When I decided to start doing interviews as one of the Tuesday Teases options, I didn't really know who I would be my first vict… er, guest. The stars aligned and I am really happy to introduce you to fellow Decadent Publishing author, Robert Roman. Since we first talked about doing the interview, I've had the opportunity to chat with him casually a little bit. Let me assure you, if his book is half as funny as he is, it's a must read. Here's a little bit about his novella, Fae Eye for the Golem Guy, taken from the Decadent website:
Micah Slate has lived centuries, his lonely existence dedicated to the protection of art. Then he meets Ophilia Morgan, a young artist who has transformed herself into a living work of art. Micah thinks she'll never give him a second glance, but she has dark secrets of her own. When a greedy socialite uses Micah's museum as the setting for fraud and destruction, he and Ophilia will be thrown together in a night of mayhem.
And without further ado, I give you the comedy stylings of Robert Roman (Just kidding ... sort of...)
I love the title. Give me some insight into how you go about selecting a title.
First, THANKS! Second, it varies for each story, but a big part of it is my love of wordplay. Beyond that, the title often comes sometime near where I find the 'hook' for the story. In the case of Fae Eye for the Golem Guy, I was brainstorming with Dana Marie Bell (Author of The Wallflower and many, many, many other stories, Prolific and Talented, she is) about 'makeover' shows, and our favorite name for a makeover show was 'Queer Eye...', and things went from there. In the case of Road Mage (due out from Decadent August 16th) the title came to me in a flash when I wrote the last line of the story. Between those two extremes of 'Title and Hook at once' and 'Desperately Seeking Title' is the old stand-by, the Shout Out title. Fae Eye has a little of that, but a better example (if you know my love of messed up media and anime) is my current submitted work, a Steampunk short Novella titled 'The Strange Fate of Capricious Jones - OR - Genesis of an Iron Angel'. That one also has an alternate title, something I became enamoured of watching Rocky & Bullwinkle. Finally, when I do sequels, I try to make sure the title of the sequel has something to do with the title of the original. The relationship isn't always obvious, but that's because I love combining bad puns, obscure references, and a large vocabulary.
When did you first start writing seriously? And what was your road to publication like?
My first real writing was during NaNoWriMo 2005. I got some bad writing habits there, but it taught me a lot of good working habits, and I needed those. Now, I've been writing as far back as I can remember, but it was always 'backstory-for-an-RPG-character' or 'bad anime fanfic'. At any rate, I wrote the first 50 KWords of XLI during NaNo 2005, sent it around to some friends, and the general response was 'write the rest!' At that point, I finished the novel, ran it through some beta reading and through Baen's Bar, wherein I got my first taste of a random reader complimenting me. At that point I was hooked. I put a solid polish on the thing and submitted it. I got great feedback from the slush reader, and even got some feedback and a personalized response from the Powers That Be at Baen. At that point things looked great! And then they... stalled. Publishers, Agents, you name it, for about five years I averaged one 'This is great! I love it! It's just not right for me right now.' a month. Wrote more, got better, submitted more, same response. I got a little frustrated, to tell you the truth. By this summer, my SOP (based on a conversation with Michael Swanwick) was 'submit it, assume a glowing rejection in a few months, and get back to writing'. It kept me from getting depressed, y'see. Then, this summer, just before the end of the school year, quite out of the blue, my li'l sis PJ tells me 'Submit to Decadent before July!'. So I do a rewrite and submit on the 30th of June. Lisa at Decadent, with her usual alacrity, fired back a response within the hour that she liked the idea, and before the day was out had made an offer, 'cause she's just super-cool like that.
What made you decide to tackle comedy along with romance? Are you just naturally a funny guy?
When the mood strikes me, yeah. Just about everything I write has some humor to it, although at times it's rather dark. I find a lot of things funny, and some of it translates to things I can show other people are funny. For example, I once had some friends speechless with laughter talking about linoleum.
Funny thing, your story is the second I've known this past year to feature an Ophelia/Ophilia, and it turns out that Myka's middle name on Warehouse 13 is Ophilia (nice coincidence there in both names LOL). Did you plan to be part of helping the name make a comeback?
Actually, the characters were originally Mike and Phil. No, still a girl, but a punk / goth girl named Phil. But everyone has a full name, and during one rewrite I replaced almost all the nicknames with full names and... it worked.
How much research about art did you have to do for the story or did you know a lot about art already?
Let's see... Phil has six tattoos described in the story, if you count the triptych on thighs and back as one. Of those six, I knew the name and artist on two of them, knew the artist on one more, and knew the work I was looking for on one more. The other two I had an idea what I wanted and went looking. I'd love to say I remembered it all from my College Art History class, but a lot of it came from reading the 2Blowhards blog and stuff I linksurfed to from there. I wish I could do art, but visual art is... Let's just say it's Not My Medium.
I see on your website that there's a sequel to Fae Eye for the Golem Guy. Do you know if Decadent plans to publish it as well, and if so, when it might be available?
Lisa has asked about it, so I'm sure she'll at least give it a read. Hopefully she'll like it. Right now I've completed about 10 KWords and it's next in my writing queue, so given that I've got three weeks of vacation coming up, I should have it out for beta reading by the end of August. So, assuming no major interruptions, it could be out as early as late October.
Fae Eye has a heat level of 2, which makes sense since it's a comedy, but do you have any plans for hotter stories? You know, maybe coming to join us on the erotic dark side?
That's an interesting question. The one thing I've been thus far unable to write is graphic erotic scenes. I've written erotic scenes, and graphic (violent) scenes, but the one time I tried graphic erotic the response was, if I remember correctly, "YOU BASTARD! I HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO ORGASM! BASTARD! DIE IN A FIRE!" What's real bad is that I had an experienced erotic romance author look at it, and her response was along the lines of 'All the components are there, and they're in the right order. There's nothing wrong with it, except the effect. By they way, YOU BASTARD!'"
All that said, I do have one novel (Erin's Story) which is an integral part of the series. Sex is an integral part of the novel. So there are plans. I just need to work that skillset a bit. Or maybe market the novel as the worlds first literary prophylactic.
Is there anything (other than what the company won't publish) that you will never write?
Not long ago, I met my muses. There are two of them, and they live in my fevered imagination. They insisted they be writ down. I literally got to the point where I could not sleep because the story was prodding me in the back of the brain. Dana said 'write it out!'. PJ said 'write it out!'. The results, starring said muses, lurk in a folder on a thumb drive labelled 'So Wrong'. In less than 2,000 words, said muses wandered through Blasphemy, Incest, Bestiality, and prose so Purple it ought be used by Behr as a dye. Sort of the literary equivalent of "The Aristocrats". By the way, the story is a Literary Erotic Romance with a Heat Level of around 2. NOTE - I do not mean 'Non-Genre story that contains Romance'. I mean 'A story about literary genres getting it on'. I sent it to half a dozen friends who thought I couldn't possibly write something so warped it should be classified as a weapon. The results: three keyboards nearly ruined by spit-take laughter, two more recipients who didn't get it and were vaguely offended (the two non-fiction-writers, oddly) and one round of suggested edits. Because The Peej is unflappable.
Given that THAT abomination crawled out of my brain, I can say with great confidence that there is nothing I WON'T write, including stuff that can't be published. Some of it I'm not submitting; do I LOOK stupid (don't answer that). But that doesn't mean I won't write it.
Hot or cold?
Black, white, or red?
Brunette, blonde, or redhead?
Tits, ass or legs?
Ass. Or Nose. But mostly Ass.
In the snow or on the beach?
Is there anything else you want to share with readers?
For any of the readers who are aspiring writers, I will say this - get good beta readers. They make all the difference. If it weren't for Dana, PJ, Anne, Dusty, Jon, Rob, and the Ur-Goth, my writing wouldn't be what it is today.
Also, (blatant plug time!) take a few seconds to check out my novella, Fae Eye for the Golem Guy over at Decadent and be on the lookout for Road Mage on the 16th.
Y'know something odd? I think when Road Mage comes out it will be the first entry in the 'Mainstream' section of Decadent's catalog. Cool!
That's great! Thanks for stopping by, Robert, and I wish you the best of luck with all your upcoming releases :)