Interview With H.B. Pattskyn: Paranormal and BDSM Author

May 20, 2015

A big thank you to H.B. Pattskyn, who agreed to do this interview and answer the questions of her readers. I also want to thank you, the readers, who came up with the questions and thus made this interview possible.

First of all, name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

Thank you so much for the opportunity!  Hmmm….one thing that surprises most people when they meet me somewhere like a conference or a convention is that I’m an extreme introvert, I just happen to not be a very shy one. That confuses people. I actually *like* talking to people, it’s just that after a while, it can be very draining, even when I’m around friends and family. I need to go and recharge my batteries some place quiet after a long day of interacting with people.

What made you start writing M/M novels? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?

I started writing in the second grade. We had an assignment to write a story using our spelling words and it was so much fun, I started writing more stories. I’m 46 now, so you can do the math on how long ago that was  *grin* !

I started writing fanficiton in response to the horrible-it-didn’t-really-happen third season of Ron Koslow’s Beauty and the Beast. (A lot of fans of the show wrote fanfiction after the third season aired, in the late 1980’s.) Fast forward about twenty years and I found myself writing Torchwood fanfiction, because I wanted to see what happened in between episodes—and mostly because I wanted more Jack and Ianto, a cannon M/M couple. A bunch of my fans encouraged me to write and publish original fiction. I’d tried that previously and collected a stack of rejection letters (that’s just the nature of the business) so I was reluctant.

Then I had an idea for a story that wouldn’t go away. Once the novel was written, I had to do something with it, so I submitted it to Dreamspinner Press (my absolute favorite publisher, from a customer-perspective) , fully expecting to get another rejection letter. I’d even settled on where I was going to submit it next when the inevitable happened. But instead of the anticipated rejection letter, I got an email with  Contract in the subject line. I think I stared at it for ten minutes before opening it and probably pinched my arm black and blue to make sure I wasn’t dreaming *grin* !

I hope this question is not too personal; if yes you of course don’t have to answer it. How do you unite your writing with your private life (family, friends, partner, etc.) without neglecting anyone or anything?

*snicker* When I figure that one out, I’ll let you know!  Invariably, something gets neglected along the way. Fortunately, I have a wonderful and supportive husband and really awesome friends who understand it when I say I have to bail on a social engagement because the Muses are dancing and I’m working hard. Sometimes it works the opposite way, too. Last year, we were very busy moving to a new house (a lovely 100 year old home in Detroit) and as a consequence, I got very  little writing done. All my creative energy went to sanding and refinishing old floors (some of which were covered by layes of tile and linoleum), and scraping peeling paint off of the most beautiful hardwood crown molding.

Do you work at several books at the same time or do you rather focus on one? 

Lately, I’ve been working on multiple books at once.  I’m hoping that works out to see two books finished and submitted very soon!

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses as an author?

Insecurity is my biggest weakness. There comes a point in every story where I’m convinced it totally sucks and I should just throw in the towel. Those moments are where having a supportive family and network of writer-friends really helps.

I think one of my strongest suits as a writer is writing dialogue. It’s one the things I got the most positive feedback on when I was writing fanfiction, and one of the places where fanfiction really helped. I was writing pre-made characters, so keeping them in character was really super important. It became engrained me that dialogue is a huge part of what makes a person seem unique on the page.

Do you have a writing routine and how long does it take you on average to write a story?

My days are in flux right now; my husband and I share a car (pretty much the only way we can make it work financially for me to be a fulltime writer), and my daughter just got a job working midnights. So my new day is to take her to work at 11pm, come home, go to bed, get up with my husband at 4am, drive him to work, pick my daughter up at 7am (trying to get some writing done in between), do some more writing—or play stupid computer games, depending on how tired I am! Somewhere in there I catch a nap and/or attempt to do some housework or work in the garden. Then I pick my husband up at 2. My best creative times are in the morning, but I’m adapting to the new schedule and trying to be content to get in a thousand words here and a thousand words there. My goal is 3000 words a day, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.

Two days a week, I volunteer for AIDS Partnership Michigan.

What is the hardest scene you ever had to write?

One of my current projects is the followup to Bound:Forget Me Knot.  It’s not a sequel, although Jason and Henry will be in it—but really the new book is Derrik’s story. The guy he ends up with starts out the story in an abusive D/s relationship. It’s a really touchy subject all the way around and hard to write because I don’t want to think of D/s as being anything but loving and consensual, even though my previous marriage was to a man who totally didn’t get the concept of that at all. It never got abusive (I got out before it could go there) but the potential existed. It’s hard for me to write a Dom who is so much like my ex; there were a few times he really scared me.

You’ve written contemporaries and you’ve written a paranormal novel. Which do you prefer and why?

I think paranormal, because paranormal gives a lot of leeway and freedom to really explore and be creative and have fun—but lately my ideas have mostly been contemporary, so that’s what I’m writing more of. Pretty much I write whatever the Muses dictate  *smile*

Are you one of the authors that get kicked by their muse all of the time, especially when she wants something that doesn’t really fit into your writing timetable in that situation?

Completely!

Have you ever got insulted because of your books? Or have your books ever got insulted? If yes, how did you react to it?

Probably the most insulting thing anyone has ever said was along the lines, „Oh, you write gay male romance? Where do you post your stories online?“  It was really frustrating that he thought that because of what I write, I couldn’t possibly have a publisher or get paid for my work.

In response to that question, I smiled and said that if he wanted to look me up, he could try my publisher’s website or track me down on Amazon.

I had someone else who assumed I was self published. I have nothing against self publishing—it was just the assumption that irritated me, like somehow no one publishes M/M romance. I politely corrected the misconception and once again suggested the other person check out Dreampsinner—and all of the other wonderful M/M publishers out there.

Do you want to travel to the countries where the languages your books were translated into are spoken?

 I would love to come to Germany some day! And most of Europe, for that matter.

Last week DSP published the German translation of Bound: Forget Me Knot. It’s the first book of you which was translated into another language. What inspired you to write this novel?

*grin*  I was sitting at a dealer’s table at a local science fiction convention (not the one where Jason and Henry meet, but they’re fairly similar) and across the room, I spoted this adorable little (19 or 20 years old) guy in a fishnet shirt, his nipple rings clearly visible. Just kitty corner to my table was a leather dealer (more Steampunk stuff than BDSM gear, but there were a few collars and cuffs discretely on display as well.) I couldn’t help putting those two things together.

Are you planning to write a sequel or more books dealing with BDSM?

In addition to Derrik’s story (the follow up for Bound), I’m hard at work on a BDSM story called Visceral that I’m really in love with. It’s at about the 70,000 word mark, so it’s almost done.

Can you tell us a little about Hanging by the Moment? Did you plan the plot before you start writing or did you let things just develop themselves?

I so did not set out to write a book about HIV when I stared Daniel and Pasha’s story! I’d just finished Bound and I wanted to write something light and easy. Light and easy is apparently not in my vocabulary. I was about 10,000 words in and laying down to take a little break when Daniel informes me (in that way that characters sometimes inform authors of things the poor author had no prior knowledge of) that he’s HIV positive.

No.

No way. That was not the book I wanted to write.

But it was the book that needed to be written.

Because of the research I did, I ended up as a volunteer at AIDS Partnership Michigan—it completely breaks my heart that there is still so much misinformation circulating around the Internet about HIV and AIDS. It’s not a death sentence. It’s not a disease anyone wants, but it can be managed and lived with.

I know a lot of people have steered clear of Hanging by the Moment because of the subject matter, but it’s not a depressing story. It’s a story about a guy who falls in love with a guy who happens to be living with HIV.

Last but not least: What are you currently working?

In addition to Derrik’s story and Visceral, I’m working on book called A Place to Belong that’s been causing me great consternation for the better part of a year. It’s another story with a difficult plot line that involves self-injury, street level sex work, and a relationship with a significant age gap.  It’s been one of those cases where no matter what I write, I think it sucks (even though I’ve had no less than 4 beta readers tell me they love and they’re all people I respect tremendously!)  I think once I finish Visceral, I’ll get back to it (I started Visceral because I needed a break—and because it was my turn to submit something to my critique group and I didn’t want to submit any of A Place to Belong; it was in the hands of a beta reader and his were the only other opinions I wanted on it.)

One Response to “Interview With H.B. Pattskyn: Paranormal and BDSM Author”

  1. Andrea M says:

    Fantastic interview.I think what surprises me most is that Hanging By The Moment was supposed to be light and easy. I love the book but it must have taken you for one hell of a ride because those are the last words I’d use to describe it. I’m amazed by how characters sometimes speak to authors instead of the other way around. As a reader, I love it.

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