Rafe Jadison is the author of The Divorceary, Little Tree, Snowed In: Dane and Heath, Seduced by Shark Shifters, Seduced by Shark Shifters II: Logan’s Tail, Seduced by Shark Shifters III: Tom’s Turn, Seduced by Shark Shifters IV: Mark’s Midlife, Reap This, Reap This Too, Blake Blacks Out, and Peter Passenger and the Mothman. He has a great love of the water and of people, and tries to show that in his writing. He looks forward to hearing from people legally old enough to read the things he writes.
Interview with Rafe Jadison
What’s the story behind your latest book?
Seduced by Shark Shifters III: Tom’s Turn brings back most of the characters we met in the first two books and a few more. This book, as you may have guessed from the title, is written from the point of view of Tom, the guy who has been in love with Logan since middle school, and ended up finding him married to a shark shifter. The hard thing for Tom and Logan has always been the fact that they are best friends, and like many best friends, their relationship has often questioned what it might be like if they were romantically entangled. I love this book, and I love Tom. Tom is the kind of guy who normally puts other people first, and spends his life taking care of others, especially Logan. In this book, Tom is pissed. He wants to know why Logan was able to go gay with someone else, but not with him, and it doesn’t help that Logan’s husband, Stefano, is sexy, wealthy, and has a great house. Tom comes into his own in this story, and may Logan does too. I will let you read it and decide that for yourself.
What are you working on next?
I am finishing up the fourth book in the sharks shifters series. It’s called Seduced by Shark Shifters IV: Mark’s Midlife. I am wrapping up all the little details and it will be available on July 1st. The story still follows the same family that we have met in the other books. Mark is actually Sam and Logan’s gay uncle. I originally said that my goal with this series was to explore different aspects of male sexuality, but I think that perhaps that word sexuality is a little misleading here. I feel like I have actually just been looking at the way people love. Mark is older than Logan and Sam, and I am excited about getting to show love from a sexy uncle’s point of view. The series is actually called “By the Water” because I plan to explore other types of shifters and places other than Shark Beach. Mark’s story delves into some of that and I can’t wait for readers to experience this. Mark is going to open the door to what I guess we can best call a spin-off series of books. In September I will be releasing a book called Captive. It’s characters are also middle aged, but in a very, very sexy way. That book was extremely fun to write, and I will be glad to get it out to all my readers.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have a horde of favorite authors, and my tastes are more than a little eclectic. My newest love is Louise Penny, who does an amazing job with what I would describe as literary mysteries. My longest abiding love is Anne Rice, who continues to astound me, and who actually wrote erotica, by the way. I think the fact that she wrote it made it a lot easier for me to do. I also love John Irving. I am always amazed at just how easily Harlan Coben can draw me in; he’s awesome. Let’s not forget Shakespeare. I think Amy Tan has a way of blending the ordinary with the spiritual in a way that always leaves me wanting more. Stephen King is a master storyteller who also does an excellent job of offering advice to new writers. I enjoy Jack London’s non-dog stories. One amazing person who I have not mentioned yet is Alexander McCall Smith. I heard him speak one time and he had me on the floor. I rushed over to buy his book. I also enjoy Dan Brown, Steven James, and Neil Gaiman. Elizabeth George and P.D. James are incredible. I enjoy Matthew Pearl’s books, as well as those of Christopher Rice and Christopher Bram. My deep Southern favorites range from Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor to Charlaine Harris, whose new series set in Texas is really fun. I could go on all day. I really love to read, and I think each author brings something new to the table. I am just glad that so many different types of people choose to share their voices.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Food. Shelter. This is not my day job so I need to work. No, for real, I would say that the people in my life who I love, and the things that I do inspire me. I try to avoid doing things I don’t like, so I am pretty happy in most aspects of my life. I am exceptionally fortunate to have people in my life who are amazing and support me. I think we sometimes need to extend our ideas of family, and when we do we find that we not only have our biological families around to support us, but we also open ourselves to allowing others into our lives, and those people can help us as well. I love people. I also love to write, and that can inspire me for very long periods of time.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I exercise. I work that day job. I love movies and hiking–this is starting to sound like a personal ad. No, I really value my time with family and friends. I think conversation is something that should appreciated daily. I also enjoy most kinds of weather, and I love to drive. Reading is of course also a passion.
How do you discover the eBooks you read?
I generally start with a search for free books, then I might read a few, and if I enjoy those authors, I purchase more books. I frequently read books written about gay characters on my ereader. Everyone likes to see themselves represented in literature. I find that on an ereader you can find more stuff like that. In a library or bookstore, your search is more limited and no one wants to go to the information counter and ask for all the gay books. Okay, I don’t want to. Although I really hate going into a bookstore and finding that all the books that even remotely deal with being gay are all in one section. When nonfiction books are shoved together with fiction books and big coffee table books, it just seems a little ridiculous. You can’t fit everything that might be interesting to one group of people in one aisle. Also, that system kind of outs those people who don’t want to be outed. I am fine with walking over to the gay and lesbian section if that’s where I need to find a particular title, but I feel bad for those people who are not comfortable with it. It must really suck for some poor guy to be reading in the section with the big GAY AND LESBIAN sign when all of a sudden he hears, “Look, Mom, there’s my football coach.” I definitely think that we should all be proud, and I think in being so we help remove the self-loathing that plagues so many gay people, but I don’t think going to the book store needs to definitely be an outing experience.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I think I was probably in first or second grade and I misspelled “author” as “arthur.” My parents kept it forever. It may still be around. I think I was probably twenty and in college when I wrote the first one that I ever really felt wonderful about. Of course, sometimes what we think is wonderful, is not.
What is your writing process?
Well, let me begin by saying that I don’t think there is just one writing process that works for everyone, and when authors tell you that there is, I think they are generally telling you what works for them. I write at various times. I used to write once a week on Saturday nights from about 10 PM until four in the morning, and this was very productive for me. I usually got about ten pages written in each of these sittings. The problem was, I didn’t feel very productive, because I was only doing this once a week, so I started trying to write every day. The problem with that was that I was writing was crap. I was exhausted and writing at a time when I was exhausted didn’t help. I learned to schedule writing in and make it work for me. Some times in my life are exceptionally busy and I just accept that I am not going to get as much done during those times, but I still try to schedule some time for writing. I have even gone so far as to tell friends and family that I was going to dinner with someone and that someone would be a character name. I would then take myself to dinner and write. I find that I need to feel free to write without interruption for at least an hour or two if I really want to get a lot accomplished. A busy restaurant is fine with me, as is a busy library, coffee shop, or even an airplane.
As for the actual process of writing, that varies also. Sometimes an idea comes to me, and I need to write it down instantly. Other times, I will mull something over in my head for months, or even years, before I bring that idea to life on paper. Usually, in most of my longer works, I find that the work is finished with a combination of those two types of writing–the kind that had to come out immediately, and the parts that were thought out forever. As for the initial kernel of an idea, it can come from something that happens to me or something I see on a particular day, or it can be something I play around with forever.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My parents read to me a lot when I was little, but I don’t remember which story they read to me first. The first story that I remember really shocking me in a pleasant way was when I read a book, I sadly can’t recall the title, where the main character reveals herself to be an atheist. Being raised in a fairly religious, yet loving and rather open-minded family, I was a little surprised, but I was also elated. I loved the idea that this woman could be whomever she wanted to be. I am not an atheist, so it wasn’t that it reflected my beliefs, but I was just really glad to see that books could introduce us to a world, and a way of thinking, that was completely different than our own world. I also remember being really pleased to see an openly gay character on Dynasty when I snuck in a few episodes because I was way too young to be watching Dynasty. I know that’s not a book, but the character was created by a writer. I also remember the impact Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews had on me. A girl I went to school with in my pre-gay days, gave me a copy and I couldn’t put it down. I think most of us guys were unfamiliar with the story and luckily it had a cover that didn’t suggest what it was about so my parents had no idea what I was reading so fiendishly. I try to capture that experience briefly when the main character in Seduced by Shark Shifters Two: Logan’s Tail experiences similar elation after reading.
How do you approach cover design?
As inexpensively as possible. I actually have been doing my own covers. I googled a few ways to do them and found that it could be done quite reasonably. Also, maybe I’m a control freak because I like doing them. I usually have an idea as to what I want on the cover and then I look around for images and designs that can match it. I find it’s the equivalent of finding a really great piece of furniture and refinishing it. I use stock images and tweak them myself. There are a lot of great companies out there that will work with you for reasonable prices. I try to stay simple with the idea that less is more. I will frequently design the cover before I finish the book. It kind of frees me up and lets me know that now I can focus on the story. I may eventually turn my designs over to a company, as there are several whose work I find to be inspiring, but for now, I am doing it myself. As an emerging eBook writer, I want to keep costs low.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Wow! What a question! I’m not sure that I can limit it to five, but let me try. Life of Pi because it is a great story that shows humanity in many ways, and ends up with a message of hope. I also love the way Yann Martel addresses faith and God in that one. The Witching Hour by Anne Rice is another favorite, first of all because it’s Anne Rice for hours and hours. I love her voice and I could read her all day. I love this piece though because she does an excellent job of creating some wonderful characters and I found myself totally drawn into their world. I realized in that piece that Anne Rice could probably convince me of anything. She makes some really wild stuff seem real and justified. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving is a favorite of mine not just because Mr. Irving tells a great story, but also because the ending to that book is one of the best I’ve read. It is worth reading the five hundred plus pages that precede it just to get to that ending. I love Stephen King’s Bag of Bones for many reasons. I really love the way he portrays widowhood–I think his depiction is exceptionally realistic. I also love The Passage by Justin Cronin. Cronin takes a popular legend and provides a perfectly rational explanation for it. He takes it all (I won’t tell you what in case you haven’t read it) to a whole new world and a whole new level. There are many other books I love, many by these authors, and many by authors I have not mentioned, but these are the five that come to mind right now.
Is Rafe Jadison your real name?
It’s not the name I was born with, but it is a name I created, so in that sense it’s mine. Because I love my day job, and I love writing what I write, I find it best that the two not mingle, so Rafe is my pseudonym.
Describe your desk.
My desk is pushed away in a corner. I try to keep it clear…ish. It holds my laptop comfortably, but to be honest, I will often write in other places. If I write while I am out, I write on a legal pad and do a type up/edit session later.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a lot of different places, most of them near the water. I think this influenced me in many ways. I think moving gives you the opportunity to see how different people do things differently. I think it’s important to know a few places well, but I also thinks it’s good to see how many different people live. I also find the water to be inspiring. I know this sounds crazy, but I actually feel more free when I am near it.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I like the freedom of it. I like the fact that I set my own deadlines and edit my own material. I also think publishing is going in this direction. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good book in my hands, but I also love a good e-reader, and I think as time goes on, we will see eBooks start to take over.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
First of all, let me say that their style guide is incredible. If you follow it, you end up with some very clean copy. Also, I like the fact that an author created this to help other authors publish their work. Knowing that I can publish something the minute I finish it takes the publishing hassle out of the picture and lets me focus on writing. Smashwords is an incredible company.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I think I most enjoy creating the characters. As many authors say, they do take over. As you are writing them, you begin to feel for them. You start to really care about them. It’s really embarrassing to realize that you are tearing up for characters who don’t exist.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are everything. Fans, the people in our lives, and ourselves are who we write for. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am every time I see that a book is bought. It’s not simply for financial reasons, it’s because you know someone took the time to read your story, and hopefully, because they bought it after reading the sample. It makes me happy to think that someone enjoyed my work. The first time I saw that one of my books had sold in Germany, I jumped for joy. I was ecstatic. Not only was someone reading my book, but someone across the world was reading it. It’s a nice feeling.
What do you most want your fans to get out of your books?
First of all, I want them to be entertained. I guess if they are taking the time to read my work and purchase it, I want them to enjoy themselves. I also like to leave things on a good note. I think we spend our days with people pointing out all the things that are wrong with the world, or sometimes even with us, and we forget to celebrate ourselves and our world. Oftentimes, I want to try to help people remember those reasons to celebrate.
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