An Interview with the Gentle and very Humble Gay Mystery and Thriller Writer, Joseph R.G. DeMarco

Author Joseph R. G. DeMarco

by Jon Michaelsen

Joe, thank you so much for taking time to answer some questions for members of the Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction facebook group. 

Let’s start off with, where do you live?

I live in Philadelphia which is a nicer place than most people imagine it to be. It’s a large and lively city with a thriving gayborhood. There’s a lot going on here but there’s always room for improvement. I’ve lived on and off in other places for short periods but Philadelphia is home base.

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As you probably know, writers rarely like to toot their own horns…lol, but what would you say is your greatest accomplishment

I’m not sure I’ve done whatever that “greatest accomplishment” might be yet. I’ve been involved in some pretty wonderful things, though. And I know some incredible people. I think having good people in your life is a great accomplishment.

So, I guess I’m not all that good at tooting my own horn. Maybe if I write a memoir and spill information about some of the juicier moments I’ve had and tell about some of the interesting people I’ve known. There was that time when…

Without getting too personal, would you share a little about your home life?

My home life is pretty simple, really. I live alone and with the exception of a brief flirtation with a family of hamsters, I have no pets. I think the hamsters will make a neat little chapter in the memoir.

I was in a long term relationship, but a number of years ago, my partner passed away as a result of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) which is a singularly terrible disease. It was a harrowing time for him. He was a wonderful person, an intellectual and a kind and generous man

I’ve been single since then. Single but looking. I’m open to exploring possibilities. If you’ve got any ideas…

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Can you share what inspires and challenges you most in your writing? 

Things that challenge and things that inspire are two sides of the same coin. I’m motivated and encouraged by good writing in the books I read. The worlds created in those books, the characters, the plots – all of it moves me to do better. I enjoy beautiful writing – and by that, I don’t necessarily mean flowery prose. Good solid prose that draws you in and transports you into another world for a while challenges a writer to work and rework his own material.

You have an incredible mystery/thriller series featuring the incredible hunk, Marco Fontana. How do you sustain serialized, continuing characters that keep readers clamoring for more? 

I guess the easiest answer to that question is to say that the characters live with me and are part of me so they don’t let me forget. What’s more, I like my characters and I enjoy writing about them. I think that’s an obvious requirement for a series – you’ve got to like the world you’ve created and the characters who people it.

Do you fly by the seat of your pants when writing or plot out your storylines in detail?

I do a bit of both. I like outlines and I like going with the flow. That works for me but not for everyone. Each of those approaches has its place in different parts of a project, so you may outline several chapters but as they evolve, they can take you in unexpected directions. I think that some people imagine outlining to be a rigid formula that doesn’t allow changes. And maybe that’s the way it is for some outliners. But it doesn’t have to work that way. It can be lots more flexible.

You recently published your first gay vampire thriller novel, A Warning in Blood. Is this the beginning of another series; what can you tell us about this?

A Warning in Blood from Lethe Press (http://tinyurl.com/kobgtwg) is a vampire thriller – it’s the first of a trilogy which introduces The Vampire Inquisitor Series. Vampires have been an longstanding interest of mine. I even did some academic research about vampire literature and young adult development from which several articles were published. But it took me a while to get a handle on the fictional world.

The following should give you some idea of what it’s about:

Step into the shadows with the first of a series that blends deduction with suspense… and blood. Dru Lorand is not a commonplace vampire – he’s an Inquisitor, chosen by the elders of a most sanguine and secret society. His role is to investigate sedition and punish treason among the undead, of whom there are clans, factions, and territories. He’s made enemies over the centuries. He’s dealt with many of them with the help of myriad assistants, even gargoyles as spies. But now a mysterious party has broken one of the cardinal rules governing vampire society.

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The first signs that something is wrong are small. They go unnoticed in the elegant clubs and refined circles inhabited by the vampire elite. But in the underbelly of the undead world, in those locations only certain humans and vampires can be found, there are those who notice. The danger is real and it is coming.

A terrible threat that could lead to madness unleashed on an unsuspecting world causes Dru to embark on an epic journey. From the posh clubs of Philadelphia to hidden monasteries in the Alps, bloodlines are being drawn and Dru’s fortitude will be tested as he discovers A Warning in Blood.

Have had you ever had to deal with homophobia after your gay novels are released, and if so, what form has it taken?

If there’s been any homophobia connected with the publication of my work, I haven’t experienced it. I think that in general gay and lesbian books are still second class citizens in the literary world, despite the progress we’ve made in other ways. This is partly due to the fact that non-gay people believe that a “gay” novel is substandard in many ways and doesn’t rise to the level of literature. There are a lot of reasons for this but it would take quite a bit of space to spell it all out.

Which living actor would you cast to play your protagonist, Marco Fontana, in your P.I series?

There are so many new actors popping up every day that it’s impossible to say. Most likely I’d either choose minor starlings who haven’t made a splash yet, or I’d opt for some totally new and unknown talent.

One thing is that if and when any of my books are made into movies, it’d be great to be in on the process from script to casting. Is that too much to ask? (Probably.)

Last question; can you share with us a little about your current release and/or WIP?

I forgot to mention one thing when I discussed A Warning in Blood in an earlier question. The back cover has a very interesting picture that caused a stir at the recent reading I did here in Philly. I’ll let that be a surprise for anyone who purchases a print copy.

(UPDATE: Just released, the 4th novel featuring P.I. Marco Fontana, Death on Delancey – out now from Lethe Press)

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On behalf of the Facebook Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Group, thank you for giving us a little of your time today, answering questions fans of the genre want to know.

Find Joseph R.G. DeMarco on the web: www.josephdemarco.com