For my first guest author spot of the new year I welcome author SA Collins, who doesn’t just write, but also co-hosts a weekly podcast titled WROTE (or Written On The Edge), a fact that caught my interest as soon as I heard it. I’m a music girl, living and working while numerous playlists keep my mind in the space where it needs to be. Podcasts, except for one Indie Music one I testdrove years ago, haven’t featured much in my days. It’s something I’m thinking of changing, so finding out what it is about podcasts that SA Collins finds so intriguing is a good first step in that direction.
If nothing else, it sounds like a fascinating journey to me, exploring why we write what we do… so I’ll be checking it out. And now over to SA Collins himself, with info and stories about WROTE…
A storyteller’s life is a varied one.
As an author of queer literary fiction – not to be confused with MM Romance as what I write is far more queer in nature rather than fanciful tales of romantic fiction – I’ve also been intensely fascinated about why we writers do what we do. And I also wondered if writing a screenplay, play or even music had the same sort of journey. I wanted to hear from other storytellers who wrote about queer people’s lives, loves, triumphs and losses: how they did, what they did, and what drives them to do it.
Thus began my journey, along with two other authors I picked up along the way: Vance Bastian (whose satiny voice just begged to be put before a microphone) and UK author Jayne Lockwood (our roving reviewer for guests making appearances on our podcast), to ask these sorts of questions of queer content creators. Why queerdom? It’s fairly simple, I suppose, if you self-identify as part of the queer community – you write what you know, see and live.
Yet, there are an ever-growing segment of the writer community who are not queer but are queer inclusive (sometimes right down to the main character of their works rather than a friendly, witty gay sidekick). Thus, the WROTE Podcast was born. The title “WROTE” for us stands for WRitten On The Edge … where we’ve discovered many of these authors feel they are. Often our works are seen as fringe material – even in this ever more accepting world. Our works are not mainstream – even if they are riddled with the same sorts of questions, foibles and folly as any mainstream work out there.
So, we started by finding self-identifying queer writers in the MM Romance genre, which has literally skyrocketed to the point that several successful writers of the genre do it for their living – albeit with an ever watchful eye to Amazon’s spiraling, shifting payouts. What we learned across the now 145 episodes we’ve recorded is solid confirmation that every writer comes to it from a differing perspective. Yet a definite common thread emerged: all writers, even if they wrote music, seemed to do it from a young age. They may not have published, or in some other way made public their prior works, but they worked at their craft out of the public eye.
Another commonality emerged: we all seem to be our own worst enemy. We build the tiger in the room that stalks us as we create, making us think that what we put down won’t be good enough, no one will want to read this, that sort of rot. Even if we believe in our work whole-heartedly, passionately, with every fiber of our being, that tiger of our own making will keep checking us, seeding doubt. We’re a complex bunch, we writers. Many of us are introverts; conventions scare the hell out of us. Meeting readers can terrify us into a mild state of catatonia – even as they lavish us with the praise that we desperately, if silently, crave. A few come from other forms of the arts – very much from the public eye. See? Complexity reigns even with this aspect of our collective journey.
WROTE expanded after the first few months to include other forms of queer content beyond romance – speculative fiction, sci-fi, horror, etc. We were in it for anyone who wanted to come talk about what they do. One element we cribbed from Inside the Actor’s Studio is what we call our “Rapid Fire Questions” – the authors all would cringe every time we approached the segment. We became very adept at easing their fears. Every answer is the right answer because it is their answer. And what we found by asking the same list of questions to each author was how very similar we all seem to think about things. Even the surprise answers were rather telling.
Lesbian wood science, anyone? It’s a thing, in case you didn’t know. Just one of the more brilliant topics that came up because of the wonderful discussions we’ve had with our writers.
From the beginning, we’ve wanted to demonstrate to authors that we were in it not only for the knowledge but for the fun we could have talking about craft. We laugh a lot. We even have many episodes that contain blooper reels after the end credits, just to allow others to know how much fun we try to have during our discussions.
You know what else we learned about writers? That free form discussion infinitely outweighs a structured hit list of talking points. Oh, we prepare a talking point list, but the true gems of the show, where the moments that really matter shine, came from the mental and verbal wanderings along the garden path of our talking points. In those meanderings some truly golden moments emerged. We’re good when we ramble. Did you know that? But when you think about it – it’s how we create. Creation springs from mental wanderings – the what ifs of life. Our show’s reflective moments demonstrate that. Individually, many authors gave us a real glimpse at what they do and why, but I think it is the overall discussion we continue to have with authors about the queer community that really prove our worth.
If you’re a queer content creator (whether you self-identify, are an ally or ?) I invite you to sign up for our podcast. It’s free and a lot of fun.
We’re often booked months in advance, so if you’ve got a release date and want to have it around then, we suggest you sign up sooner rather than later to lock in your date. The show is pre-recorded and audio only. So, there is no need to feel like you have to be “en pointe” in every moment. We’ve been doing this for almost three years now and we do our absolute best to make you shine. Readers/consumers of queer content, I invite you to check out our weekly broadcasts (we’re on all the popular players: iTunes, Stitcher, IHeartRadio, TuneIn, Libsyn, GooglePlay, etc) to discover some writers you may never have heard of and learn about what they’re passionate about writing.
For 2018, my co-host and producer, Vance Bastian, has dubbed this as “The Year of Discovery” for WROTE. So, with that theme in mind, please, I invite you to come discover along with us. We’d be happy to have you along for the journey.
SA “Baz” Collins
writer of Queer Literary Fiction
Co-host of the WROTE podcast
Fascinating? I think so, and I’ll be listening while I work on my latest knitting project. Check out the player above if you’d like to find out more or, if you’d like to get involved, why not book yourself a slot on WROTE and talk about writing?
Since SA Collins doesn’t just run a writing podcast, but is a writer himself, I don’t want to end this guest author slot without showing off his lates two books, prequels for his Angel of Mercy series.
Diary of a Quarterback
|King of Imperfections||Prince of Mistakes|
Born in America but reared in their father’s home of Torino, Italy, Marco Sforza has led a fairly idyllic life. The Sforzas are an ancient and powerful family with a strong ducal past. They run a vast global empire that allows Marco to enter halls of power that most men only dream of. Yet, Marco is a boy who lives in a bubble of his family’s making.
When Marco returns to America to attend high school he grooms himself to become a rising star quarterback of the Mercy High Avenging Angels. He thinks his focus is his burgeoning football career. He is all too aware he is a boy made of pure light that is meant to be seen and noticed. He is comfortable there. Until he meets a boy who shines brighter than him. Elliot Donahey is that boy. But Elliot is a boy who craves shadow and darkness to keep himself safe through another hellish day of high school.
Before he realizes it, Marco’s world becomes undone by this boy. Trapped in a script all jocks are meant to follow, Marco does his best to fit in and play along so he can play the game he loves. But this boy who hides in the shadows begins to consume his every thought and emotion.
Despite the script he’s been given to date girls, have sex, and hang with his teammates and follow along, Marco finds himself on an emotional pendulum where following that jock script only brings him further away from that world to circle the boy hiding in the shadows. Can Marco find it within himself to push against what others expect of him to find his way into Elliot’s arms? Even with all the fame, money and prestige his family brings to the table, will it be enough to gain the interest of a boy who only wants to hide from everyone?
About SA Collins
SA “Baz” Collins hails from the San Francisco Bay Area where he lives with his husband, their daughter and wonder of all wonders, a whirlwind of a granddaughter and two exotic looking cats. A classically trained singer/actor (under a different name), Baz knows a good yarn when he sees it.
Based on years of his work as an actor, Baz specializes in character study pieces. It is more important for him as an author that the reader comes away with a greater understanding of the characters, and the reasons they make the decisions they do, rather than the situations they are in. It is this deep dive into their manners, their experiences and how they process the world around them that make up the body of Mr. Collins’ work.
More from SA Collins’ Angels of Mercy Series
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon