Author Interview with Wendy Rathbone (The Fantastic Immortals series)

Wendy Rathbone

Q1. Hello, Wendy, and welcome to my blog! Tell us a little bit about yourself. How and when did you start writing?

I started writing poetry and short stories around age thirteen. I loved to write about star travel, ghosts, and Halloween.

I actually got a degree in Lit/Writing from UCSD, which was a lot of fun.  Many of my Sci-Fi and Fantasy stories and poems were published all through the nineties in anthologies and magazines. I don’t write short stories as much anymore since I moved on to m/m romance in 2012.

My love for M/M romance began with Fanfic when I was 18 (which I wrote and read voraciously in the fandoms of Star Trek, Blake’s 7, Wiseguy and others under the pen name Natasha Solten). Back then, sexy Fanfic with two guys falling in love was called Slashfic. Original fiction along those lines wasn’t called M/M Romance. There wasn’t really a category for it. You could read either mainstream Anne Rice about male vampires falling in love with each other, or gay porn. There weren’t categories in between… Or at all. Just erotica here and there. No one called it Romance.

I started writing M/M Romance in 2012 when I finally discovered it was finally an actual genre. I was delighted. I’d been wanting to write original novels of this type forever, but there was never a market for it until the 21st century.

Now, everything I write is M/M Romance or gay Lit/Erotica.

Q2. A world without the M/M genre? That is not for me! Anyway, tell us who are your favorite authors and do you think they’ve influenced your work?

Different authors became favorites at different phases of my life. But if I pared it down to a few I would have to include Ray Bradbury, Alice Hoffman, Anais Nin (her diaries and erotica) and Anne Rice. I am definitely influenced by what I read and each of these authors does beautiful prose that inspires me whenever I read them. They have all taught me you can use beautiful words and poetic phrases without losing your reader. My writing used to be more spare. They taught me how to be more lush.

Q3. What are your biggest achievements? You can include professional and personal ones.

I have had many awards nominations in the Science Fiction and Fantasy field, but the biggest was winning 2nd place in the Writers of the Future contest. It was decent money and publication, along with an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. for a week-long writer’s workshop and awards ceremony. All the authors who win are treated like stars.

Just this past year, one of my poems was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. My poetry doesn’t pay much, but it has won chapbook awards, contests, etc.

In the genre of M/M Romance, I’m still getting my feet. I went into it as a nobody, and no one cared about my awards and my writing past. They just want a good romance, and an author they can trust to give them that. I tend to write more Fantasy/Sci-Fi (The Foundling Trilogy is my only Contemporary Romance), and readers can be slow to take a chance on genres, especially Sci-Fi.

My biggest pro achievement in M/M Romance is my Dreamspinner novel, The Android and the Thief. I usually indie-pub, but I wanted to test the market to see if I could also sell to a publisher. I submitted the book to Dreamspinner and four weeks later they accepted it. That was huge for me. It came out April 2017 and has gotten a lot of great reviews. But I love indie-publishing, so I’m not going to give that up.

Q4. I’ve already reviewed your novel Ganymede: Abducted by the Gods, but how about you tell the readers what it’s about and what inspired it?

The original story of Ganymede is one of the most homoerotic of the Greek myths. He is the son of a king of the small city of Tros (Troy) and he catches the eye of the god Zeus because he is so exotically beautiful. Zeus decides to abduct Ganymede and take him to Olympus to be his cup-bearer and bed-warmer. The myth has been depicted in all different ways in sculpture, painting, etc. Some show a young man, some a boy, but in all of them you cannot deny that Zeus took Ganymede in order to seduce him. Ganymede is the only mortal human that Zeus ever granted the gift of immortality to. Zeus loved him so much, he gave him a constellation of his own and re-named him Aquarius.

That general story had been knocking about in my mind for a few years. I have a fondness for captive/abduction themes both as a reader and author. I knew I wanted to write a story about my fantasy of what Ganymede might have gone through, all his emotions and thoughts about being taken against his will. But it took me awhile to grasp it, and to realize that Zeus was not to be the love of his life, but another immortal would be The One. The world-building in the novel surprised me by taking on a future tech tone, and the gods are actually immortal aliens with amazing star travel abilities. Even with all of that, it’s much more of a Fantasy Romance than Science Fiction with a bit of a Bronze Age historical setting at the beginning.

Q5. What are you working on right now and what can we expect from you in the future?

The story of Ganymede opened the floodgates to a universe of immortals and their stories. So his became the first in a series of stand-alone books called The Fantastic Immortals Series. I just finished Zeus: Heir to the Gods (that title may change) which covers the story of Zeus as he turns eighteen and learns what it is like to be a god, to fall in love for the first time, and to be forced to face his insane father (a Titan god) who wants to destroy him. Zeus will be out in early 2018. The next in the series will be a novel about Eros as a younger god. I have just started writing that one.

Q6. Who is your biggest supporter and what would you like to say to them?

My biggest supporter is my significant other of thirty-seven years, Della Van Hise. She has helped me with editing, covers and putting my books on Amazon. Without her, I would be in the dark. Another big supporter is my great beta-reader Christina E. Pilz. She is also a wonderful M/M author. And Sadie Sins, who did the amazing cover for Ganymede, has taught me so much. She is also an excellent M/M author. There are no words to adequately convey how grateful I am to all of them for their help.

Q7. If you could give other authors one piece of advice, be it about writing, editing, promoting or increasing their audience, what would it be?

On writing: simply finish what you start. Let the muse take over. Let yourself relax and play. Write what you love to write and let yourself have fun. Also, try to write something every day even if only one sentence. The reason I say that is if you can manage one sentence (which is not an overwhelming demand) it will almost always lead you to another and then another. Suddenly you have a page! Then a scene, a chapter, and finally, a book. So, my best advice is: finish what you start. And don’t forget to have fun!

Q8. Thank you for giving me this interview, Wendy! Before we part, tell us: where can people connect with you online?

Thank you for having me! People can find me/friend me on Facebook, and follow my blog. I also have a newsletter they can sign up for and which informs subscribers of sales, freebies and new books. If you sign up for the newsletter you will get a free copy of Letters to an Android (a M/M Sci-Fi Romance).



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