Sarah Madison Interview
Posted by gaylistbookreviews
We have the great honor of having the talented Sarah Madison join us today. She has agreed to answer some of our questions and give us some insights into her stories. We loved The Boys of Summer and if you’s like to check out our review you can click here.
Let’s welcome her with open arms and coffee mugs raised.
1. What drew you into writing? Gay romance?
I’ve been telling stories as long as I can remember. I used to keep a grubby spiral notebook in which I jotted down installments of a serial about young horse-crazy girls who solved mysteries. It was a big hit among my eighth grade friends, let me tell you! There was a waiting list. 🙂
All through high school I wrote fanfic with a friend of mine, though neither of us knew that’s what it was called. We were just passionate about our show and we wanted to have more adventures in that universe. When I graduated from high school, however, I decided it was time to grow up. I put away writing as a childish endeavor and shut the door on all creativity, too, concentrating solely on my career. Fast forward a decade or so, and I discovered not only a new show to love, but online archives of fanfiction. I was in heaven! I mainlined everything in my fandom and then tentatively began writing on my own.
What drew me into slash (and then into gay romance) initially was the pairing that I fell in love with.
What hooked me was the feeling that for the first time in my life, I’d found romantic fiction I could
identify with. Adult romance. Without the hearts and flowers. Plot-driven, often dirty, sometimes
bloody, always with the main characters meeting as equals. You know what else I love about gay
romances? As someone who has been bullied and has always been on the outside of any ‘inner circle’,
I understand what it is like to have to build your own family and to find acceptance by non-traditional
means. Though I might branch out into other genres, gay romance will always be my first, greatest love.
Oh dear. 🙂 It’s a little known short heterosexual short story I wrote to a prompt that called for a one-night stand with a thinly-disguised celebrity. I think maybe three people have read it. It’s called Snowbound and is available on Ravenous Romance and Amazon. I’ve never actually seen a single dime in royalties from it.
3. What is your favorite part of the publishing process? Least favorite?
My least favorite part is the promotion. I love interacting with readers. I enjoy writing blog posts. But I hate this feeling that I’m tooting my own horn and trying to get people to notice my works. I’d love it if I could just write and not worry about whether my stories sold or not, but I’m sort of counting on them to help pay the bills.
4. What are your favorite books? Who are your favorite authors?
Funnily enough, I read mostly mysteries and sci-fi. I love the classics of the Golden Age of Mystery: Dorothy Sayers, Josephine Tey, Agatha Christie. Those ladies knew how to tell a thumping good story! I also love hard science fiction of the likes of Eric Flint, David Weber, and Elizabeth Moon. Give me a strong female protagonist and I’m all over that. Which is why it amuses me that I write gay romance.
5. What is your writing method? Quiet? Music? Coffee? Laptop/Desktop/Pen and Paper? Do you write at a desk? Table? Couch? Bed?
It has to be quiet. I listen to music when I’m brainstorming (usually out at the barn or driving to work) but not when I’m actually writing. I write mostly at the laptop these days at my kitchen table. I’m giddy with glee at the moment because my long-suffering boyfriend got me a replacement battery for my elderly laptop and now, for the first time in 3 years, I’m no longer tethered to an electrical outlet. 🙂
6. Do you believe in the supernatural? Paranormal? Ghosts? Vampires? Shifters? Really exist?
Oooooh. This is a complicated question! I believe in some paranormal events. I believe in the ability of some people to tap into their inner sensitivities and see and hear things on a plane most of us are too busy to perceive. So I believe in some forms of ESP and precognition. As a former actress, I can tell you that buildings definitely hold the impression of strong emotions—I think that’s why so many theaters have a reputation for being haunted. I don’t believe in shifters or vampires, which is why I can write about them without fear. I am terrified of zombies—not because I believe they exist in the form that we know them—but because I think they are a metaphor for the pandemic illness that we are overdue for. Antibiotic resistance, another world-wide flu epidemic… zombies scare the snot out of me.
7. If you could partner with any other author to write a book(s) who would you want?
Oh! I’ve been asked this before, and my initial reaction is to clap my hands with glee and start naming names—but I suspect I would be totally intimidated by writing with someone else. I wrote several fandom stories with a good friend and we had a blast, but that was fandom.
8. What do you think is the sexiest part of the male body?
Well, you asked… that little dimple below the hipbones. The dark line of hair that trails down the abdomen and points like airstrip landing lights at the cock. The cock itself, erect and proudly jutting out of that thatch of hair. A cute little tight rear end—like a firm peach—that comes from playing sports. Abs. Biceps. Calves. I like a man who is athletic without being muscle bound. A track star versus a football player, if you will.
9. What do you do when you can’t write? Hobby?
I love hiking in the woods with my dog. In addition to being extremely conducive to brainstorming, spending some time in the woods each week is vital to my sanity and mental health. I used to compete in the horse sport known as eventing, but I recently had to retire my mare from competition due to arthritis in her hocks. I still ride, just not competitively.
I love photography, too, even though I only have a dinky little point-and-shoot camera. If you frequent my website, you’ll see lots of photographs! Mostly of dogs, cats, and horses, though!
I think it is important to get out and experience life in order to be able to write about it with clarity and passion.
10. Do you read your reviews? What do you do if you get a bad review? Do you think that authors should respond to reviews?
Ugh! Another tough question! 🙂 Reviews are like a good drug gone bad, to paraphrase actor Gayle Howard (Queer As Folk). When they are good, you can’t get enough. When they are bad, you wish it would stop but you can’t help but check it out anyway.
I’ve grown a thicker skin with time. In the beginning, I let some less-than-enthusiastic reviews completely derail plans for sequels. The problem with original fiction compared to fanfiction is that your audience is not necessarily predisposed to like your story and because there are far fewer reviews as well, one negative review has the power to negate twenty stellar reviews—at least it does in my case!
Over time, however, I’ve learned that I can’t please everyone. In fact, if I listened to the critiques of some reviewers, I would be writing a story I couldn’t stand. When I start feeling down about reviews, I read the reviews of some of my favorite novels—and I realize that not everyone gets what I am attempting to do, or understands why I like something they hate. That ‘s what makes me clap my hands with glee and hug a positive review to my chest when someone does get what I’m trying to do. That makes it all worth it.
11. Have you ever written anything autobiographical?
I have this saying: everything is grist for the mill. Even when I am in the middle of a terrible life trauma, a part of my mind is thinking, “That will make a great story some day.” I seldom use anything straight out of my life though—it is transmuted and altered so that only someone with an ‘in’ would recognize the background.
12. Neat freak? Or clutter monkey?
Ugh. A clutter monkey who would like to be neater. I prefer things to be neat and tidy, but I’m a busy person with a lot of animals. That means I tend to walk in the door and lay things down in a pile, where they stay, perfectly filed in my memory, until I need them again.
13. Social media is super helpful? Social media is evil? It depends on the day?
Social media is a necessary evil. It’s how things are done these days. It is a vital part of making connections and getting your name out there. But I used to get a lot more writing done before I got sucked into all the media outlets. George Takei and LOL Cats have a lot to answer for. 🙂
That’s the glib answer, but the reality of it is that I can recall a time when I walked the dog without checking my messages and when I chose to spend my free time at the barn instead of online. I think that social media is terribly addictive for me and that I would be far more productive if I just shut up and wrote my stories.
14. Do you remember your dreams? Have you ever used any of them in a story?
I have the most terrifying, Technicolor dreams as a rule. At least, the ones I remember. They are incredibly vivid—like watching short movies. If they are too scary, I have the ability to wake up, go back to sleep, and change the ending.
I recently dreamt a scene in which one main character said to the other, “You should be dead.” My second character answered, “I know.” I went on to write a sort-of zombie fanfic story that made me extremely uncomfortable the entire time I was writing it, but me being me, it turned out HEA in the end.
I really believe in the HEA ending. No matter how hard I whump my characters, I’m mostly likely going to give them their HEA in the end. Why? Because real life often sucks. And at the end of a hard day, I want to read (and write) something that makes me smile.
15. What is your favorite color?
Green. The color of moss, and of early spring leaves, and of sage, and the deep, pine-scented green of firs, and the aquamarine of the ocean with the sunlight pouring through a cresting wave.
16. You walk into a bar, saddle up and order….?
Whiskey sour with Crown Royal. Or maybe a Tequila Sunrise if I am feeling festive. I won’t turn down a nice glass of red wine, either.
17. What book are you currently reading or reading next?
I am between books at the moment. I just finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets last night though. The Hobbit is on my nightstand, in anticipation of the movie release.
18. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go? How long would you stay?
I have traveled very little in my life. Last Christmas, the boyfriend took me to the UK to meet his family and it was like coming home to a place I’d never known I was missing. I could wax on ad nauseum about the magical week I spent in the UK. A week was simply not enough. I’d go back in a heartbeat. I want to see Yorkshire, and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. When I’m done with the UK, I’d go to Australia and New Zealand next, then Egypt and Greece. But there would have to be some pretty significant life changes to allow that. I’ve always said that having animals gave me pleasure all year round whereas travel would only grant me joy for a couple of weeks out of each year. I made that choice a long time ago. In my ideal world, I’d make enough money writing that more travel would be an option. The week I spent in the UK last Christmas was one of the best weeks of my entire life.
19. Do you watch television? Do you have a favorite show? Favorite actor?
I do, but very little. I just don’t have the time—not if I want to write on a regular basis. At the moment, I mostly watch crime dramas and sci-fi: Major Crimes, Castle, Agents of S.H.E.L.D., Almost Human, BBC Sherlock. I don’t have television at the house. My boyfriend records a lot of programs I never get around to watching.
I’d kill for another Star Trek or Stargate series, though. All of my die-hard fandoms have been sci-fi. Give me a disillusioned, rough-around-edges hero with a gun and I’m all over that.
20. What music do you listen to? Do you have a playlist when you write? Do you have a playlist for The Boys of Summer you would be willing to share with us?
I sing, so I often prefer female vocalists, but I’m a big fan of Darren Hayes, The Bare Naked Ladies, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, you name it. I listen to a lot of Joan Osborne, Eva Cassidy, Anna Nallick, and others. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I practically stopped listening to commercial radio after 9/11. I just could not bear the “us against them” rhetoric I was hearing. I retreated into my small library of songs and listened to them over and over again.
It took the musical genius of a friend of mine, who began making playlists to some of my stories, to get me listening to music out of my comfort zone again. And she was so brilliant at pairing songs with my stories that she could have won an Oscar for her ‘soundtracks.”
That’s a hard act to follow. I listen to her playlists repetitively—to the exclusion of almost everything else. I wish I could say I had a playlist for The Boys of Summer, but my friend’s health hasn’t permitted that lately. I do have a playlist she created for my FBI story Unspeakable Words—and I am currently listening to it daily as I write the sequel, Walk a Mile. Here is the playlist for Unspeakable Words. Truly, it is like hearing a soundtrack to a movie, the songs fit the story so well.
01 – Bad Day – Daniel Powter
02 – Beautiful Dangerous (instrumental) – Slash
03 – Policy of Truth – Depeche Mode
04 – I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
05 – Book of love – Peter Gabriel
06 – Driving with the Top down – Ramin Djawadi
07 – Crazy – Seal
08 – Set down your Glass – Snow Patrol
09 – Wicked game – Chris Isaak
10 – Heart and Soul – “Flynn”
11 – Linus and Lucy – “Fynn”
12 – Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini – “Parker”
13 – Cat Heaven – Jets to Brazil
14 – All the Pictures on the Wall – Paul Weller
15 – You’re so Vain – Carly Simon
16 – Art for Art’s Sake – 10 CC
17 – Prayer for the Dying – Seal
18 – I Will Find You – Clannad
19 – True Colours – Eva Cassidy
20 – Brighter Than Sunshine – Aqualung
If you ‘d like to talk some more you can find me at Sarah Madison Fiction: Hot Men in Hot Water; Twitter; Facebook or even email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I love hearing from readers!
Thank you so much for hosting me—it’s been a blast!