This week, my accent is on a fine gentleman and terrific writer, Bryan T. Clark.
That’s a beautiful logo, Bryan. Warm and inviting. So…let’s get to know you and your work.
~~What ten words do you think best describe you personally?
Charismatic … Talkative … Introverted … Private …
Imaginative … Curious …
Discerning … Trustworthy … Thoughtful … Cautious
~~How about giving us a very brief overview of your life—where you come from, where you grew up, your schooling, a few places you’ve worked—whatever paragraph you feel best encapsulates you as an individual.
I think of myself as a funny, loving, family-oriented man and a proud member of the LGBTQ community. I was born in Boston and my family moved to California when I was young and I have lived most of my life in the Central Valley. I liked to write back in my high school days and had a friend who loved to write my words down as I dictated my stories to her. We are still friends today. My imagination is always at work when it comes to story writing. At a young age, I began my career in law enforcement and after twenty-seven years I retired in 2015 to focus on my writing full time. My husband and I have been together for thirty years and we have welcomed my mother into our home to live with us. When I am not writing, I enjoy traveling, lying by a body of water soaking up the sun, or watching a good movie while snuggled up on the couch with my beautiful husband and our loyal canine companion Nettie, the Sheepadoodle.
Sheepadoodle, eh? That tells me much! Those dogs are smart, affectionate, and just the other side of conventional.
~~Give us a quick look at your homoerotica novel or novels. If you have several, how about presenting them in chronological order with a sentence or two that best describes them?
Ancient House of Cards is about a young priest struggling with his homosexuality. He is forced to make a choice between who he thought he loved, and who he has come to love.
Before Sunrise follows Nicky O’Hare, the university swim team’s rising star. College life brings many new adventures for him, including a love affair with his coach.
Come To The Oaks is a historical pre-civil war romance: the story of Tobias, a young slave; and his master, Ben, as they fall in love during a time in our country’s history when such a union was forbidden.
Diego’s Secret is about the dichotomy of the lives of rich men versus poor ones, and the fear of rejection. Diego Castillo is undocumented and gay—two secrets he has never shared with anyone.
Those are some outstanding covers. Definitely a cut above the usual fare. In fact, the cover of Diego’s Secret hollered at me to buy it. I’ve put my review on a permanent page of this blog so folks can access it any time. https://bit.ly/2LNlpJZ
~~Bryan, would you describe yourself first as a writer of gay themes/characters; or first as a writer, period, without limiting yourself to any genre or sub-genre?
I’m definitely a writer of gay themes/characters. I try to infuse real emotions into real situations that someone in the LGBTQ community would face, whether it’s at their job, coming out to family members, or going against the grain of what is expected of them.
~~What is your opinion of exploring the angst of the gay lifestyle in your writing? Or do you write about characters who happen to be gay and whose sexual preference is not their most defining characteristic or even an important part of the story? Maybe some of both?
The angst of any of my gay characters or their ‘lifestyle’ does not always come from them. Yes, they are always dealing with the moral dilemma of what they are doing, but sometimes the fear or the anxiety they experience is caused by someone else, perhaps, a secondary character or by some other factor. In my first book, Ancient House of Cards, Father Morales’s fear comes from the church. Acting on his desires could ruin everything he has worked for and wanted in life, and yet the desires remain.
~~Many romance/erotica authors struggle with the bedroom stuff. Do you get turned on writing sex scenes?
Sex scenes are my least favorite to write. I don’t get turned on per se when I’m writing them. The initial draft is always so mechanical. It’s not until about the third draft when the emotions start to come through that it feels real.
~~What excites you most as a writer?
When I get that letter or email from someone who was touched by something they read from me. To hear that they resonated with something that I wrote, well that’s pretty amazing!
Agreed. Reader response is the blood pumping into a writer’s heart!
~~Describe your proudest moment or crowning achievement.
It must be between publishing my first book, Ancient House of Cards, and winning the 2017 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Historical for Come to the Oaks—as well as its being nominated for a Lambda award. I love this book and I’m very proud of it.
You have my congratulations and respect, Bryan!
[Editorial note: The Lambda Literary Awards (the “Lammys”) identify and celebrate the best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books of the year. The Lammys are probably the most prestigious of all the glbtq-centered awards, and Bryan’s historical romance was one of eight finalists in the category of Gay Romance.]
My own favorite word, beyond a doubt, is an f-word. So, I ask you,
~~What is your favorite word? Why?
Cock… I just love the sound of that word. It’s dirty and bold and there is no misunderstanding when it’s used. The word provokes an image that lingers in my head. Now I have to say it again… Cock.
Ha. You can say that again!
~~Now sell a book. Give us a reason to buy it. Present an excerpt (hot or not, your choice).
This scene is from Diego’s Secret. It’s one of my favorites because it reveals the nervousness both main characters are feeling during this encounter. Love can wreck even the most macho person:
It was about thirty minutes before Diego made his way around to the back. Behind the mower, he was wearing light-colored jeans and a V-neck black tee shirt. His baseball cap indicated he was a Dodgers fan.
Seeing Diego, Winston tried to breathe. The gardener was as cute as he remembered.
His eyes shielded by a pair of large sunglasses, Diego’s head thumped to the buds in his ear. Wheeling the mower from the walkway to the far corner of the grass, he walked the length of the lawn before making a U-turn and heading back down. On his third pass, he finally glanced up. Seeing Winston, he came to an abrupt stop and turned off the blades of the mower. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know anyone was back here.”
Winston tried to play it cool. “How are you?” With a flurry of adrenaline rushing through his body, he released a concentrated breath. Winston couldn’t avoid staring at the boot-cut jeans that molded themselves to the gardener’s thighs. The man’s small frame appeared solid, undoubtedly in shape due to the physically demanding labor of gardening. He was young, maybe in his early twenties. Winston’s desire to know, touch, and understand more caused his eyes to linger, and an unintentional smile stuck on his face.
“Um, okay . . . I come back tomorrow. I cut it then, no problem.” Looking down, Diego turned the mower completely off. Several short, jerky movements followed before his feet stilled behind his mower.
“No, that’s alright. You’re already here. I was about to go in anyways.” Winston slid his feet down onto the patio and slipped into his flip-flops. As he stood up, he inspected his surrounding area before remembering he hadn’t been wearing a shirt when he came out. He stepped onto the grass, closer to Diego. “I’m Winston, Winston Makena. I don’t think we’ve ever officially met.” Clumsily, he extended his hand to Diego.
Diego removed his work gloves before shaking Winston’s hand. “Hello. Diego. Nice to meet you.” Both held eye contact a little longer than normal as they shook hands.
Diego’s grip was strong, his hands slightly rough from working. Noticing the thick, long curls sticking out from under the gardener’s hat, Winston scrambled for his next words. His eyes darted down Diego’s jawline, which was strong, defined, and filled with tiny, dark whiskers that cascaded down his neck.
As he released Diego’s hand, the silence deepened between them. Winston swallowed, trying to moisten his throat. “Nice to meet—you.” Lost for words, he stood there for a second or two. “Okay, I’ll let you get back to work.”
“Okay,” Diego murmured.
With several long strides, Winston headed towards the house, where he was safe. He wanted to turn around and take one last look, but he didn’t dare.
Diego called out to him. “Sir, how is everything? The yard, is it okay with you? You like?”
Here’s a pic identified by Bryan simply as “me.” Well, Me, it’s a pleasure to have this opportunity to meet you and to share you with readers.
I want to wish you continued success, and happiness always.
Here’s another look at Bryan’s current crop of novels. Links are above, next to the books.
I’ll close with a few more images, up close and personal.
This is a splendid home right out of the pages of Diego’s Secret with two happy, handsome men. Now all we need is Nettie the Sheepadoodle…
Here are a couple of pics that Bryan didn”t know I filched from his album. Destination: New York City!