Author Josh Lanyon interviewed by Jon Michaelsen
Josh, 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 sunny Southern California. So Cal is pretty much its own world. You have the extremes of Beverly Hills, the movie industry, and then very remote, redneck areas — which is where I live now.
As you probably know, writers rarely like to toot their own horns, but what would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
I think my greatest accomplishment is simply being able to support myself comfortably as a writer of fiction. That’s actually pretty rare, even these days. I’m able to do what I love for a living and I’m my own boss. How many people can say that? And on top of that, I’m successful enough at it to be able to help out my parents and family when they need it. That means a lot to me.
Without getting too personal, would you share a little about your home life?
I have a very patient and very supportive SO. Mostly my life revolves around work. I pretty much work all the time. Even my vacations are based on places I plan to write about. When I’m not writing, I’m dealing with all the other stuff: translations, audio books, the details of publishing, marketing, promotion. My work is my passion. That said, I’m trying to be better at taking evenings and weekends off.
Do you fly by the seat of your pants when writing or plot out your storylines in detail?
I plan things out, but not in detail. I like a general outline. It keeps the story focused and on track. But the details change because the story naturally evolves as it grows. The best part of storytelling is giving yourself over to that tide of imagination, letting it sweep you along. I love that creative rush. But I still like to keep an eye on the coastline.
Have had you ever had to deal with homophobia after your gay novels are released, and if so, what forms has it taken?
I get the occasional piece of hate mail, and I’ve been turned down for a few projects, but I use a pen name so my personal and professional life stay separate. I have more trouble with stalkers than anything.
Which novel and/or series was the most fun to write?
Well, they all have their pleasures and their pains. The Adrien English series was the first series I wrote, and so there was a beautiful freedom in not having a clue about what I was doing. Plus I feel a sentimental attachment to Adrien and Jake. The Holmes & Moriarity stories are classically structured mysteries, so that’s fun and intellectually satisfying. And the Dangerous Ground series is very much pulp fiction action-adventure. Those are the easiest to write because of their high octane episodic nature and the focus on emotions and sex.
The Adrien English mystery series is by far what fans have come to know you for. Why did you choose to end the series with the release of The Dark Tide?
This is where keeping an eye on the coastline is useful. J All the major character arcs and plot lines are resolved by the end of The Dark Tide. For me, that’s the signal to bring a series to a close. I wanted to go out on a high note.
It’s not easy though, which is why most writers wait too long to pull the plug. We all come to love these characters and the worlds we’ve created. It’s tempting to stay just a while longer. But the danger of waiting too long is that sales start to decline, and there is actually less interest in your new projects because you’ve already started to lose the attention of all but your most fanatical readers. It’s tricky because it takes a while to build interest and readership for a series, so it can be hard to tell whether you’re still growing or whether interest is already slipping!
You are a stunningly prolific writer, with several ongoing series, stand-alone novels and short story releases? How do you manage both writing and self-promotion so seamlessly?
See above — in particular, that part about not having a home life. J You can’t have it all. For me, it’s the personal stuff that gets shortchanged.
Fair Game is my favorite mystery/thriller novel you’ve written. (You knew I’d have to ask since I’ve bugged you before!) Is there a sequel in the works with ex-FBI agent Elliot Mills?
Yes, indeed. Carina Press is publishing Fair Play, the sequel to Fair Game, in November of this year. (JM-OMG! I can’t wait; I so loved Fair Game and always felt it needed a sequel.) Have you considered a serial with Elliot Mills?
I never really thought about Elliot Mills as a series character. He didn’t have much in the way of unresolved issues at the end of Fair Game — and his relationship with Tucker Lance is pretty straightforward. But I loved the story possibilities of his father’s radical past, and so that’s what drives Fair Play. Also Tucker’s background seemed like it might have some interesting possibilities. But I think after Fair Play, that will be it.
I’ve got an M/M romantic suspense novel coming out from Carina Press on May 5th. It’s called Stranger on the Shore, and it’s about a young reporter who is invited to a decaying Long Island estate to investigate a long-ago kidnapping. Most of the family does not want him poking around — and someone is willing to do pretty much anything to stop him.
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.
Thanks for inviting me, Jon!
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