony. Many of the old buildings are still standing and have been restored and are reported to be haunted by the ghosts of some of the old miners and such. I've stayed at the old hospital turned into motel and I can tell you, there's definitely some unique energies running around that place. There's also a cool bar there called The Spirit Room. I spent a New Year's Eve there one time and had so much fun, well, let's just say I had a hard time getting up the next day.
Yes, Christie, I remember Jerome and Sedona, those are great places to visit, and enjoy many days.
Could you share a blog, a myspace or your website with your readers today?
You can find me at my main website: www.christiegordon.com, which will be getting revamped here in a week or so. I'm hoping to add a blog and a members only section which will allow members to read the first three chapters of all my books, free reads, character interviews (I'm really looking forward to interviewing Shannon and Ciaran), contests and sneak peeks on my works in progress. My other prominent web accounts to follow:
MySpace - Facebook - Twitter -
Deviant Art – Literature - Deviant Art – Artwork
Congrats, you have the choice to either go skydiving for the day, or either spend the day river rafting down the Grand Canyon which would you choose?
River rafting, of course. I'm an old pro, even though I broke my ankle doing it in Africa. Okay, I'll tell that story now. Basically, I was in this rubber raft, rowing with a bunch of guys who didn't speak English so well. They didn't understand all the commands the guide told them. We hit a rapid the wrong way and the guide popped up from the back and crash-landed on my leg, bending my foot the wrong way, and broke the inside tip of my tibia bone off. Nice, huh? This was halfway through a 100 yard or so, class 5 rapid on the Zambezi River, in a gorge, and all I could do was lay down on the bottom of the raft in pain and hope to God we didn't capsize - I'd either drown or be eaten by alligators. Sound like a disaster movie yet? We thankfully made it through the rapids and my ankle swelled in weird places and bruised rapidly. I kept telling the guide it was broken, but everyone kept saying it was a sprain. Yeah, right. Finally, they pulled over and let me out of the boat. I had to climb up a rickety old ladder clinging to the side of an 80 foot cliff. Obviously, with my ankle in as bad a shape as it was I couldn't do it.. So, the rafting company supplied me with a young, sinewy African lad who tossed me on his back and let me rid him (had to add that) to safety. Once at the top of the gorge, finding an x-ray machine was difficult at best. I was in Zimbabwe. We did find a very old one in a nearby hospital, it was the kind with all the huge knobs like you'd see in some 1950's sci-fi movie and probably put out enough radiation to cook my insides. I survived that and the x-ray was so bad we couldn't tell if it was broken or not. So, I toughed it out with an ace bandage, some burrowed polio crutches and lots of ibuprofen mixed with liquor. I did enjoy the rest of my stay, but had to have surgery to put a screw in my ankle when we reached Cape Town. How's that for a long winded answer?
Christie, I cannot thank you enough for this interview. I had fun today and enjoyed our chat. I wish you the best in your writing. I’ve got some coffee to go, if you would like to take a cup with you. The fuzzy slippers are yours to keep. Everyone, be sure to check out Christie’s website, where you can learn all about her wonderful books, and her remarkable, artwork, too.