Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Welcome Willsin Rowe

Please help me welcome multi-talented Willsin Rowe. He is an author, cover artist, trailer creator, and musician, not necessarily in that order.

Please tell us a bit about yourself, Willsin.

Hi, Cassie, and thank you for having me here at Romance, Suspense and Sizzle. I love what you’ve done with the place. Sexy new web banner and all!
I fall in love with a scent, a playful expression or an act of casual intimacy more easily than with physical beauty. When confronted by any combination of those I am a lost cause.
I have done many things over and over. I have done even more things only once. I have half-done more things than I care to admit.
I don't yet know if I can ski, speak Italian or keep calm in a life-threatening situation, but I have my suspicions.
I play bass in a swampy blues band. I love to sing and don't let my voice get in the way.
I am intelligent but not sensible. I am polite but inappropriate. I am passionate but fearful. I am honest but reticent. I am neither stylish enough nor scruffy enough to be cool.

Hope you don’t mind, Willsin, but I thought since you do so many different things that we’d focus on a couple of your talents separately. For this blog post, let’s talk about your writing. Did you always dream of becoming a writer?

It’s hard to remember a time I didn’t. I was actually a reluctant reader in the first year or two of school. I dug comics, but not books. Then in second grade, my teacher issed a reading challenge, just to promote literacy. Thanks to my nifty genitals and their habit of producing testosterone, in my mind it became a competition. I started devouring books like they were potato chips. As I’m sure happens for most writers, the act of reading awoke a love of writing. I still remember, at the age of 10, telling my grandfather I wanted to be a writer. He assured me I’d starve and needed to find a real career. He’s still alive, age 97, and I’m still setting about proving him wrong!

What genre do you write most often?

The simple answer is Erotica. Within that wider genre, I’m currently focused on urban contemporary. I enjoy writing stories with darkness and grit, and while the stories don’t necessarily fit within the Romance genre, most of my characters are quite romantic.

Must have some romance. Is there any genre you wouldn’t write? Why?

I have no interest in writing splatter. If (when?) I tackle horror, I’d rather scare people with shadows than with innards.

No gore for me either. In my case, I want to write Time Travel, but haven’t yet. Is there a genre you want to write, perhaps at some time in the future?

Oh, I’d love to see what you do with time travel, Cassie. For me, there are several. If I had to narrow it to one, then I’d say paranormal. I’ve always had a fascination with supernatural mind powers, like prescience, psychic powers and telekinesis. I have a good half-dozen story ideas (some started) which fall within paranormal. And only one of them has vampires!

Title of your first book, be it ebook or in print or anthology? Did you get it published? If so, where?

My first published work (and in fact, only the second piece of erotica I’d written) was a little number called “Hearts and Beats”. It was a story of new love and chronicled the journey of Sian and Ed from an accidental nose-to-arse collision through to their first night together. I wrote it specifically for a contest at Aphrodite Unlaced, and was very pleased when it won*. It was actually a little adventurous, too, since it had twin points-of-view. The first section was in Ed’s voice, the second in Sian’s, and so on.
*In hindsight, given the size of the publisher, and its status as “now-defunct”, perhaps mine was the only entry!

What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know beforehand and you wished you had?

The importance of teamwork. I was very fortunate with my first two books (at Aphrodite Unlaced) that I managed to get them published without having a crit partner. Over the past three to four years I’ve managed to fall in with an amazing group of writers like Katie Salidas (or as I’ve re-christened her, The Lovely Katie™) and Sommer Marsden (“Awesommer”). I’ve learned many things from both of these incredible women, whether it be from them reading my work or from me reading theirs. Sometimes you learn about how to write from reading an early draft of someone else’s work. Not to mention that they’re just darn smart cookies with excellent listening skills.

Sommer is a gem and I've just "met" Katie, but crit partners are priceless. Since you’re from Australia, do you have time conflicts when contacting your publisher and/or editor?  I’m East Coast and my publisher is West Coast, three hour time difference here in the States, and it seems like forever before I get an answer.

There is a time lag, of course. Where I am (Brisbane) is about as far East as you can get in Australia, and it’s 10 hours ahead of GMT. So at first I became very familiar with the time zone websites, but now I’m getting pretty good at working it out in my head. It hasn’t presented any problems so far with writing. Sometimes it does with covers and trailers, when I have an idea in the morning and can’t get any feedback until my night-time. 

Waiting for feedback drives me crazy, which is a short trip in my case. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

“There’s another story in there.” It was in a writing course, and the comment was on a 20-line poem. It was meant as a suggestion to rework the poem, but I’ve appropriated it now as a mantra. It’s reminder that a story can hinge on something that you never meant it to. That as a writer, you should always keep one eye out for an epiphany, or serendipity. Like when you start a story knowing exactly how it’s going to end…only to realize that the true ending is vastly different. And you can’t believe you didn’t see it right from the start.

But don't you just love it when characters take over and you're hanging on, unsure of the destination. What was the worst advice? Did you know it at the time?

It wasn’t so much advice as something that came up in discussion. Someone calling himself a writer claimed he basically didn’t read anything. Not just within his genre (which was sci-fi, I believe), but literally nothing at all. His reasoning was that there was no way he could regurgitate anyone else’s ideas if he didn’t read anyone else’s ideas. I’m not sure whether it worked for him or not, but it certainly wouldn’t work for me.

Wonder if that's the same guy I talked to. A writer not reading doesn't compute. Any WIP? Care to share?

There’s a little story I began in July last year. It was the first time I’d ever sat down with only a single character in my head and just written about her. New characters jumped into existence around her and in the space of about 6 hours I had 6,000 words. For me, that’s positively turbo-charged. Meanwhile I’ve busied myself with other projects and ignored that little story, but I checked back on it not long ago…and I still love it. So that’s the one I’m bringing to completion. I was recently made redundant from my Stoopid Day Job, and at time of writing this I have three weeks until I finish up there. I’ve set myself the goal to have that story submitted to a publisher before I finish at the SDJ!

In the states we call redundant laid off, which happens a lot. As the old saying goes, when one door closes another opens. For your published books, do you design the covers or is that out of your control?

With the first, now-defunct, publisher, I wasn’t given the option to design covers (although I sent mockups for my second book with them…and they couldn’t re-create it so I ended up supplying some of the art). With my current publisher, Excessica, I did end up designing my own covers. I actually find it more difficult to make covers for my own stories than for others. Because when you look at it, a cover is a visual blurb. It’s a two-line synopsis in graphics. And I dare you to name me an author who LOVES to write a synopsis!

You've got that right. Just reading the word "synopsis" caused me to hyperventilate. There's only one good reason we want to be breathless. How about a blurb and/or excerpt from a one of your books. Please include your links so we can find you and your work.

This one’s my “pet” story. It’s called “The Three-Day Hump”.

34-year-old Luther Prescott has a solid career as a lawyer and is married to a world-famous lingerie model. Despite the verve of his youth, his life has grown comfortable and he drifts from day to day without dreams or aspirations. He can’t remember how it felt to truly want something…anything.
One night after work he meets Opal, the younger sister of a workmate, and despite their differences, they begin to spark off each other like shards of flint.
Opal is 25, debatably single, and has lived a life poor in everything but experience. She has a lush and fiery darkness emanating from within and it pulls Luther to her like a black hole. He suddenly remembers what want feels like.
The sharp desire in his eyes slices through Opal’s prematurely jaded heart, and they begin to flirt shamelessly. When the flirting inevitably turns physical, they each strive to escape the gravity of their lust, but lust turns to obsession, obsession to addiction. They can’t see a future, but they can think of nothing but the present.
Even when careers and lives are in the balance, they can’t fight their craving. The sex is so potent and consumptive that every time, as soon as it’s over, they feel hollow. They don’t know how to stop, they only know they need to.
An urban myth tells that three days of abstinence will break the back of an addiction. They hole up together in a hotel for a long weekend.
The ultimate test.
Can their addiction be beaten? Maybe. But first, they need to make it over the three-day hump.

She studies him briefly. He looks tranquil as a winter sunrise. She grinds her teeth in pique, steps out towards him, her hands balled as if to hide their quivering. She stops with only twelve inches of air splitting them.
She’s an animal, dripping with urges, stupid with lust. He’s a brute, stinking of musk, pulsing with heat. They’re beasts that have chanced upon each other, nothing more. They greet first with their eyes, barely daring to blink lest a weakness be revealed, or a secret betrayed. Three ragged breaths pass before an uneasy truce sighs down over them. They already know each other’s secrets. They are each other’s weakness. They pore over one another, but learn nothing they hadn’t already known.
He sees the frisson in her fingers and senses his own trembling in sympathy. He rubs his arms, brushes at the ghosts of spiders past and future.
She itches only on the inside, but it grows every second. Her bottom lip catches the rhythm of her hands. She blinks moistly and it weakens his knees.
He moves first, squeezing the air out from between them, ducking his head until he’s level with her throbbing eyes. He sniffs, a smooth and lengthy pull, hauling in the scents of her hair, her skin, her tremulous breath. He searches for any trace of threat, some other bull’s musk. His blood squeals urgently, petulantly in his ears, demands that he mark her as his own.
He prowls around her skinny, static frame, hoarding her essence. His breath gains momentum as he nears her hair, her shoulders, the feathery curls under her arms. He drops to his knees and grasps at the air around the small bump of her belly. He scrapes a path in the carpet as he orbits her pelvis, gnawing the atmosphere of her slender bottom, her bony hips. Before long he’s right where he fears he’ll lose himself.
She fills his vision. Her dark, thick bush seems to expand before him and he crams his nose with her scent. Like an animal. She courses through his body at the speed of blood, but it doesn’t fill him up. It just pools in his groin and weighs him down.
He twists his eyes closed and falls, finds his humanity swimming around her ankles. He drinks it back in with the smell of kept feet. Sweat and leather. Thick socks and skin.
He pushes away from the floor, sends himself back up into the stance that evolution has forced upon him. His head feels frothy. His blood, so insistent only moments before, weakens to a mere whisper as it claws back up to his heart. He staggers and almost regresses before his mind sops up enough blood to stiffen his spine.
He swallows heavily as she moves in to return his greeting.


My regular writing-based blog: http://coffeefuelederotica.blogspot.com
My own cover and trailer based blog: http://willsinrowe.blogspot.com


Sommer Marsden said...

"And I dare you to name me an author who LOVES to write a synopsis!"

Ugh. I would say me, me, me but even I can't joke about TDS (the dreaded synopsis).

I am very excited to unvail my new Willsin Rowe cover. But since I am a bit of a paranoid superstitious writer type, everyone will have to settle for the bits and pieces he made it into just for me. My little sexy jigsaw.

I guess to sum up, Willsin rocks on all fronts. And so do you, Miss Cass for having such good guests. :)

Now I'm going to go link you on twitter and whatnot. tweet tweet tweet...


Cassie Exline said...

Good morning, my dear, dear friend, Sommer, who is also a tease, but a good one. Thanks for stopping by and helping me welcome Willsin, your tease co-hort.

By the way, dear readers/followers, Sommer has an ongoing live story called Wanderlust. A must read if ever there was one. http://sommermarsden.blogspot.com Check it out.

Willsin Rowe said...

Oh, yeah...Wanderlust. My throat's getting dry just thinking about it...oooohhhhh...that Really...

Thanks again Cassie for having me here. Your place is warm and inviting.

And "Awesommer"...thanks for the props and the comment!

Cassie Exline said...

Thanks for allowing me to whip you, I mean interview you, Willsin. Sorry, sometimes I get confused. lol It's so cool having a guy do a post. Terrific answers.

Sharazade said...

Nice interview! And I totally agree with you about early and copious reading being a great background for a writer. I think it also gives me the right to say, when I'm reclining in a hot bubble bath at night with a book, that I am "working."

Cassie Exline said...

Thanks for stopping by, Shar. And you're so right about the bubble bath, excellent comment.

Katie Salidas said...

Excellent Interview, both Cassie and Willsin!!! Loved it.

And Willsin, Your description of book covers is so poetic and perfect.

"a cover is a visual blurb. It’s a two-line synopsis in graphics"

I'll be calling on you soon for trailers. Hope you'll have time!

PS. I like Shar's thinking too. Reading is "working" so I'm stealing her excuse too when I slink off on my own for some quiet time with my kindle. =p


Cassie Exline said...

Thanks for stopping by, Katie. Willsin made a great first male interview. It must be his accent.

Janice said...

Interesting except, the three day fast from sex sounds really hard for them.

Cassie Exline said...

It sure does, Janice. Thanks for visiting.

Willsin Rowe said...

Wow. I'm the thorn in a beautiful bunch of roses here! Thank you all for dropping by and especially for commenting.
I, too, am TOTALLY pilfering your working methodology, Shar. You're such a wonderful lateral thinker.
The Lovely Katie™, it was lovely to see you here, too. And trailers, huh? I'll get the juices to work on concepts in preparation!
Janice, you're absolutely right. Three days has never felt so looooong...
And Cassie, of course. It was the nicest whipping I've had in hours. I mean...uh...oh look, something shiny!

Cassie Exline said...

Shiny is good. Thanks for the awesome post, Willsin. Although it's not going anywhere. And soon I'll be sending questions about your cover artist persona. That fascinates me.

Lux Zakari said...

Great interview, Willsin and Cassie. I love the best writing advice you ever had -- so true!

Cassie Exline said...

Lux, so glad you stopped by. Wise words by Willsin. Hmmm now that's a blog name if ever I heard of one.