Featured Author: Jerry Wheeler is the editor of seven anthologies of gay erotica for Bold Strokes Books, Lethe Press, and other publishers. His collection of short fiction and essays, “Strawberries and Other Erotic Fruits,” was published by Lethe Press is 2012 and was one of his three appearances on the shortlist for the Lambda Literary Award. He lives and writes in Denver, Colorado, maintaining his review blog, “Out In Print: Queer Book Reviews” (https://outinprintblog.wordpress.com/) and his own editing business, Write And Shine (https://jerrywheelerblog.wordpress.com/).
Featured Author: Jerry Wheeler Interview
- How long have you been writing?
- What/who inspired you to be a writer?
- What genre do you prefer to write in?
- Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?
- What is your daily routine as a writer?
- What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?
- Do you have a set number of words each day or a goal?
- How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?
- Do you prefer short stories or full-length novels in your writing?
- Can you give some us some insight into your story?
- What advice can you give other writers?
LHP: How long have you been writing?
Jerry Wheeler: Since I was ten. The first story I remember finishing was a haunted house epic complete with severed heads in an oven. My teacher commented on my creativity and really encouraged me. These days, they would have called Child Protective Services.
LHP: What genre do you prefer to write in?
Jerry Wheeler: I guess you’d call it urban fantasy, but that’s not all I write.
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LHP: What/who inspired you to be a writer?
Jerry Wheeler: Edgar Allan Poe (see the first question). I was intrigued by the cover of a collection of abridged Poe stories I checked out of the school library, and I fell in love with the macabre. I saved my allowance and bought a hardcover volume of UNabridged stories, horrified to discover someone had taken my beloved tales and overlaid a whole bunch of words on them. Big words. Some in Latin or French. Here I was, this ten year old faithfully copying down the French or Latin epigrams Poe used to lead off with and taking them to teachers to translate. I worked and worked on those unabridged stories until I finally understood they were the same as the ones I’d loved, but the architecture was different. From then on, I was hooked. I had to figure out how to do that.
LHP: Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?
Jerry Wheeler: I’m a pantser. If I outline the thing, it doesn’t breathe for me. And I always start with the title. If I don’t have the right title, I have nowhere to go.
LHP: What is your daily/weekly routine as a writer?
Jerry Wheeler: I’m a morning writer. I shoot for 500 words a day, though sometimes the arrow falls short.
LHP: Are there any software tools, resources, or websites you use often while writing?
Jerry Wheeler: I try my best to stay off the internet while writing.
LHP: What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?
Jerry Wheeler: I wish I could more organized, but I’ve come to realize that’s just not how my head works. It’s awfully messy in there, but somehow I manage to order my chaos.
LHP: Do you have a set number of words per day you target? or do you set other goals to meet?
Jerry Wheeler: As I said, I try to do 500 words a day, but I don’t beat myself up if I don’t hit it that day. I find I don’t do a whole lot of revision, so although I write slowly, I write for keeps.
LHP: Do you prefer short stories or full length novels in your writing?
Jerry Wheeler: All I’ve published so far has been short fiction or essays. I love that form, and it’s not escaped my attention that Poe never published a full-length novel in his life. My first one, however, is nearing completion.
LHP: How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?
Jerry Wheeler: Not much. Since much of my work is for the niche LGBT market, and I know many of the publishers through my book review blog (Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews – https://outinprintblog.wordpress.com/), my queries are usually pretty informal. Sometimes I write for calls, sometimes I don’t.
LHP: Can you give some us some insight into your story?
Jerry Wheeler: Absolutely. My good friend and brilliant author ‘Nathan Burgoine had written a story called “Necessary Evils” for an anthology we’d both submitted something to and had posted that title on Facebook. Scrolling through in a hurry, I misread it as “Necessary Elvis.” He then corrected me and challenged me to write that title. I hooked it up with the talent vampires featured in the novel I’m writing (called “Pangs”) as well as a news article I’d read about a church exposed at the bottom of a lake when it dried up, and somehow that’s how the thing was born. Order from chaos.
LHP: What advice can you give other writers?
Jerry Wheeler: Read. Write. And if you self-publish, for the sake of humanity, hire a professional editor. Like me. Here’s my website – “Write and Shine” – https://jerrywheelerblog.wordpress.com/
Jerry Wheeler recently authored “Necessary Elvis” for Terrors Unimagined on sale now.
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