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Did you all have a nice Easter? I had a wonderful weekend but now, its back to business as usual and today, I would like to welcome Xavier Axelson.
Xavier is a writer and columnist living in Los Angeles. His columns include interviews with counterculture celebrities, artisans, singers, writers, performance artists, politicians, and activists. While his writing has been called, ‘raw, dirty, and absolutely beautiful,’ Xavier hopes to push boundaries of what is expected in the M/M erotic genres.
XA – Of course! I write so many different genres. Erotic romance was the last place I thought I would find myself, and to be honest, I’m not sure that’s what I write. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told my writing is hard to classify. It was after my novella, The Incident came out that I really experienced this response. Was it erotica? A lot of people didn’t think so, but liked it anyway. My response: Why does it need to be classified? I truly think people are hung up on being able to identify and classify and sub categorize the hell out every single thing. How drab. I like to think of life as a dinner party; I know what I’ll be serving will be tasty, and make people want more so if it’s a little salty and sweet and savory; all the better!
IDI – When people ask my why I write, I answer, “I’m either very imaginative and creative, or I’m just a pathological liar. No one knows for sure.” Actually, I think (in part) that writing is almost like being schizophrenic, without the personalities coming out verbally. We have to feel what our characters feel, know what they know and think what they think, so in a sense, how can we not become them? Agree? Disagree?
XA – This is a tough question. Each time I start to write I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility to whatever and whoever I am about to write about. So, I don’t necessarily feel it’s my place to become the characters but instead to be as genuine and careful with their story and emotions as I can. That being said, I sure think about them and worry about them an awful lot.
IDI – Everyone has their own dream. What’s yours… best seller, feature film adaption, fame, riches, Oprah’s book club, Pulitzer?
XA – I want it all; dream big, do bigger and be the last bastard standing, that’s my philosophy and my intention.
IDI – I love your answer to that!
I’ve heard argument for each side, but when writing, do you outline or sketch the entire book before you feel comfortable enough to begin your draft or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your jockey’s?
XA – I’ve never been a draft kind of person. I didn’t cram in college or stay up all night frantic over a paper; it was a one shot kind of thing with me. A Valentine for Evrain came to me in one sitting; hard, fast and super sexual, I was kind of side swiped by that story. I am eternally grateful to Silver Publishing for taking it on. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t love a good edit. I really enjoy getting something back all covered in red ink. It’s a challenge, like holding a red cape in front of a bull; bring it on. So yes, I fly by the seat of my jockeys.
IDI – Within your writing, what are you the most passionate about? What is it that keeps the fire burning?
XA – I’m passionate about being true to my characters and telling their stories as honestly and openly as I can. I have no idea what keeps it burning, I am only grateful that it burns.
IDI – We all draw from within and I believe there is an element of ‘us’ in everything we write. How much of you will a reader find in any given book?
XA – If my writing isn’t personal I’m in deep trouble, what I write and everything surrounding my writing is the most personal thing in my life. I give all of me to each and every piece I write; I think that’s what scares me about being a writer. I always wonder if this will be the piece that makes me lose my mind. I mean it’s one thing to attend the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, it’s another to be the Mad Hatter.
IDI – When reading another author, do you read purely for enjoyment or are you more likely to critique as you go? And if so, what is the one thing you pick out most?
XA – I’m so not a critique person, I read for pleasure and am a super easy sell. I am so willing to jump aboard whatever train the writer is driving and just sit back and enjoy the ride. Look, having a book published is such a huge amount of work, I take my hats off to anyone brave enough to endure the trials and tribulations of the process. And, to be even more honest, I really can’t think of a book I read and hated.
IDI – They say that you have to know the rules before you can break them. Which ones do you find yourself breaking the most often and does it work in your writing?
XA – Wow, great question. I am a rule breaker by nature, if there are rules I break them, most the time without even realizing I’ve done it. For example, with my last release, Lily it was initially written to be part of a Father’s Day collection. The idea was to write a story about “Dad’s needing love too.” So I wrote a story about a father who has his daughter dragged into the woods by a wild animal on Father’s Day. He definitely needed love. In the end it was published on it’s own as an independent piece.
IDI – Define a great book.
XA – A great book is one that lingers and becomes part of your daily consciousness. I have several books I think of everyday and have molded who I am as a person and a writer. Now that’s a great book.
IDI – Hands down, favorite book of all time?
XA – Watership Down by Richard Adams, now that is a fantastic book and a huge part of my being, I can only hope to one day write something so great.
IDI – Can you talk a little about your new print collection, Menage?
XA – Menage is a collection of my first three novellas with Seventh Window Publishing; Dutch’s Boy, The Incident and The Birches. There are three new covers, an added recipe for Dutch’s Boy, and fresh foreword introducing all three of the stories. It was important to me for readers to feel they are getting something new when they buy this collection.
IDI – What inspired your latest novella, ‘Earthly Concerns’?
XA – ‘Earthly Concerns’ is the story of two men on polar opposite’s sides of the emotional spectrum. One is aloof and selfish while the other is emotional and generous, the plot really centers on the price they both pay for being who they are. It’s an intensely creepy and extreme story. I kind of feel there’s a fable vibe to it and I love that idea.
IDI – Xavier, it was a real pleasure to talk with you here. You seem to have a lot going on between your writing and your column and I wish you the very best with both.
If you would like to contact Xavier, you can find him here:
You can purchase ‘Earthly Concerns’ HERE
You can purchase ‘Menage’ HERE
If you enjoyed Xavier’s interview, please don’t forget to let him know by leaving a ‘like’ or a comment for him.
And now for my recommended readings. Each week I give a few suggestions for books I’ve either read or have heard positive feedback about, that I think you would enjoy. I’m dedicating this week to Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I have read several of her novels and if you enjoy what I call ‘feel good fiction’, you’ll want to acquaint yourself with her work.
Excuse the little box with an ‘x’ inside, but there is no cover image for my first selection, as it is not due out until July of this year, but definitely worth keeping in mind.
Here is the one I just finished reading
I loved this one
If you are a published author and would like a little exposure, contact me at ladybuggerly at hotmail and I can make it happen!
Where I hide:
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