Monday, February 22, 2010

Author Interview ~ DC Juris

Hey, y’all, today we have a sweetheart of an author on the couch with us. DC Juris is hangin’ out with us all day. Let’s all make him feel comfortable and welcome.

Welcome, DC, and thanks for stopping in and hangin’ out with us today. Make yourself at home, or make one of the cabana boys make you a drink of your choice. :-D and let’s get started:Where are you from?

I was born in Bartow, Florida, but I grew up in Lakeland, Florida, a little town in the middle of the state. Lakeland's an odd place – the northern end is mostly agriculture, the middle is retail, and the southside…Well, let's just say – the southside is interesting. ::wink::

LOL, yup sounds very interesting. Why don’t you tell us your latest news?

Well, when I first answered I couldn’t go into details yet, I’d received news just this week that another one of my short stories has been accepted for publication!

Since then my story "Even Guys Cry" is included in "I Do, Two" from MLR Press, available as of 2/14/10; my story "Cupid Knows" is included in Shot Through The Heart from Torquere Press, available as of 2/17/10; my story "Actions Speak Louder" is included in the Silence Toy Box from Torquere Press, available as of 2/17/10! a little teaser.... I have my first single author work coming out soon!!! :-)

Boy, you really are a bit of a teaser aren’t ya? You’ll have to keep us updated as to your release dates. When and why did you begin writing?

There's no "why" for me. Writing is a compulsion, like breathing. I don't know how not to do it. I wrote my first story when I was four – I still have it. It was about a turkey, a boy, and a balloon. LOL I wrote my first "book" in junior high for a school project. I even "hired" another classmate to do the cover art and some illustrations. As I recall, I paid him in Blow Pop lollypops. The book was about a girl, two horses and the Gold Rush. I think my mother has that one!

I think I feel the same way, and most authors I interview say the same thing. It became quite a bit like breathing and that was it. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I've always been a writer. As far back as I can remember. Well, briefly I did want to be a school bus driver…

Me, too, except mine was a dancer, and I actually detoured for that for awhile. What inspired you to write your first book?

That's a tough question. I don't really get inspiration, like a lot of people do. Things just pop into my head and I write them down.

Well, in my opinion that’s inspiration as well. And that can manifest in a story from seeing a dog walk down the street. Yanno? Do you have a specific writing style?

I guess I have a rather casual writing style. I tend to write down to earth characters and I try to make them as real as possible. I use slang a lot in my writing; my characters cuss, they get tongue tied, they screw up and say stupid things.

I have to say that I love down to earth characters who cuss and such. How did you come up with the title?

I suck at titles. I really, really have to work at them, and nine times out of ten, my husband comes up with them.

Yes, I suck at titles as well, I have no idea what to call them and if it doesn’t look stupid. :::shrugs::: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The message of all of my work is understanding and acceptance. My characters tend to be outside of the "mainstream" of society, so I'd like to think that they can teach people that things like gender, race, orientation, and religion are all just details that don't matter in the big picture.

A great message to try and get across. How much of the book is realistic?

Most of my characters carry some sort of trait from either myself or someone I know.

Well, that makes sense if you ask me. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

A lot of what my characters deal with are things that I've dealt with.

That is a case of writing what you know, so looks like that’s what you did. :-D If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Aleksandr Voinov, definitely. Other writers, in general, scare the hell out of me, and therefore I tend to hide in my little shell and not interact with them writing-wise. Alex was the first writer to approach me on a professional level and offer help, and I've really learned an enormous amount from him. He's an absolute darling to work with, and I adore him.

Sounds interesting. What book are you reading now?

"A Perfect Game" by Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine, and I'm also beta reading some stuff for a couple other authors that – let me just say – is going to rock very hard when it's published.

Even more interesting. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I'm new myself, but I'll read anybody's stuff. Honestly.

My kind of reader! What are your current projects?

Right now I'm working on four short stories, all of which I hope to finish by the end of the month. Then I'm tackling a re-write of something I wrote over the last few years. That one will be novel length.

Sounds like you’ll be kept busy. Do you see writing as a career?

Good lord, no. Writing is much, much too fun and interesting to be anything remotely like work.

LOL, that’s one way to look at it. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Writing from the female POV just gives me fits.

LOL… I think it’s just the female perspective that gives most of us fits. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Wow. Way to put a guy on the spot, eh? Honestly, though, Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine. I adore everything they've written. They write very believable, likeable characters. Their writing is very strong, polished, and very seamless. You can't tell where one writing voice ends and the other begins. I really hate when I pick up a book written by more than one author, and I can just tell who wrote which portions. That's so unfortunate because it really detracts from the message of the story.

Yeah, I imagine would be very irritating. Who designed the covers?

So far all of my covers have been designed by the publishing houses, since I'm in anthologies. I'd love to have a cover designed by Zathyn Priest, though. He does excellent work.

Hmm… will have to keep an eye out. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read a lot. Get an ebook reader of some sort, and buy a crap load of ebooks by all different authors, in all different genres – even genres you don't really care for. There's nothing like reading something you don't like to teach you what not to do in your own writing. Write everything that comes into your head and keep it all. Never delete anything. Beta read for someone whose writing style is different than yours.

Excellent advice. How long does it take you to write a book?

Depends on the length. My short stories usually stay under 10K, and I can bang two or three of those out in a month. I tend to write for submission call deadlines, so I'm pretty good at getting stuff done quickly.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

Oh, I wake in the morning and do nothing but create all day long. HA! Wouldn't that be a dream? I do have an evil day job which takes up around 50 hours of my week. Thankfully, my boss is very understanding and does allow me to take time out from my workday to write. Otherwise, I snag time to write whenever I can. I have strategically placed notepads and pencils all over the house, in the cars, etc. I try to spend most of my weekends writing when I can.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I talk to my characters when I write. And I refer to myself as "we" when I talk about my writing. "We just finished such and such." Or "what are we going to do with this?"

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

"Not writing"? What is this strange situation you speak of? Seriously, though – I'm fond of computer games and I have a bit of an amateur photography habit.

What does your family think of your writing?

My sister loves my stuff. My husband isn't so wild about the m/m stuff, but he's extremely supportive and adores me, so that counts. Otherwise…lets just say the rest of my family has bigger reasons to dislike me than my writing. ::wink::

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I don't, but I'd love to!

What do you think makes a good story?

Solid characters with believable emotions and reactions. I'm really not picky about much else – genre, setting, etc. Put them on a boat or a train or wherever – as long as I can like them and root for them, I'm happy.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

With the exception of my kindergarten year, during which I was convinced I wanted to be a school bus driver, I've always wanted to be a writer. Period. Nothing else interested me.

And now for our “absolutely-nothing-to-do-with-writing” questions: What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

For convenience, I suppose cats, although most cats hate me. For loyalty, nothing can beat a Miniature Pinscher. I've had two so far and I have to say they are the most loyal, intelligent, emotional animals I've ever owned. They have this pack mentality and they include their humans in that pack. They want to be involved in everything that you're doing. They have such personality and such emotive little faces. Balls of fire on furry feet!

Do you hate how you look in pictures? Why or why not?

Depends. If I'm aware of the picture, it usually turns out good. If I'm not, I sometimes look a little more feminine than I'd like. What I see never really matches what's in my head.

Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)?

My handwriting is a funky mix of cursive and printing, and it tends to be large and flamboyant. Go figure.

What is your strangest habit?

I chew the caps of my usb jump drives. Well, I used to, until I nearly choked on one. Now all my jump drives are flip out ones. :-/

You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

That would be my entire childhood.

What were you doing at midnight last night?

Writing, of course.

What’s a saying you use a lot? Where did it originate from ?

There are several, but my current favorite is "ass hat" – I heard it somewhere and it stuck and I say it way more than I should. Oh, and "Jesus Christ on a pancake." I have literally no idea where that came from, but I have a character who says it a lot.

Have you ever eaten a crayon?

I have not. I have eaten Play Dough, though.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

That would be Kibbles N Bits dog food. I was six and it smelled good. 

What is your favorite animal?

My baby girl Ginger. She was brought to the vet clinic where I work in 2005 by an SPCA officer who had found her abandoned down by the dike – she'd been beaten and nearly starved to death. She weighed 4 pounds and had five teeth left; her intestines weren't where they were supposed to be – she was just a mess. We figured she'd been a breeder dog that someone had thrown out. One doctor wanted to euthanize her, but I begged the surgeon to try and fix her. It was just one of those magical moments – this little dog looked at me, and I looked at her – and I knew she wasn't done. My husband came to the clinic a few days later and took one look at her and said "Well, hello little Ginger girl," because of her muzzle color. I knew she was meant for me at that point. She lived another 4 years – she had herniated discs in her back and neck, arthritis everywhere, massive heart failure, hip, knee, and elbow joint issues – but none of that stopped her. She had two settings: GO and sleep. LOL She was an amazing little animal who just really taught every human she met about living life to the fullest and never giving up. 

What is your heritage?

My mother's family is Scottish all the way back to Scotland. There's some Spanish in there from my dad's side, and a rumor of Native American, but no one has been able to prove that, unfortunately.

Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

"Sommersby." I got through the entire thing, and then at the end, when they pan out and show the grave yard, and it just hits that he died for so much, but so little… Damn.

What is your favorite pizza?

To my husband's dismay, it's pepperoni, pineapple, bell pepper, sweet Italian sausage, tomato, broccoli, and extra cheese.

Are you a morning person or a night person?

Night, definitely.

Do you like thunderstorms?

I do. Growing up in Florida, you'd think I wouldn't but I really do enjoy them. Such an awesome display of nature's power.

Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

I absolutely can, and I therefore have no idea why anyone with working taste buds would so much as sip a Coke. Blech!

If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

GLBT equality. It's very difficult to have your life dictated to you – what you can and can't do – by a group of people who don't understand your struggle. Love isn't about gender or orientation, it's much, much deeper than that. Love transcends everything, and we as a society should respect that. I'm a bisexual transgender man married to a straight man, but beneath all that – I'm just a person. We're all just people. Period. It's time we treated each other as such, instead of treating each other like labels.

Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. It’s been great fun getting to know you. Go ahead and hang out with us today… the Cabana Boys are here to keep you happy… with drinks, and such. I’ll be in and out but don’t worry, we’ll be here. Have fun. :-D

An out and proud bisexual transgender man, DC Juris moved to New York State in 2001 for a real-life romance. By day he is a mild-mannered office manager, by night a passionate writer of all types of romance. He lives in Upstate New York with his husband, two dogs, four cats, and a menagerie of Halloween props just creepy enough to keep people guessing about his sanity. Which is just the way he likes it. Still hopelessly single when it comes to the woman in his life, DC will gladly entertain offers, or applications for the position.

When he's not writing down what his characters tell him, DC can be found surfing the internet for random research (DC would like to remind everyone that porn *is* research for him!), killing things on his Xbox, reading, or taking pictures of the world around him.

You can reach DC online at:

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Aleksandr Voinov said...

Mentor? That sounds so... responsible. :) No, you're great to work with and I'm very happy for you. You're on a roll, boy. :)

dcjuris said...

::muah:: Love you, Alex!

Kealie Shay said...

LOL, Aleksandr, you sound so ... horrified by the "r" word. Glad you could stop by.

Aleksandr Voinov said...

@Kealie: It sounds so grown-up. Upstanding citizen and all those weird things. But I'm pleased as punch. Saw this crop up in a Google Alert and went like "whut?" :)

Kealie Shay said...

*snicker* @Aleksandr... I can just imagine your horror at the use of the word mentor. Did you do a double-take over your shoulder? "Who ME?" Glad you found out little blog, we have lots of fun here... probably more than we should most days. :-D