Interview with MMBookEscape
Originally posted 9/7/2016
Welcome to MMBookEscape, Joseph, and thank you for being here.
JLT – I’m honored to be here. Thanks so much for inviting me back!
MMBE – The last time you and I sat down for a little one on one time was when Grif’s Toy was released so it’s very fitting that we are doing this again for Wes’ Denial.
I assume scotch is still your favorite drink, so help yourself, and let’s get started. Also, please look over my questions as they will, more than likely, jump all over the place.
JLT – Ooo, scotch! *drops a few ices and a couple of fingers into a glass* You’re such a great host, MMBE. Thanks!
MMBE – First, I think it’s important to mention that I don’t want to have any spoilers here for those who haven’t read Wes’ Denial.
It was good to see you again, thank you for coming Joseph. *gets up and walks away laughing* just kidding.
JLT – LOL! I’m sure we can get through this without spoilers. *winks*
MMBE – In all seriousness, did you know during the writing of Grif’s Toy that Wes would take you in in this direction?
JLT – To be honest, I didn’t. With both Grif’s Toy and Wes’ Denial I only knew where the books would start and where they would end. And aside from an overall idea of what I wanted to achieve in between, I had no idea where they’d take me. Writing them without a firm outline was a very interesting experience.
MMBE – Will there be more books in this series?
JLT – As much as I adore Grif and Wes, and many of the ‘secondary’ characters, I have no plans to take the series any further. That said, I’ve learned never to say never. *smiles*
MMBE – In our first interview, you mentioned that it took 4 short weeks to write Grif’s Toy. Of course, it took a lot longer to pull it all together, but did Wes’ Denial come together as quickly?
JLT – It did. I believe Wes took about eight weeks for the first draft. I tend to be very focused when I’m writing and stories almost ‘flow out’ of me. However, for a variety of reasons, it took an additional two years for me to actually hit the publish button.
MMBE – I know that “Tease & Denial” play a part in your real life, but is there any part of Wes that is real or is he completely fiction?
JLT – Well, Wes is very loosely based on the Hubz – much in the same way Grif is loosely based on me. However, as both characters are rather dramatically fictionalized, Wes needed to be Grif’s soul mate, not mine. Thus, Wes is everything Grif needs. That I also find him incredibly sexy is just a bonus. *winks*
MMBE – Research? Can you talk about it? Are you willing to share any of it, as far as how you gather your information?
JLT – Various elements of Wes and Grif’s play are drawn directly from my own life. Things such as extended denial, toy and exhibition play. Others, such as the BDSM club or the nude beach scenes, are conglomerations of my own experiences, close friends’ experiences, imagination, and research.
MMBE – I hope I’m not pushing the envelope, so to speak, but what can you tell us about Eaks? Did you or do you know someone like Paul?
JLT – Eaks is an unfortunate amalgamation of many people I’ve met in life. Sadly, suicide isn’t uncommon across all socioeconomic classes and sexual orientations. Regrettably we’re also all too familiar with the paradigm of self-loathing. Elected officials, for example, who are proponents of anti-gay legislation – often some of the most vocal – only later to be outed as gay themselves. These are societal issues that the advancement of gay rights only serves to diminish; as we become more tolerant of love, in its many forms, self-loathing – at least with regard to sexual orientation – becomes less and less prevalent. I dream of a day when the Pauls of our society stand as reminders of what we once were, and what we should never allow ourselves to be again.
MMBE – I’ve read some of your reviews and several mention they would love to see more of Gage and Quinn, and I would also, but I would love to know about Conrad. For me, he is the one that opened Wes to a new discovery about himself in his teenage years. Will we hear more about any of these guys in the future?
JLT – Gage and Quinn were a complete joy to write, and I’m really glad you enjoyed them. Conrad was something wholly different for me…something more personal, if you will. Meaning, in both Grif’s Toy (with Tate) and in Wes’ Denial (with Conrad) we saw examples of straight men teaching gay men about themselves. My early teenage years were very sexual and I had numerous, rather long-term, ‘relationships’ with straight boys my age. And although they were unaware of it, they taught me the joys of gay sex. Undoubtedly, those relationships meant drastically different things to us; for them it was a sexual release, while for me (a closeted gay kid) it was about learning who I was. I enjoy the irony of that…and enjoy writing about it. While it’s not likely that we’ll see Conrad again, per se, there is a good chance we’ll see another gay character under the sexual tutelage of an unwitting straight one.
MMBE – What was the hardest part in Wes’ Denial for you to write, emotionally?
JLT – Wes’ Denial is told from a Dom’s perspective. Getting that part accurate, emotionally, due to the fact that I’m a sub, was rather challenging initially. You can imagine my utter joy and profound relief when a Dom, who is also a reviewer, described Wes’ Denial as The single, most impactful and well written Dom’s personal journey and MM love story I’ve ever read.
MMBE – I can’t think of a book that I have read where two characters’ love each other more, are so in tune with each other, respect each other’s boundaries while pushing them, and at the same time aren’t afraid to step in and take the leading role when necessary. I know that was important for you to show that to the readers and, imo, you accomplished that perfectly. However, that must have been challenging as a writer? Yes…No?
JLT – Gosh, thanks so much for the compliments. Although Grif and Wes are complex characters – specifically with regard to their kinks – their love just seemed to flow naturally onto the page. I’m so glad the deep feelings I have for them seem to have translated into the written word. Again, thanks so much for saying that.
MMBE – Do you believe there is a misconception sometimes that if you enjoy kinks, have a BDSM relationship, D/s relationship, or any variation of, that you do not have a healthy relationship? Also, with Grif’s Toy and Wes’ Denial, I believe you have shown that anyone who does believe that could not be further from the truth. Would you share some of your thoughts on this?
JLT – I think there’s a good chance for misconception anytime we don’t understand something fully. As I just mentioned, Grif and Wes share very complex – and non-mainstream – kinks. Meaning, enjoying Small Penis Humiliation (SPH) is miles away from some other more common fetishes – such as French maid outfits, or something. *grins* One of the things I strived for in both books was to illustrate just how healthy Grif and Wes’ relationship is. Indeed, one could argue both characters become far more well rounded and balanced once their relationship begins than they were prior to it. I believe love – in and of itself – can be an incredibly carthadic emotion.
MMBE – I can’t let you out of here without asking about Brothers LaFon and where is that follow-up? Never mind that you’ve been busy with Wes and Grif, lol. Anything you can tell us about Alex and Miah?
JLT – Ahh, the Brothers LaFon. Thanks for asking about them. Damn, I do love those boys…and they’re never far from my thoughts. We will see them again, I just can’t say for certain when. My writing schedule seems to be constantly in flux…but perhaps a few books from now.
MMBE – Do you have any other surprises you are working on that you are willing to share with us?
JLT – Next up is another project with the co-writer of Quillon’ Covert, Louis Stevens. We had such an amazing time writing together that we were already talking about our next book before we’d even completed Martin and Marty’s story. This next one promises to be much, much darker. So, if you enjoyed Brothers LaFon, there’s a good chance this one will be right up your alley.
MMBE – If we confiscated your laptop for the day, what we would find in your search history?
JLT – *chuckles* Well, the aforementioned dark project with Louis would likely cause the eyebrows to lift of anyone checking my browser history. Let’s see…hm… A few examples would be: genital surgeries, cell construction, psychoanalysis and cognitive behavior, and learned helplessness disorder. What? *grins* I did say it was dark, didn’t I? *winks*
MMBE – What has been the best compliment given to you since you became a published author?
JLT – Wow, great question. And a rather difficult one because there have been so many incredible and completely unexpected moments along this journey. One would certainly be watching Grif’s Toy become a best seller. Another would be co-writing with the amazing Louis Stevens. Of course working with my literary hero, Jack L. Pyke, ranks right up there with unbelievable dreams coming true. But probably the most fulfilling would be interacting with readers who’ve been touched in some way by my work. Indeed, being told first hand that someone has connected with a book or character of mine is the highest compliment possible.
MMBE – Last question, Joseph… Once you hit publish, what do you do to celebrate?
JLT – Oh, this is the easiest answer of all: drink scotch and have sex! *naughty grins*
MMBE – Thank you so much, Joseph, for stopping by and answering these questions. It’s always a pleasure. <3
JLT – Thank you for having me. I assure you, the pleasure has been all mine!