Today I’m sitting down with Gregg Shapiro, another one of the many wonderful authors I’ve “met” through sharing a table of contents in Men in Love. I broached whether or not he’d be willing to visit my little corner in the short fiction world, and he was kind enough to chat with me about his piece.
Spring approaches with the promise of new beginnings, fresh adventures, and the thrill of romance rekindled or discovered. Hot, sexy guys abound—meeting on the ball fields or the boardroom, at the theater or the classroom—falling in love and lust for the first time or celebrating a lifetime. Come join the rites of spring and indulge yourself in the passion and pleasures of our luscious men in love. Stories from some of today’s popular m/m romance authors explore the many faces of men in love: gay for you, seductions, weddings and more.
NB: Hello, and welcome! First off, can you tell us a bit about your story in Men in Love?
GS: “6th & E” is set in the NE section of Capitol Hill in Washington DC during the mid-to-late 1980s. I lived in the neighbourhood at that time and it was still a bit edgy; bars on windows, etc. This was before the remodel of Union Station, which transformed the decrepit building and train terminal into a bustling mall and destination, was complete. The story is ultimately about flirtation and fidelity.
NB: I really enjoyed it—it wasn’t a “typical” story expected in a romance anthology (which is absolutely both a compliment to you and your writing as well as to the anthology as a whole, which really surpassed my expectations). When it comes to romance (be that as a writer or a reader), what’s something you always hope to find?
GS: Humor. I want to laugh and I want to be able to make readers laugh. Romance has to have a sense of humor.
NB: Yes! And, let’s be honest, love is funny. Y’know, when it’s not soul-crushing. Lastly, if you could submit to an anthology with any theme you’d like, what would it be? You’ve written a collection of Chicago stories, and How to Whistle just launched. What theme would you like to explore?
GS: Geography and place figure prominently in my work. The stories in Lincoln Avenue all take place in and around Chicago. The stories in How to Whistle are set in Chicago, Boston and Washington DC (three cities in which I’ve lived). I now live in South Florida which has begun to work its way into my fiction and poetry. I had a poem in Full Moon on K Street, an anthology of poetry about Washington DC edited by Kim Roberts and a poem in Windy City Queer, anthology of queer writers writing about Chicago. I suppose I’d like to submit work to place-related anthologies about Boston and Wilton Manors/Fort Lauderdale.
NB: It occurs to me that other than perhaps a collection about New Orleans, I’ve never read one devoted to a place before. I’m adding that to my list. Thank you!
If you want to snag a copy of Men in Love for yourself, you can get it directly from the publisher, Bold Strokes Books, here. Otherwise, you can always use Indiebound to look for your closest brick-and-mortar, or visit any store where quality LGBT books are sold.
Entertainment journalist Gregg Shapiro is the author of Lincoln Avenue (Squares and Rebel Press), GREGG SHAPIRO: 77 (Souvenir Spoon Press), Protection (Gival Press) and How to Whistle (Lethe Press). His interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBT and mainstream publications and websites. He is the co-winner of Seven Kitchens Press’s Robin Becker Chapbook Prize, and his chapbook, Fifty Degrees, was released in May 2016. Sapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his husband Rick Karlin and their dog k.d.