Please join us in welcoming author Hank Edwards today, on the Countdown to GayRomLit 2016 blog tour.
Most authors are asked “What’s your genre?” at least once during their publishing career. And most authors are able to point to one specific category of gay romance: contemporary, paranormal, crime/suspense, historical, rom-com, etc. As an avid reader myself, it’s important to know what you’re getting into when you buy a book and step into its world. As an author, however, sometimes it’s fun to step outside of your comfort zone.
Now, many of you reading this blog might not know who I am nor what I’ve written. And that’s most likely my own fault. I tend to follow the whims of my muse and write what I feel like writing rather than sticking to one particular genre which would perhaps provide greater name recognition.
So, allow me to introduce myself. I am a gay man who lives in a small, mostly liberal neighborhood just over the northern border of Detroit, also known as Eight Mile (or “8 Mile” if you’re an Eminem fan). I started writing way, way back in the late 90s, early 2000s before there was a Kindle and Amazon was only selling books and office supplies. I began selling gay erotic short stories to men’s magazines like Bear, 100% Beef, Torso, and Honcho. I earned about $150 a story and thought I was making bank.
During this time period, I came up with the idea of writing a number of interconnected stories that would follow the adventures of Charlie Heggensford, a clumsy fluffer for hire out in Los Angeles. I wrote the stories and tried to sell them to my usual magazines, thinking it would be like that classic starting point of great gay fiction in the vein of “Tales of the City,” which began as a recurring serial article in a San Francisco paper. Alas, no magazines were interested and my then partner-now husband said, “Why don’t you publish it as a book?”
I put the stories together, updated them to make sure they flowed together, and sent it off to Alyson Publishing with the title “Fluffers, Inc.” A couple of months later, I had signed a contract and was working on a sequel, and then another. The book came out around the same time as a movie titled “The Fluffer” which was pretty much a big fat downer, quite the opposite of my slapsticky, heavily erotic novel with a sort of happy ending. Crappy timing for sure.
Sales weren’t what the publisher had hoped, however, and the two sequels I’d written never saw the light of day. So the book lingered on, with no Facebook to easily promote it, no Twitter to use to tweet about it. It just sat.
Just after that time period, I changed day jobs and worked a hectic schedule which didn’t leave a lot of time for writing. My father also had a stroke, and I was helping out my mother quite a bit with his care at their home.
In 2008, five years after “Fluffers, Inc.” was published and with no new stories written, I received an email from Steve Berman at Lethe Press who was interested in picking up the book once the contract ended at Alyson. I jumped at the chance and told him about the two sequels I’d written which he acquired as well.
Charlie lived again. And now with two more books!
More books have followed since I published Charlie, and they cover a diverse range of genres. My crime/suspense Up to Trouble series came along first with the novella Holed Up, followed a few years later by Shacked Up and then Roughed Up. I hope to have the fourth book, Choked Up, available in the third quarter of this year. I also wrote the historical romance Destiny’s Bastard, as well as a romantic comedy, Plus Ones, and a mob/historical novella titled Hired Muscle.
I have always loved to read horror and supernatural stories, so it was only a matter of time before I wrote for that genre myself, and now have a long list of spooky books to my name. The horror/paranormal/western gay romance Venom Valley Series includes three books: Cowboys & Vampires, Stakes & Spurs, and Blood & Stone. There’s also the stand alone story Wicked Reflection, as well as the humorous paranormal Critter Catchers series which I’m still actively writing and has three books to date: Terror By Moonlight, Chasing the Chupacabra, and the upcoming Swamped by Fear. If you like to laugh and be scared a bit, I think you’ll enjoy getting to know Demetrious and Cody.