I am finally back to this column after a big break, but I plan to make it up to you. Because today we have here with us none other than, Mr. Rick R. Reed – the award winning author of more than twenty novels written in M/M genre! His upcoming book from Dreamspinner press named “Raining Men” is a sequel to his bestselling novel “Chaser” and it releases at the end of this month. On behalf of everyone of us, I take the honor of welcoming him on The Blog of Sid Love!
It doesn’t officially start Raining Men until May 31, when the book releases. In the meantime, those who want to get a little wet early, can pre-order here: Raining Men
Bobby was the main antagonist in “Chaser”, what made you think of having him as a protagonist in the sequel?
Bobby was such a bastard in Chaser, wasn’t he? I meant for readers to hate him, to root for his downfall, but I also hoped discerning readers would take a chance and look through Bobby’s good-looking facade and see that, underneath, was a scared man who had never known, really how to find love. Sex, sure, but love was something that was completely elusive and enigmatic for him. This last part was what compelled me to write Bobby’s story, to show how a bad characters can be redeemed. I hope the voyage of self-discovery he takes in Raining Men is one readers will embrace, because I really believe I succeeded in transforming him from a character readers hated to one they will come to love and root for Bobby’s own happy ending.
By the way, the cover art for Raining Men is seriously hot!
Thank you. I totally agree. A big shout-out and kudos to amazing cover artist Anne Cain for that simple, elegant, and oh-so-hot cover.
I could be coy and say you’ll have to read the book to find out, but actually, you do get a glimpse. You will see how Caden and Kevin are living and loving now, and also get to see how Bobby’s attempts to repair how he betrayed Caden in Chaser turn out (hint: it won’t be easy for Caden to forgive him).
You bagged the EPIC ebook award this year too for your novel “Caregiver” and this is the third time, after “Orientation” and “The Blue Moon Cafe” won in the previous years. This is the kind of success which shows how much your fans love you and your work.
Thank you. It’s always an honor to get a validation like an award and I’m very grateful for the recognition. Caregiver really meant a lot because it was such a personal story and I saw the award as more of a tribute to my AIDS-fallen friend, Jim, rather than an award for me.
“Caregiver” was based on quite a sensitive subject. I know most of what is written in the book was what you had experienced with your buddy, Jim. Was there anything else that helped you make this book perfect?
I don’t know if anything I do is perfect, honey. I am still practicing. But I think the love story at the book’s core, between Dan and Sullivan, struck a chord because it celebrates life and showed how hope and love can spring from tragedy, how one person can have a lasting effect on our lives.
You must get a lot of fan-mails and that really is a boost to an author’s motivation. Any memorable ones that you might want to share with us?
Probably the most memorable note I got was from a woman in London regarding CAREGIVER. Her name is Ijeoma Ajibade and she has since become a dear friend, whom I have met in person, but this note came totally out of the blue shortly after Caregiver was published and it really touched my heart:
I wanted to write and thank you for your amazing story. It was just so beautifully written and also appropriate 30 years on from the emergence of HIV and AIDS.
“I am a part time priest in the Diocese of London and an African woman. I am also a community activist on the issue of HIV, and on the issue of LGBT human rights abroad. Part of what I do is try to mobilise churches here in London to respond to HIV both here in the UK and home in Africa. Sometimes it can be an uphill struggle and it is books like Caregiver that encourage me not to give up.
“I loved Caregiver because it recalls the days before anti-retrovirals. It is also a reminder not to take treatment for granted. In the UK today many people have forgotten the eighties and early nineties when people were dying of AIDS here. I think it is important not to forget and to use the pain and loss from the past to continue to respond to HIV and to push for access to treatment for people everywhere.
“There was a particular part in the book at the end where Dan had written to Adam saying that if he had stayed alive a few more years he would have seen the advent of treatment. Whilst I was reading your book the analytical part of me kept saying ‘if only he could have lived a few more years he would have made it.’ I just had a real sense of loss as I read the book. You also touched on a very important issue about the treatment of bereaved gay partners who were often overlooked by their partners families. In all the debates we have today about the decriminalisation of homosexuality and gay marriage you have touched something very important and it is simply about the humanity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. This is something I can hold onto.
“I am not gay, but I am involved in the struggle for lgbt human rights in Africa and elsewhere because of this humanity. This is sometimes a very difficult path to walk as an African woman and as a member of the clergy. Holding on to the humanity of others helps me both to see and act.
“I have so many friends who are alive today because of anti-retrovirals. There are many African women who are alive today because of the early struggles of white gay men. This might seem a controversial statement to make, but its true. African women are often invisible or not heard. We would have found it hard to struggle on our own. We have a lot to thank God for, and we still have much ground to cover and work to do.
“You have told a beautiful story that reminds me that we must not take treatment for granted and that we must never forget those who were lost.”
You are known to be “Forever at work on another novel”. Where do you get so many ideas from?
Oh, that old chestnut of a question! Who knows? Dreams, snatches of conversation, imagining, simply, “what if…” and then filling in the blanks. Ideas come to me all the time and I don’t question from where. I am just grateful that they do. I always have way more notes for books than I will ever have time to write.
And what does Rick R. Reed do when an idea strikes him?
See above. I usually write down a rough sketch of the idea and put it in my “ideas” file. If the idea continues to nag at me, it gets further and further refined. The most pressing ones get turned into books or short stories.
How long does it take for you to finish a novel?
Working daily, I would say 4-5 months for the finished draft. Add in additional time for the editing process once it goes to the publisher.
What are you currently working on?
Finishing up final edits for Raining Men, and bracing myself for the edits to start coming through on my September release, Hungry for Love. I am also working on quality checking audio books of my work as they are produced (right now I am listening to the narrator do IM, my book about a serial killer who preys on gay men via Internet hook-up sites). And I am just at the beginning of a new novel and am not quite ready to share the details for that yet, though I can tell you it will be another m/m romance with a very provocative theme.
Do you have a favorite place where you like to sit while working on your novel? What makes it special?
I am sitting there right now. It’s my home office. Above my iMac is a painting my son, Nicholas, did when he was about six years old of a snowy landscape (I treasure this) and a framed, signed print of two Boston terriers, sitting side by side, gazing at a gorgeous starscape. If I look to my right, I can look down on Seattle’s lovely Lake Union and watch boats drift and seaplanes land and take off. All in all, it’s a pretty inspirational spot.
What does your family think of your writing?
My husband, Bruce is very supportive and so is is my son and his husband. I’m lucky to be part of a big family of gay men! They are all my inspiration and my bedrock.
Many aspiring M/M writer idolize Rick R. Reed, but who do you idolize?
Oh get out! Who idolizes me? Don’t even say that. For a long time, I have been a huge fan of America’s most under-celebrated, yet most lyrical and talented writer, James Purdy; I also deeply admire the work of Flannery O’Connor, Ruth Rendell, Patricia Highsmith, and Stephen King. I have idols in this genre too, but I don’t want to start naming names because I know I’ll leave someone out.
You mostly write in genres like horror, suspense and Romance. Is that your favorite genre to read too?
When I can read for just pleasure, I often am curled up with some psychological suspense or thriller of some sort.
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. It’s the most hilarious, most blackly funny and most brilliant American novel written in the 20th century. And its backstory, about how it came to be published and the tragedy of its success, is a whole ‘nother story.
A quick tip for all the aspiring authors out there?
Read a lot. Write a lot. There are no short cuts. Not if you want to be any good, anyway.
And a message to your readers and fans.
You are who I do it for. And never stop believing I don’t appreciate each and every one of you with all my heart. It is you with whom I conspire to bring my stories to life, because all books take two people to make them real: a writer and a reader. Thank you.
Thank you so much for being with us today, Rick!
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