GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview: Adrienne Wilder m/m author + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Interview: Adrienne Wilder m/m author + giveaway

Today we have a special treat. I interviewed our first m/m author Adrienne Wilder. I am a big fan of gay romances and while it isn't everyone's cup of tea m/m stories usually have the biggest emotional impact for me. Adrienne's City of Dragons world is horrifying and beautiful at the same time. The first question I asked her was to describe this world. The answer is a little long, but it will give you an idea of what her stories are about. 

Adrienne also did all the artwork and covers you see here (except the 3 Gray Zone covers)

Sharon: You have created one of the most brutal and tragic worlds for love to survive in your Dragon Kin series. Tell us a little about it and why you made it that way.
Adrienne: The City of Dragons world is just like the world we live in: cell phones, cars, TV, reality shows. But the difference is that most of the large cities in the world are located around an underground hive type structure, referred to as the Dens.

Below the surface, lost in miles of tunnels, Kin fight their way out of the nesting grounds. There might be hundreds in a single clutch, but in most cases only one survives. He will kill and eat all of his brothers to earn his place on the surface.

When he gets there his fight for survival will continue. Sometimes he will be the dominant and feed and sometimes he will be the submissive and feed others. If he is too weak, he will be killed and eaten.

At their most basic, Kin are one of two things: sex or food.

A handful of Kin choose to become a part of human society. The rest stay inside the Dens or the area around it nick-named the Gray Zone. Because of how metaphysics work, most Kin cannot maintain true forms without devouring massive amounts of food. Human shapes are used because they take less resources and allow them to blend in better.

The Gray Zone is a conglomeration of abandoned buildings and forgotten streets left behind as the city withdraws from the area around the Dens and the Kin population grows. The Zone is its own world and works outside of human culture and laws. Whether or not a person is homeless or a criminal doesn’t matter. If they can survive they’ve earned their place.

Humans and Kin can occasionally produce offspring which are referred to as half-breeds. Most half-breeds are massive and barely more intelligent than the average dog. They are considered an abomination by the human and inhuman. Kin will kill them. Humans sometimes use them as entertainment by pitting them against each other in fights. But on occasion there are half-breeds who look human enough to integrate into society and go unnoticed. Any future offspring with a human woman will be tainted with Kin genetics. These second generation hybrids are known as Lesser-Breds.

The genetics involving Lesser-Breds reflects the Male to Female ratio in their pure bred ancestors. For every one female Lesser-Bred there are as many as a thousand males. Most female Lesser-Breds are never seen. Male Kin protect and covet them a lot like they would a Queen dragon.

Most people destined to become Lesser-Bred don’t know their fate until they enter the “shift” and “become.” The process involves their cellular make up taking on some metaphysical properties. Their “dragon” self rises to the top leaving metaphysical burns on their skin that can be a single scale or as elaborate as wings. These stains usually remain under the skin and resemble holographic images.

When a person “becomes” they will need to be brought across by either a Kin or a very Kin Lesser-Bred. Like their pure bred ancestors, Lesser-Breds need their own for flesh and blood. Most can never return to society and those who try are often killed by people who fear them.

Unlike half-breeds, Lesser-Breds can be used as “food.” This allows Males to live close to each other without fighting for dominance. Males who keep Lesser-Breds also use them to earn money through prostitution or use them as bodyguards for humans who become Links.

Considering the normal lives most Lesser-Breds begin with, integrating into Kin society can be traumatizing. Those individuals who cannot adapt, die.

There is no room for mercy in the Gray Zone. There is only doing what it takes to live.

In the majority of urban fantasy or paranormal worlds, the monsters are misunderstood creatures who just want to be accepted. They are more often than not, very human in their thought process, morals, and taboos. Readers can identify with their struggles and understand their desires. Feeling empathy for them is easy.

There’s nothing wrong with making a story like that and hundreds of authors do a wonderful job bringing those worlds and characters to life.

But that’s just it. Hundreds of authors are already doing it. Not many are willing to embrace the darkness. Fewer are willing to use it to build their characters.

My dragons are not people in scales. They are monsters and they act like monsters: beautiful, erotic, and dangerous.

Sharon: What kind of changes have you seen in the m/m genre. Good and bad?
Adrienne: I don’t think I have been writing in the genre (and I hate calling it that) long enough and for the same reasons as many others, to provide an educated answer. Also, I don’t pay attention to what people are writing or what the current trends are. I write, and I write what I want.
Sharon: why do you hate calling m/m a genre? Because UF is the genre and m/m is just the type of relationship in the book?
Adrienne: Something like that. I understand identifying the relationship in the book as m/m just for the sake of the reader, but by calling m/m a genre it separates it out from whatever genre it’s written in and casts it into a sub-genre.
Putting m/m into a sub-genre feels like segregation. As if on one side you have the “normal” genre and then over there you have the sub-genre of normal,m/m.

We don’t refer to m/f romances as a genre, they are just romances with m/f pairings. I think that the only way m/m will eventually become the norm is for us to treat it like the norm and put it right up there beside everyone else.

Sharon: Since I am assuming you aren’t a gay man, how do you research m/m relationships.
Adrienne: I’ve always been far more comfortable with writing male characters. Growing up I always identified with boys more than girls. In my head, I have always been a boy. I think that’s why I was bad at being a girl. 

So the “male” persona was far easier for me. Unlike female characters which I feel I have to strain to create.

As for the sex part---well they say to write what you know. Just because you aren’t born a cis-man doesn’t mean you can’t live like one.

Sharon: What do gay men think about your stories?
Adrienne: The ones who have contacted me or I know personally, have liked them. I even have several straight men who like what I write. But I think the men enjoy my books because of their plots and characters. 
I’ve had several readers tell me that I don’t write “romance,” and I have to agree with them. I write stories that contains love and devotion. Like violence and turmoil, love is a part of humanity. It’s just more often than not, neglected or glossed over in regular urban fantasy.

I also don’t consider myself true to the rules of “erotic romance”. The sex in my books is erotic because I am graphic and I want my audience to feel, taste, smell, see, what the characters do. This also means they experience violence and strife with just as much intensity.

I think because I don’t write in the rules of either sub-genre it gives me the freedom to not only create an erotic experience but to power that experience with unique characters and a multi-faceted plot.

Sharon: What is the appeal of m/m to you?
Adrienne: I never really intended to sit down and write m/m. Not just for the City of Dragon’s world and the Gray Zone but in general. But once I did, I found the characters easier to understand and transfer to paper. So all of my future stories became M/M. Most of those stories had been started once before with M/F pairings but I couldn’t get into the female POV. When I made both characters male, the story flowed. 

Darwin and Peter from Darwin's Theory
set in the Dragon City world
Sharon: Your stories make me cry. Do you ever cry while writing?
Adrienne: I am ashamed to say, yes. Not because I cry but because I cry at my own writing. For some reason doing it feels egotistical, like a comedian laughing at their own jokes. But there are times that a scene is so intense, disturbing, tragic, or beautiful I actually have to call a friend so I can break free. When I wrote JACK (a contemporary non erotic trans story) I broke down multiple times. So when readers wrote me saying they couldn’t finish the book because it tore them apart I totally understood. Many of the ones who did finish it admitted to making sure it had a happy ending first.
Sharon: I’ve done that with your books! Go to the end and make sure it is all okay or else I wouldn’t be able to continue <G>

Sharon: Your website is under construction so I can’t ask questions that pry into your personal life so you will have to do that for me… Give me your favorite:

Adrienne: Sweet potatoes and almond butter.
vacation destination? 

Adrienne: I took my very first vacation at Myrtle Beach this year. Not sure where else I would like to go. Definitely somewhere I can search for shark’s teeth or fossils.
pair of shoes? 

Adrienne: If you saw my feet you would understand what a loaded question this is. Let’s put it this way, my favorite pair of shoes are ones that fit.

Adrienne: Rock, alternative, some classical (as in symphony), and industrial.

Adrienne: I only use conditioner.

Tan M&Ms were replaced with Blue in 1995
M&M color? 
Adrienne: I haven’t eaten M&Ms in years. But for color purposes I like the tan ones just because they never got much respect. Remember the tan ones? Now I am showing my age.
Sharon: I remember! We can be old together.

Sharon: Farm animal (now think REAL hard before you answer this one <G>)?

Adrienne: Elephant.
What’s that you say? Elephants aren’t a farm animal. Try telling that to the people at my nearby Pet Smart who I’ve convinced that I own one and his name is Peanut.
Sharon: *facepalm* pssst…. Adrienne this site is called I Smell “Sheep” not I Smell Elephants… just saying ;)
Adrienne: I’m a bit Aspergers and tend to take things too literally. Even when I get the “joke” I still answer them literally. Either way my choice is elephant. Sheep have a baaaaad attitude.

Rapid Fire

Sharon: Pudding or Jello-o wrestling? 

Adrienne: Neither, waste of a great treat.

Sharon: business man or construction worker? 
Adrienne: I’ll take half and half, blue collar.

Sharon: symphony or Ho-down? 
Adrienne: Symphony.

Sharon: on the water or under the water? 
Adrienne: Underwater. 

Sharon: Coke or Pepsi? 
Adrienne: H2O
Sharon: there is a Coke/Pepsi war going on between me and Katie so which one do you think has the best looking can? 
Adrienne: You’re seriously fighting over a can? Good lord. To be honest I haven’t even looked at a can of Coke or Pepsi in years. But from what I can remember, Coke comes up with some pretty cute ones.

* Sharon hangs head while Katie does her victory dance*

Sharon: camp fire or bon fire? 
Adrienne: Bon fire.

Sharon: theater or rent it? 
Adrienne: Theater

Sharon: tragedy or comedy? 
Adrienne: As long as it has explosions I don’t care.
Sharon: lol! I am with you on that one too. I can’t wait to see Riddick. Hoping for lots of monsters and explosions <G>.

Thanks to Adrienne for stopping by to chat with us. She also has some stand alone urban fantasy novels as well as a contemporary one you can check out too. 
Seven releases Sept 23!

Living with Humans is never easy. They don’t do scent exchange, they don’t lick palms, and they have this thing called “personal space”.

As the first and only Kin Agent for the Center of Folk and Kin Relations, Haley Night’s job is to help keep the public safe by helping keep the peace. But after an interview with serial man-eater Niles Fury goes terribly wrong, Haley finds herself face-to-face with a plot to destroy her species-genocide.

With the help from her best friend and partner Farley, she sets off on a race against time to stop a madman’s plot to destroy Kin. It’s a journey that will put to the test everything she thought she knew: Kin have no God, survive at all costs, and love is only a Human emotion.

Welcome to Atlanta, Georgia… City of Dragons

About the Author:
City of Dragons Portfolio (this site has images of gay sex)

One winner will get a kindle version book of choice from Adrienne's backlist

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Loved the interview! City of Dragons caught my attention immediately. Kudos on creating a truly new world.

    It's now on my Kindle! Thanks for letting me know about this author and her work.

  2. I agree that M/M should not be reference as a genre or even a sub-genre. I thoroughly enjoy watching characters develop and I seem to get more caught up when its in a M/M relationship *shrug*.


  3. I really loved Adrienne's comment that m/m shouldn't be classified as a genre; it is really tasteless to do so. I love m/m romances because they seem so much more open and passionate. Perhaps it's because they are fresh to me, as an area that's relatively unexplored. M/f romances are known to me. I'm also really enjoying m/m/f ménages, for the same reasons as m/m romances. I do not enjoy m/f/f ménages simply because I do not share my man with another woman. Two men loving each other is so very romantic. Thank you for the wonderful interview.

  4. The character interaction seems more intense.

  5. The Dragon Kin series sounds fascinating! The characters are intriguing. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  6. This is a new author to me. Thanks so much for introducing us.

  7. Thanks for introducing me to Adrienne Wilder and her Urban Fantasy books :)

    I'd love to win this giveaway.

    I totally support you on not making m/m a genre but rather using that as way to inform reader the book revolves around two men. So m/f books should state that too :)

  8. I just love everything about them. I have all kinds of m/m books on my Kindle and read them all of the time.

  9. Hi! thanks so much for the Giveaway! I'v read a few books of f/f but never m/m, i'd like to read it.

  10. The they shouldn't but they should feel.