Thursday, August 14, 2014

Interview With Les Joseph and Free Download of Tidewater

Les Joseph is an author to watch for. I have been a fan of hers for a long time and I'm lucky because I've never had to pay to read her work. One day the time will come and she will publish and all of you will fall in love with her work like I have.

Recently, I sat down with the beautiful author to talk about her, her writing and her new story from M/M Romance Group's Love's Landscapes compilation. For those in the group you've likely had the opportunity to read this and many of the other fantastic stories. Others had to wait until they were downloadable! Well, they are available. Get Tidewater here for those who can't do that. If you have an issue please feel free to comment below with your email and I'll gladly email it to you :)

Because Les has forced me to tell you all, I in fact designed this cover using the amazing photography from Jordan Grady.  Some of you have seen his work, he's marvelous. With his photo and her words it was easy to find inspiration for this tale.

So let's get on with this interview, shall we?

 Let's start out fairly easy. Explain for those who don't know what Tidewater is about... Blurb it for us if you can.

Here's an unofficial summary/blurb:

Sometimes the wrong path turns out to be the right one.

When Cord McKenzie and his boyfriend Brandon West left Jacksonville, Florida for the bright lights of New York City, neither of them either anticipated a blown transmission would wind up with them detouring to Tidewater, North Carolina. Going home wasn’t an option. A year and a half later, and they’re still stuck. Without enough money to leave, Cord and Brandon try to make the best of their situation, while keeping The Big Apple a dream, a glimmer, to work toward—even if it’s slowly fading.

Cord finds himself working at Tidewater Country Club—a job he NEVER would have dreamed of having. Golf used to be Cord’s passion, a golf course the place where he found his joy … but not anymore. Now he works from sun up to sundown, and it never seems to be enough to get them ahead, to get him and Brandon out of Tidewater and to New York City.

Brandon West is the total opposite of Cord—small in stature but large in attitude, a positive outlook to Cord’s cynicism, and a believer in fate versus Cord’s steadfast belief in the here and now. With no reason to stay in Jacksonville and every reason to leave, Brandon joined Cord, certain of their path. When Cord makes a decision to veer of that path, Brandon will have to decide if he wants to follow or make his way on his own.

 This is the second story you've written for this M/M Group the other A Fragile Love. Do you find the picture prompting a challenge or does it perhaps make it easier for a writer?

I can see both sides. The story I did last year came together pretty easily for me. I showed the picture prompt to a friend, we talked, I took a shower (My best ideas always come while I'm in the shower!) and things pretty much flew from there. This year's story was much more of a struggle for me. The picture prompt drew me in immediately, I saw it and went "Oohh, that's the one" but the story itself was much harder.

 Tell us your favorite qualities about your characters Cord and Brandon?

Brandon's are pretty easy to identify- he's fearless, fierce, and feisty (see what I did there?!) He's also got a very positive outlook, even when things might not warrant it. (Keep that in mind people, it will come up again in the full novel!) He's also sexy and sweet. Cord, well, he's a bit harder to pin down. He's definitely ambitious and very confident--read borderline arrogant--but he's got that bad boy vibe which is kind of irresistible. He's madly in love with Brandon, and not afraid to show it or say it, and I ALWAYS find that appealing. In the full length novel, I will explore his relationship with his Uncle Marcus so you'll be able to see how much love and respect there is between the two of them. He's also pretty damn hot!

 Knowing you as a person I know you thrive on angst. This story, the person who gave the prompt asked for little angst. Was this hard to do?

I didn't really manage to follow along too closely to either the picture prompt or the Dear Author letter, I'm afraid. Tidewater is an idea I've had in my head for a very long time, a few years at least, and when I sat down to plot out my Love's Landscape story, the idea just wouldn't go away. When I started to write, Brandon and Cord came to life. I managed to incorporate a few elements--the assumption that Cord would be the top because he's so much bigger and more masculine than Brandon and the groveling Cord had to do after his slip up on the golf course. Admittedly, there wasn't MUCH groveling, but it was there. I hope the readers and the person who submitted the prompt aren't too disappointed by what the end result was, though.

 On average how many books would you say you read in a months time?

I usually read anywhere from 4-5 books a week, though I've been known to read four over a weekend. So, I'd say I probably average anywhere from 20-25 a month. Good thing there are so many more out there for me to discover!

 How long have you been reading and writing MM, and how has this genre helped you grow into the writer you are?

The first M/M story I wrote was when I was writing Twilight fanfiction. It was for a contest, (those were big back then) and I wanted to challenge myself. I'd never written an M/M pairing before, though I'd read some, and wanted to try something different. Once I did that, I was hooked. I began reading M/M fiction and nothing has been the same. I still dip my toe into het books, either YA or adult contemporary if something catches my eye, but I've been reading predominantly M/M books for over two years now. The best thing about the books in the M/M genre is the wide array of subjects and story lines. I love to read books full of passion and courage, of love and growth as the two main characters, even some of the secondary ones as well, overcome struggles, whether they be major or minor. The more I read and the more words I write, I continue to find new avenues that open up. It's very exciting.

 Tell us all about future projects you're working on?

I have already begun to continue with the full length novel for Tidewater. (There is A LOT planned out for Cord and Brandon, and it will definitely be a hell of a roller coaster ride!) I have a novel, Exit Wounds, that is about four chapters from being complete. That one has been a major struggle to write, but I hope when I'm done it will be worth all the pain and frustration. I also have an idea for one other story that I recently mapped out with my writing partner, soul sister, and partner in crime, Jami Denise. It'll be a fun story to write! There are a few other ideas floating around in my brain, too, just not enough time to get them all written.

 As a woman writing in M/M, what are the challenges you face?

Making sure that the feelings, thoughts, and actions I portray come across as genuine and authentic. I don't get too hung up on who is writing what I read, emotions are emotions as far as I'm concerned. If a book makes me cry or laugh or want to throw my Nook or phone or laptop (or even better, all three) I don't care if the person is male, female, an alien or a rhinoceros. I hope people feel the same when they read the words I write. We all, as authors, want to tell stories that move people, or make them think, or even let them escape into a fantasy world of make believe. The gender of the person writing them shouldn't matter.

 I know you have many but name some authors that inspire you.

God what a HARD question. There are honestly SO many! Heidi Cullinan is who I want to be when I grow up. Her words move me in a way that I can't even explain. Amy Lane's angst is the best kind, the kind which makes you smile while your heart is being shredded. (The Locker Room will forever be an all-time favorite) Mary Calmes men are hot and flawed--perfectly imperfect--and her stories always suck me right in and don't let go. I love Jaime Samms and C. Zampa's words are gorgeous and paint images like no other. Rhys Ford, and Brad Boney whose books aren't just books but experiences-- same for Edmond Manning. I devoured everything by Judy Blume when I was growing up (I read Forever under my blanket with a flashlight) Andrew Greeley's books always leave me with a happy heart. Of course J.K. Rowling which I read with my kids and was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything and of course Stephenie Meyer who brought me back to reading and helped me to rediscover my love of writing.

How do you prepare yourself to write? 

Grab my headphones, turn on my playlist, and make sure there's a big glass of Coke -- with LOTS of ice for crunching on as I go.

People are going to want to keep an eye out for you. How can they follow you ie Facebook, Twitter etc.. 

 Les Joseph: Author of A Fragile Love, Tasting the Forbidden, Tidewater, and Love Has No Boundaries Anthology

Be sure to follow her in every way because she's making ripples now but she will be making a splash in publication soon enough!  

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