L’INTERVISTA IN ITALIANO SU WWW.BABETTEBROWN.IT :
Marie Sexton (who also writes as A.M. Sexton) lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.
First novel was Promises, published in January 2010. Nearly thirty published works since then.
Several Rainbow Awards:
Strawberries for Dessert, 2010, 2nd Place Best Contemporary Gay Romance, 3rd Place, Best Character Development
Blind Space, 2012 1st Place Best Gay Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Honorable Mention Best Gay Novel
Song of Oestend, 2011 1st Place Best Gay Fantasy, 1st Place Best Character Development, Honorable Mention Best Gay Novel
Second Hand, Runner-Up 2012
Family Man, Finalist
Never a Hero, Honorable Mention 2013
2012 Award of Excellence from CRW for Contemporary Romance (Between Sinners and Saints)
Finalist for 2012 CRW Award of Excellence for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Song of Oestend)
The Romance Reviews Best Book of 2012 in GLBT – Romantic Science Fiction / Futuristic (Blind Space)
First ritual question: why do you write? How did this “need” started and when? I’ve always been an avid reader, but I stumbled into m/m romance sometime in about 2007 or 2008. Then in December of 2008, I quit my job to become a stay-at-home mom. A few months later, I woke up with an idea in my head. I’d never really written anything before (except term papers in college and memos/newsletters at my job), but I took a chance and started writing. That idea turned into Promises. The first publisher I sent it to rejected it (a blessing in disguise, in hindsight), but luckily the second one, Dreamspinner Press, decided to take a chance on it, and I’ve been writing ever since.
How do you write? Handwriting with paper and pencil, just a notebook always with you and notes jotted down quickly on the fly, or strictly on video, portable pc, iPad or iPhone? I write on my laptop. I use Scrivener, which is handy because I write all out of order. I often start in the middle of the story and work both directions from there.
Is there a moment of the day you find particularly suitable to your writing novels? On weekdays, my daughter goes off to school and my husband goes to work, and I have the house to myself. That’s the best time to write, when it’s silent and nobody’s vying for my attention (except the dog, that is).
What does writing means to you? I don’t know, really. Different stories mean different things. Sometimes it’s just for fun, and sometimes I feel like I have something to prove, and sometimes it’s about playing with a new idea.
Do you always love what you write, after you wrote it? Well, it depends on how long after I wrote it. LOL. With most stories, I like the first third or so. I write the last two-thirds thinking it’s all crap. Then sometime during revisions (before I send it to the publisher), I decide I like it again. By the time I receive the galley, I’ve decided (again) that it’s crap. Then I stop worrying about it, because it can’t be changed at that point.
Do you re-read your books after they’ve been published? And those one translated in other languages, what’s the feeling about them? There have been times that I’ve sat down and read through one of my older novels, for one reason or another. I’m always surprised to find that I don’t hate them, and there will be certain scenes that I think, “Damn, that wasn’t half bad!” I especially still love the Oestend series (and I hope that’ll be translated into Italian before too long.)
As for the translations, obviously I can’t read them, but it’s really exciting seeing them translated and hearing from readers around the world. I think I’ve been hearing from more Italians than Americans lately! It’s a lot of fun.
How much authobiographical are your books? Every book has at least a little piece of me, but it varies from book to book how big that piece is. Family Man is probably the most autobiographical story I’ve written. Most of what Trey goes through with his mother came from my life. But most of my books aren’t nearly as personal as that one. Usually, I just take something small. Like, in A to Z, the karate school and vomiting students over Zach’s video store were based on an actual dojo I took a few seminars through in college. The story Cole tells Jared in Fear, Hope, and Bread Pudding about an old man gathering nuts with his granddaughter in Lucca was something I witnessed while visiting Italy a few years ago. So usually, it’s just little bits like that.
Do you manage to adjust your creative life with your private one? Well, I try. Generally, if my family is at school/work, I’m at work. When they’re home, I consider it my down time.
How do you succeed in finding time to write during the day? I have plenty of time, since I don’t have another job. The trick is keeping myself on target and actually writing rather than staring at the TV all day.
When you write your novels, you just “sail at sight” or you follow some sort of schemed writing as many creative writing schools suggest? A bit of both. I usually know the beginning and the end and a few bits in between, but I’m not very good at outlining or plotting it out start-to-finish.
When your’e writing, you do it consistently, every day, as A. Trollope did, or you let yourself be drawn by the fecklessness of inspiration? I try to write every weekday, but I take weekends off. J
What do you read, when you’re doing it in your leisure time? What genre do you prefer reading? I mostly read mysteries, thrillers, and horror. I especially like any of those in a historical setting. I love the Timothy Wilde series by Lyndsay Faye, and I’m currently working my way through Tom Piccirilli’s backlist. I also read a bit of middle-grade and YA fiction, because of my daughter.
Have you ever followed any creative writing school course? I took creative writing classes in high school and college, but it wasn’t my primary course of study. I majored in History and Liberal Arts, with a minor in Literature.
Question from Valentina Sunshine Campi, member of the Babette Brown reads for you Facebook Group: “Hello Marie, several of your books have now been translated into Italian language by Triskell, Amarganta and Dreamspinner Publishing Co. I guess you and Andrew Grey are those with the highest number of books translated into italian. What do you think about the Italian market? And about the italian readers? I Personally think that you are very loved over here from M/M readers. Big hug from Valentina.”
Thank you so much! It’s been really exciting seeing the books translated. I have books in several languages now, but I definitely feel like Italians are the most enthusiastic about the genre and my work. It’s been really wonderful. One thing I will say: I have so many Italian readers who send me lovely messages, and they always end by apologizing for their imperfect English (even when it isn’t imperfect at all). Trust me, if you can mange to write me a message, you have no reason to apologize for your grammar! I guarantee, your English is WAY better than my Italian. LOL
Question from Laura Bacci (Babette’s FB Group Member) “Hello, Marie, you may probably find my question a little trivial but since I love the Coda series very much, will you keep writing stories about your wonderful guys?”
At this point, I don’t have any other Coda stories planned, but I should also point out that I’ve said that at least three times in the past and then ended up going back. So, never say never. J
Question from Annamaria Babette Brown Lucchese: “Can you explain why most of the MM romance writers are women? And why there’s so much MM female readers?”
There’s a lot of speculation over this, and probably a dozen different answers. For one thing, I think romance in general has always been written and read almost exclusively by women, and more of them (both readers and writers) are moving over to m/m. I think a lot of us find a certain freedom in writing m/m. There’s something really nice about being able to write about love without worrying about the sexual politics of heterosexual relationships. It’s also surprising how often I go to Pride with my books and have gay men walk up and say, “I had no idea books like this even existed!” But the word is getting out. I think we’re seeing more of a balance now than we’ve had in the past.
Annamaria Babette Brown Lucchese: What gay people think about women writing MM novels and those MM stories published under this writing genre?
Reactions are mixed. Most people are very accepting. Some of them are thrilled. But there are certainly a few who really disapprove of women writing about gay men. Somebody starts a kerfuffle about every six to eight months, saying all the women in the genre should hang it up and go home, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.
Annamaria Babette Brown Lucchese: Do you think that style and contents are different if written either by a male or a female romance writing author?
I’ve heard so many people say over the past few years that they can tell the gender of the writer by the writing, but I think gender has far less to do with it than people like to think. For every person who says, “All men include too much sex,” there’s a male author who doesn’t. For every person who says, “All women make their male characters too much like women,” there will be a female author who doesn’t. It’s easy to make broad, sweeping generalizations, but there will always be somebody proving those generalizations wrong.
Do you have any project for the next future? My next release (in English, at least) is Winter Oranges, which will be out on November 30 from Riptide. It’s a really sweet little Christmas story. I’m very excited about that one. As for Italian releases, I’m not sure what’s up next. Probably something in the Coda universe.
As for what I’m working on right now: I’m currently finishing a story called Trailer Trash. I originally started it years ago and then put it on hold, but I always knew I’d finish it someday. It’s about two high school seniors – a preppy, new kid in town, and a local boy who’s from the wrong side of the tracks. It’s set in small-town Wyoming in the 1980s. I hope to release that in March. I also recently contracted a story with Samhain called Damned If You Do. It’s kind of a fun little comedic story about a devil who’s trying to win the soul of a young, devout tent-revivalist. That will be out in June.
Is there a question you would so much like to answer and nobody has asked you yet? I can’t think of anything! Thanks so much for having me on your blog today! J