Ten Things about M.D. Neu - an Author Interview

A few weeks ago I got to chat with another amazing author whose stories bring m/m romance together with sci-fi, paranormal, fantasy and urban elements as they bring queer characters to life...

M.D. Neu is an international award-winning inclusive queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric, his husband of twenty plus years.

Let's jump right in and learn 10 more things...

Indie or Traditionally published? - Tell us how this works for you...
Currently, I’m published with a small publishing house, NineStar Press, they are wonderful. Like all small publishing houses, you have to do a lot of the work yourself, but they provide beautiful covers, top-notch editing, and some basic marketing/PR, which is helpful to get you started. I’ve also had the chance to meet some terrific authors from around the world and we end up helping and supporting each other, which has been a great.

The thing that people need to understand about the publishing industry is that it has its own time schedule. So, be prepared to wait and try not to get frustrated. Everything takes time. To get a book published can take upwards of a twelve to eighteen months, which can be stressful and is something that self-publishing has a lead on. However, having the professional editors and proofreaders is nice, because that is a cost I don’t have to absorb and can spend elsewhere. It’s the same with the cover art. That can be an enormous cost that I don’t have to pay, allowing me to allocate those funds to something else; like marketing/PR.

Tell us about your first… published M/M fiction/romance and then your most recent one..
My First M/M story was The Calling. It’s an urban fantasy/paranormal modern-day vampire story. I asked myself; how could vampires exist in today’s society with cell phones and cameras everywhere, as well as social media? One scene of a vampire attacking a person and the vampire would be all over social media. So, I pondered this idea and came up with the story, which I hope shows how they could be around today, in a believable way.

With the book being a vampire story, I knew there would be a romance, but I didn’t want the romance to be an insta-love thing. In this series, I wanted there to be a story behind the two characters. This relationship needed to feel honest. I think that is one thing M/M authors forget when they write romance, is that we need to treat these characters as if they are real people and not props to be used. When I write these characters, I want them to come from a place of reality, so I want the relationship to feel the same. And given the feedback and recognition these books have received, I believe I found a good mix.

Funnily enough, my most recent M/M story is the sequel and conclusion to The Calling, which is titled The Called. We continue the relationship with the two male characters and build on the world around them. In the sequel again, I wanted to focus on the story and not the romance, it’s there of course and we get to see a lot more of our main guys together, but I also expand on their world and show the readers how messy life (or in the vampire's case un-life) can be.

With this series people have really resonated with the characters and the relationship and several people have commented on how lovely the relationship is and how honest the romance scenes feel. So, those compliments have really made me feel great about the series.

Do you write full time or part-time?
I wish I could write full time, but sadly, book sales aren’t at that level yet, so I have a full-time job and work part-time on my writing. So, readers, feel free to buy a book or two, so I might be able to write full time.

Where do you write? Do you have a routine?
I do most of my writing either in our den of in the living room. Writing part-time doesn’t allow me to create much of a routine, however, I do a lot of my writing on the weekends or in the middle of the night. There are times I will wake up in the middle of the night with an idea or the characters will start demanding my attention, so I get up and write for a while and then climb back in bed. Writing like this isn’t ideal, but this process has worked.
What’s the hardest part about writing M/M romance or erotica?
The hardest part about writing romance, at least the kind of romance I write, is to know where to insert the romance section. For me, story and plot are the most important part to the book, so finding places to insert the romance elements can be difficult. For example, can the characters have a conversation in bed to show their closeness? Is this a good place for the couple to share a moment of intimacy? Does having the two characters find time to enjoy themselves make sense here?

In A New Word (Contact and Conviction), my Sci-Fi series, I had a difficult time showing the characters have any of these romantic moments because of what was happening around. After all, aliening showing up on Earth doesn’t give you a lot of time to run off to the bedroom. With that series I decided to not force a romance, and the romantic plot of the story became a slow burn, which I couldn’t be more pleased with. Along with the slow burn, I had the scenes fade to black, which again fit the story telling perfectly and readers were happy with how I handled the romantic elements for the series so far garnering me a win in the Rainbow Awards for Best Gay Alternative Universe/Reality & Sci-Fi / Futuristic.

I had a similar situation with T.A.D.-The Angel of Death technically this novella is a romance story, however, it’s a different kind of romance. This story is about lifelong friends who love and care for each other, but don’t have a romantic relationship. I wasn’t sure how readers would feel about that, and some didn’t enjoy the story, but most did. They saw the characters and the story for what it was, a story about love and friendship that spans a lifetime and how beautiful that can be.

So, for me, the hardest part about writing romance is finding the right mix of romance for the story and ensuring that the romance fits the narrative of the story.
What’s the hardest part about writing?
When it comes to writing, the hardest part is finding the time and the energy. As I mentioned, I work full time and my job can be demanding. Then there are all the additional things I have to do as an author; Marketing, PR, Advertising, Editing, Promotion, Social Media, weekly Blog Posts, quarterly Newsletter, Writing Groups, etc. Everything takes time, which eats into my writing time. Finding the time to sit down and write it tough. I do it, but not as much as I would like.
What made you decide M/M romance was the genre you wanted to write? Do you write other genres?
I want to show our diverse world. Representation is important, and I want to reflect this diversity in my writing. However, not everything I write is romance, but all my stories have some kind of romantic element to them. I love seeing people get together in an honest and open way. I enjoy watching how their relationship plays out. For me, it’s not about writing the sex scenes, even though I write them, it’s about the relationship. I don’t write erotica, that is for others to do, but for me I want readers to read about M/M relationship through the eyes of a gay man, a person who actually knows what these relationships are like. To show readers and the world that our relationships aren’t anything different from anyone else’s. That we are not all what you see on TV, on-line, in the movies, or even in some other books.
When it comes to what I write. I focus on Sci-Fi, Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal, all of which will have a romance as part of the story, because, as I said, I love seeing people get together and exploring how messy and wonderful that can be.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration is all around us. I’ve always had an active imagination and I’m constantly asking myself, ‘what-if’. What if vampires were real? What if aliens showed up tomorrow? What if an angel of death lost his wings? What if Vampires, Lycan and Arcane came to be, how would our world look in 100 years? What if there was a lost continent off the Pacific Coast? What if we still had giant Airships?
I find it’s always fun to experiment with what we know and the world of possibilities. Who knows what I’ll come up with next?
What do your friends and family think of what you write; do they know?
Oh yes, everyone knows I write. Even the people I work with, including my boss, in fact his wife (who is an Editor) came to my book launches and she talked about the publishing industry. So, everyone in my life supports me. My 83-year-old father reads what I write. Yes, I warn him, but he still reads all my books. I remember he told me, ‘well there better be sex in the story or how else are you going to sell books’. I couldn’t believe he said that. Thinking about his comments still makes me chuckle.
What is your favorite thing about writing M/M romance?
I love bringing my characters together and seeing how their relationship will grow and change. Will they stay together? Will they split up? Will they have a happily ever after? Often, I don’t even know. So, the process is fun. I also like knowing that what I write will find its way into people’s lives and their homes for them to read and enjoy. Maybe something I write will change how they feel about people. Perhaps one of my stories will resonate with them and they will finally be able to live their truth and not feel alone. Sharing my stories with people, even if they don’t always enjoy them, is a wonderful feeling.

Where Can we find you?:
Website: http://www.mdneu.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Writer_MDNeu

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mdneuauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormdneu/

Mailing List: https://mailchi.mp/ce975db93f5f/scribble-subscribers

NineStar Press: https://ninestarpress.com/authors/m-d-neu/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/66488958-md

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfGxw0RBSgsTiyYkA_UGhCw

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