Rafe Jadison Interview

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I’d like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to perform this interview. Though my fan base isn’t as large as other reviewers, I appreciate how open and kind you have been since we first ‘met’, and I hope with this, you gain more readers. As I’m sure you can tell by my reviews, I’ve enjoyed each and every one of your stories and very much look forward to more. So, with that being said, let’s begin!

First all, tell us about yourself…

This is of course always the hardest question. I think as authors, we frequently discover who we are as we are writing. I’m male. I’m gay. I have a day job that I also love, and it’s one that takes a great deal of my time. I don’t only write in the romance genre, but as of now, I have only published in this genre. I was an English major in college who took a lot of fiction writing classes. I think writing grabbed me in my later teens, but I didn’t always give it the time I wanted until a few years ago. I had just finished a rather lengthy horror/paranormal novel when I started writing as Rafe, and I realized that I had probably spent a whole lot of time finishing the other novel. I realized that it was time to give my writing more of a chance, and so I did so. I live near water, and water has always been something special to me, a big part of my life. My parents taught me to swim at an early age, and I think that this special association with the water is probably why I write some of the things I do. My friends, like the books I read, are eclectic, with all sorts of different personalities, and probably not resembling each other in too many superficial ways, but all having some similar qualities in the fact that they are warm, open-minded, and caring people. I try to surround myself with people like that because I think it makes life more rewarding.

What inspired your love of writing? Was it another author in particular or was it something else entirely?

Like many people, I developed a love for reading at a young age, and I think that I am also from a generation where television was a constant venue for storytelling. My writing probably was spurred on by what may have begun as a young boy playing pretend, and somehow or another, those stories moved to paper. I remember this big bookshelf that my parents put in my room, and although part of me wanted it to reveal some secret passage, another part of me wanted to understand everything in it. Looking back, we had a lot of encyclopedias, reference materials, books, and magazines in my home. Most of it was probably non-fiction, but it let me know that there was knowledge just waiting for me to soak up. I can recall my parents, and other family members, reading to me, and so letting me use my imagination. I remember writing on and off in my life, but at about sixteen or seventeen, it became a major passion. I had also been studying theatre about that time, and I think that, combined with reading, opened me up as a writer.

Do you have a favorite author/book/series?

I have many authors that I love. Overall, I read eclectically. Every time I am asked this question, I find that there are new people I need to add to my list. Anne Rice and Louise Penny are two of my favorites. I have recently been reading Gillian Flynn, and I’ve enjoyed her writing. I read all of her novels in rather quick succession. John Irving is a whole lot of fun. Flannery O’Connor was a big influence in college, as was Toni Morrison, and I love to read them both to this day. I also enjoyed reading E.M. Forster’s Maurice when I was younger. It was nice to read an older work that dealt with gay characters and their lives. Amy Tan can hit me in a neat way that is both realistic and spiritual at the same time. I love Stephen King’s work and can get lost in it for days. J.K. Rowling is tons of fun, and so is Neil Gaiman. I can also find myself totally transported away by Charlaine Harris, Steven James, and Harlan Coben. Rick R. Reed is a new favorite whose diversity I find refreshing. Gillian St. Kevern and Morgan Sheppard are two indie authors who I have discovered and whose work has refreshed me. I am probably leaving out a million authors whose work I enjoy, but these are ones I can think of off the top of my head.

You write erotic m/m romance. Why that genre?

There are several things that probably encouraged me to write what I write. I started writing as Rafe thinking that I would try my hand at erotica. I quickly realized that for me, sex is best when people know each other, and so I soon realized that I was writing romances that happened to be erotic. I initially reluctantly read romances when I was a teenager visiting my older sister and ran out of books, but once I started reading them, I fell hard for them, especially the work of Jude Devereaux and Johanna Lindsey. I remember wishing that there had been romances for gay men. I grew up in a time where most of the books I found about gay men were tragic. There were rarely happy endings, and although those stories needed, and still need to be told, I also find that sometimes we need to read about hope. We need to see that things can work out well for gay men, and that there are Prince Charming type guys out there, and that not only can we be those guys, but we can also find them. I write for an adult audience, and I want adults of all ages to still be able to believe in love. People often tell aspiring writers to write the books that they want to read. I think after writing a few romances, I realized that that was exactly what I was doing.

What is your writing process? How long does it generally take you to complete a story?

My writing process varies. Sometimes I get an idea and jot it down, and save it for another day, if I happen to be in the middle of a different work. Often though, I get an idea, knock out a lot of it, and then outline the rest. I kind of revise as I go, often reading the whole thing before I sit down to do more. I try to write for an hour or two every day, but my day job has a habit of suddenly being exceptionally demanding so that I end up with weeks where I get very little writing done. Later, I may have a month or so where I am able to write every night. I will also occasionally see part of a story, jot that part down, and then come back with the other parts later. Rarely do I have to force myself to finish a section, but that does happen. From start to finish, my book completion time is really varied, with shorter pieces maybe being done in a couple of months, and longer pieces taking over a year or two. With Seduced by Shark Shifters IV: Mark’s Midlife, it seemed to take forever, as there were many things I wanted to get in there, but they came to me at different times, and I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to intertwine them. When I was done, I was pleased, but it took much longer than usual.

I’ve read a lot of paranormal romances, mostly vampires, werewolves, etc… What made you choose shape shifting sharks in Sharkshifters?

I am not really sure what made me write about shark shifters. I started writing the series in the summer, and I wanted to choose something that hadn’t really been done. Later, I realized that some other people had written about shark shifters, but I don’t think I knew that at the time. Sharks have always been fascinating for me in the way that certain things are. I love to look at them, and I find them to be strong, beautiful creatures. I have no desire to swim with them, but watching them from a safe distance is something I enjoy. I admire their ferociousness and strength. I also think that we are mucking up our oceans, and it doesn’t hurt to draw a little attention to the creatures that live in those oceans. I think many of us see the ocean as a romantic and tranquil place, and although it’s home to marine life, in many ways, it’s also our home, and I think we can do a better job keeping it clean. I don’t know that this idea comes out in my writing, but I often do try to point it out in my Tweets.

Of all of your stories, which one speaks/spoke to you the most? Any character that you still keep close to your heart?

I think that like many writers, I am attached to all of my work, and my characters, but in different ways. I really love the family in Reap This. I realized after writing it that I had named the father Rafferty, and I wondered if readers might suspect that I was that character. I am not, but I do love him and think he’s a wonderful dad. In reality, that family, and its friends, are probably a little similar to my own family, except for the fact that my parents were of a different faith. Rather than being loving pagans, they were loving Christians. The story was not based on any particular thing in my family though. Also, I adore everyone in the Seduced by Shark Shifters series, and usually you can find out who I relate to by reading the next book. I thought Tom was a character who needed his own book, so that’s where the third book came from. I also liked Stefano, so he has a much larger role in the fourth book in the series.

I’ve noticed that some authors use ‘catch phrases’ or ‘tag lines.’ Do you have one and if so, what’s the personal meaning behind it?

In my Seduced by Shark Shifters series, there is one phrase that I like to throw in as a clue to my reader. It usually comes toward the end of the book, sometimes almost the very end, and the phrase is simply, but that’s a story for another time. This my way of letting my readers know that our story will continue, but that the particular story mentioned is going to be told in another book.

As I read in your Smashwords interview, Rafe Jadison isn’t your real name. For those who haven’t seen that interview, why use a pseudonym? And how did you come up with Rafe Jadison?

I use a pseudonym for a couple of reasons. The main one is that I feel that my day job and my m/m romance writing are two very different worlds and not necessarily compatible. I think any time you are writing romances, especially ones with erotic scenes, there may be people who are going to have objections to your writing. I have never asked my day job for permission to write my books, nor do I plan to since this is done on my time, but I feel that it’s best to keep these two parts of my life separate, as neither is really representative of the other. I also like using a pseudonym because it helps me take things less personally. If a reviewer trashes work that is written as Rafe, it’s easier for me to emotionally distance myself from that at the end of the day, and keep writing without letting my entire ego shatter in one foul swoop. Why did I choose Rafe? To be honest, I had originally chosen another name, but I chose not to use that name when I found that social media had somehow linked it to my birth name and then to a former high school friend. Oops! I went back to the drawing board and chose Rafe. I actually prefer Rafe to the pen name I had originally chosen. To me, Rafe is kind of a sexy name, much sexier than the name with which I was born. As for Jadison, I liked the sound of it, and when I looked around, I didn’t find too many people with that name.

Aside from writing, do you have other hobbies you’re passionate about?

I love to read. I love to swim. I love to kayak, to hike (smaller trails, nothing Olympian), and to spend time outdoors. I also enjoy films and good TV. With that being said, I don’t put half as much energy into any of those things, or even the combination of those things, as I do into writing. Writing is definitely something that I love, and something that I could do all day if it were financially feasible. It is what I often do on vacation.

And finally, any parting words for your readers?

I guess I would like to thank my readers, and you, for reading me. Authors pour parts of themselves into each character and book that they create, and to find someone enjoying the imaginary world they have created is a blessing that makes us want to create more.

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