I want to give a very warm welcome to our author Mychael Black. My name is Lori (Lototy), and it is great to finally meet you! I welcome you to Coffee Time Romance. Mychael’s book “The Prince’s Angel” is up for discussion today, and I can guarantee you it is a great read!
Thanks, Lori! I'm thrilled you enjoyed The Prince's Angel and hope you like the sequels just as much (if not more so).
I must confess that I have spent many slow periods at work (shameful, I know) feasting on the short stories from your old website. They were like fries, it was impossible to devour just one! I think that is what really got me hooked on M/M romance. When I read your work it is like the perfect coffee break from life. What is your favorite way to slip away from the daily grind?
Aww, thank you so much. I've had lots of requests to put them on the new site, so that's one thing I hope to do this spring/summer.
As for my favorite way to escape, that would be computer games. I'm a proud gamer chick from way back. I don't play consoles anymore; my addictions are PC games (World of Warcraft, Diablo, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, etc).
Looking back at how you have grown as an author what do you feel are your biggest regrets, and your greatest successes?
Honestly, I try not to dwell on the past or have regrets. Are there things I would do differently with knowledge I have now? Sure, but I choose to learn and move on. My greatest successes come from knowing I've opened a reader to a new genre/pairing and finding random reader reviews off the beaten path. Those things are what tell me I'm doing my job.
If you do not mind a little personal psyche session, how would you describe your worst fears in life, and what do you do to overcome or transcend those feeling?
My biggest fear (beyond object phobias like fire, drowning, etc) is failure. To say I'm my own worst critic is putting it very mildly. It's taken a long time for me to learn how to shut the critic out, but I'm steadily getting there. When it comes to my fear of failure, I simply refuse to fail. *grins*
I love a book that transports me to another place and time. For me it does not have to be a paranormal, fantasy, or historical to accomplish this, but a piece of work that completely wraps you up in the character’s lives. Do you feel this way as well when you sit down to write, and is there always another voice begging you to be let out?
Absolutely! As both a reader and an author, I'm drawn more to character-driven stories. I have favorite genres, of course (fantasy, paranormal being the two biggest), but the characters are the defining factors of a good story for me. As an author, that means I also have voices constantly demanding (notice I didn't say 'wanting') their stories be told.
The powerful connection of the men in your stories is something that really draws me in, and I have grown to love this genre more and more. In my opinion there is a greater depth of feeling and honesty with M/M romance than in most “straight” romances. I view mainstream is a ridiculous concept when it comes to love, and would really like to know how you feel about the way publishers are treating what they call alternative romances?
While I'm obviously biased toward M/M romances, I have read some good M/F stories as well. A part of me hopes that the mainstream publishers (ie, the big houses) eventually open up to GLBT romances, but I also worry that, if they do, we may lose the smaller presses. Having been with smaller presses throughout my career, I'd hate to see them shoved out of business because the biggies are proving to be tough competition. But then there's the issue of reader devotion; there's a lot to say for readers devoted to a certain publisher. I'm certainly a devotee of several. Now, if a big house publisher were to begin putting out M/M romances, I would consider writing something for them, but only with the promise that they treat M/M romances exactly like they do M/F (and not as some sideshow thing). We (the GLBT folks) are just as normal as anyone else, even when it comes to love.
In The Prince’s Angel Cian Carmichael (love the name play, by the way!) is an age-old angel with glorious blue wings and long silky golden hair. He is falling for a man who he should not want given that vampires are not exactly thought of as heavenly creatures. This is a great representation of non-conformity, and it works so beautifully. Do you often imbue your characters with such diametrically opposing positions, and is it hard to keep them in line long enough to get their story out?
Heh. We came up with the pen names after we had the characters' names. Although Mychael was inspired by a character in a romance novel I adore (that is M/F, by the way), I took Mael's last name of Black. Shayne took Cian's last name, and stuck with her real first name.
I'm a sucker for opposites-attract stories--especially ones as fundamentally different as Cian and Mael. Sometimes the guys behave, and sometimes... they do NOT!
Mael Black is the Prince of London, and a very old and powerful vampire, but his sense of fairness and duty are what really makes him a leader for his people. I love that this gorgeous powerful man has such honesty and integrity. You would expect the love and generosity from Cian, but getting the same out of Mael is a wonderful surprise. When you write such amazing creatures like these is it hard to keep their humanity in check, and not get too caught up in the fantasy?
Shayne's the mastermind behind Mael Black, and I wrote Cian. Maintaining a sense of humanity is integral to the Romanorum and its leader, Diocourides. That doesn't mean there aren't oppositions to it. I like my/our otherworldly characters to be somewhat human, to an extent. While there's always the presence of something darker and stronger, it makes them easier to relate to.
Mael has a huge problem on his hands if he cannot stop what is happening with the rogue vampires and the formulas. It almost feels like two scenarios are playing out at the same time. How long did you work on this concept before putting it down into words, and did the idea come from somewhere specific?
*laughs* TPA (as The Prince's Angel is affectionately known) was conceived and written in a month--all 90k+ words of it. Shayne and I have such chemistry between us (and between our men) that the plot was pretty much organic. Now, later books have been a bit harder to write off and on, but that first one wasn't.
As with most vampire stories there is a definite feeling of an underlying darkness and danger to The Prince’s Angel. When you flesh out a protagonist for a story like this is it easier or harder than the development of your main characters, and why do you feel that way?
The same, really. Even the secondary characters take on lives of their own, as you'll see when you read books 2 and 3.
There is also a great story going on with Mael’s magician Cornelius and his young new protégé Brandon, and I cannot wait to delve into the sequel “And the Two Shall Become One”. Did this start out as one novel, or did you know from the start that Cian and Mael would have a second story to share? Is it an easier flow when you start a sequel than when you begin the original novel, or do both present their own special quirks?
We knew about 1/3 of the way through TPA that there would be a second book. Before book 2 even started, though, we had several side stories and book 3 already started or waiting to be started. For Mael and Cian, however, book 3 is their final story. They threatened us if we put them through another one.
Book 2 (and book 3) took longer to plot and write, namely because the guys kept springing surprises on us. Book 2 (And the Two Shall Become One) introduced several new people, one of whom is Mael's son, Christian. Christian has a stronger role in book 3 (Forever May Not Be Long Enough), and there are several twists that threw everything--and every one, including us!--for a loop in that one.
It has been so great speaking with you today! I look forward to checking out your new releases as well as some of the older stuff I have not had time to get to. Is there anything in particular you would like to promote that we should keep an eye out for?
And the Two Shall Become One (TPA 2, as it's occasionally called) is available at Torquere Press, along with The Prince's Angel. Both are in print and ebook formats. There are some poignant scenes in that one you don't want to miss. We also sent the final book in Mael and Cian's series to Torquere, so keep an eye out maybe later this year or beginning of the next for it. Titled 'Forever May Not Be Long Enough, it wraps up Mael and Cian's story, but opens up for a new couple (not Brandon and Cornelius, though). This one was...rough, in many ways. But have no fear! There will be many, many more Romanorum-based stories in the future!
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule! I hope you have a wonderful and productive year!