Hey there. I’m Xen Sanders, and thank you for joining me for the release of Shatterproof! (I will have you know that exclamation point was under duress. Grr. I am grrr and dour and deadpan man-thing. Really.)
I’m immensely grateful that some of my favorite blogs have opened their doors and given me an opportunity to talk about a book that means so much to me, and that comes from so much personal experience. Stick around to chat, ask questions, and join in the discussion for a chance to win a $30 Riptide gift card and a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card! (@*$%!#ing exclamation points…)
Let’s talk writing style—how did you develop yours? Was any literary figure of particular influence?
It’s honestly hard to say, because I’ve gone through so many evolutions of how I write that it’s difficult to point at any one particular influence. I know I absorbed a love for darkly decadent, lyrical writing from Poppy Z. Brite, an addiction to slow-moving, tensely interwoven character stories from Anne Rice, an adoration for staccato beats from Stephen King, an appreciation of ethereal, haunting phrasing from Diane Duane. Those influences probably make me old-fashioned, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t continued to read and learn from newer, more contemporary authors who continuously take the craft to the next level and find new ways to express themselves and their stories. Those authors were just among the many I absorbed early on.
One thing that does flavor my writing in a certain way, though, is the influence of other spoken languages – whether it’s the looser styles of lyricism from New Orleans Creole and Haitian Kreyole and AAVE, or the adaptation of the subtle visual aesthetic inherent in Chinese and Japanese, when hanzi / kanji evolved from pictographs and each contributes to the visual impression and expression of a story told in those languages. I bring those influences and communications styles into my English-language writing, as I try to capture concepts, emotions, and images that often feel like writing music without sound in words that have no translation.
And of course, there was the learning curve of writing my first book some ten years ago, getting rejections, learning from them, trying again, etc. Some agent and editor rejections steered me toward experimenting with things that have remained a vital part of my writing to this day. Some sent me down the wrong path, and instilled habits that had to be un-learned. There was also the time I spent as an editor, which taught me to be a smarter author and caught me out on a few of my own tics and problem areas. So really, that development has been a long process of evolution influenced and nudged by many factors, all of which led me here.
About the Book
Saint’s afraid to die. Grey can’t stand to live.
Grey Jean-Marcelin wants to die. He thought painting his passion—vivid portrayals of Haitian life and vodou faith—would be enough to anchor him to this world. But it isn’t. And when the mysterious man known only as Saint saves Grey from a suicide attempt, it’s more curse than blessing—until Grey discovers that Saint isn’t just an EMT. He’s a banished fae, and can only survive by draining the lives of those he loves.
All Saint needed was a simple bargain: one life willingly given for another. But as Saint’s feelings for Grey grow deeper, centuries of guilt leave him desperate to save a man who doesn’t want salvation, even if Grey’s life means Saint’s death.
When Grey’s depression consumes him, only he can decide if living is worth the struggle. Yet his choice may come too late to save his life . . . or Saint’s soul. And whatever choice he makes, it may shatter them both.
Buy the Book: Riptide Publishing
About the Author
Xen Sanders is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing somewhere in the metropolitan wilds of the American Midwest. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant and business writer, and his nights writing genre-bending science fiction and fantasy tinged with a touch of horror and flavored by the influences of his multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual background—when he’s not being tackled by two hyperactive cats. He wavers between calling himself bisexual and calling himself queer, but no matter what word he uses, he’s a staunch advocate of LGBTQIA representation and visibility in genre fiction.
He also writes contemporary romance and erotica as Cole McCade. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can generally find him in these usual haunts:
He’s recently launched the Speak Project, an online open-access platform where anyone can anonymously or openly share or read stories of abuse—a way for survivors to overcome the silencing tactics of abusers to speak out against what was done to them, and let other survivors know they’re not alone.
He also runs an advice column called Dammit, Cole, where he occasionally answers questions about everything from romance and dating to the culture of hypermasculinity, from the perspective of a male romance author.
Looking for more? You can get early access to cover reveals, blurbs, contests, and other exclusives by joining the McCade’s Marauders street team.
To celebrate the release of Shatterproof, one lucky winner will receive $30 Riptide Credit and a $25 gift card to B&N or Amazon. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 10, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!