Colton Aalto joins me today to talk about his story from Men in Love. Colton’s another “new-to-me” author, which is the best part of anthologies for me: finding new authors to read! Even better? This is a debut short fiction.
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: Welcome! Tell us a bit about your story in Men in Love. Where did the idea come from?
CA: Professor Sanders, who appears at the beginning of the story, actually exists, although I’ve changed all of his particulars, other than his being incredibly sexy. As the story suggests, if you troll the internet, you’ll find college student surveys of the sexiest professors and he’s on those lists. In much of my writing, I start with an image or a fleeting experience and develop the story from there. So I started with Sanders, but I wanted to take the story in a different direction than the obvious – having Skylar and Sanders end up together – and instead create a surprise. Skylar is enamoured with Kiel and Leland, but it never crosses his mind that a threesome with them is an option, until they suddenly propose it. Oops, I’ve just given away the ending! So much for the surprise.
NB: One of the best things about anthologies is how many new authors I get to meet, and I think this is your first publication. Has the short story bug bitten you? Are there more underway?
CA: You’re right; if you exclude legal treatises (and why wouldn’t you?), this is my first publication. I’m excited, and I want to thank Jerry Wheeler for the opportunity. I have a file full of stories and books I would like to see published, but my attention span is too short (whose isn’t in the era of internet overload?), so too many of them aren’t quite finished.
NB: Heh. The plot bunny problem. I’m there.
CA: The best thing for me is to go on a long bike ride or spend a day skiing or sit through a symphony; without distractions, I can work through a plot in my mind or create a scene of dialog. My other problem is that I’m a tinkerer when it comes to writing, so I can’t stop re-reading my work and changing this word or that, or tweaking a scene a bit, maybe introducing a new character. For me, deadlines are a good thing. But I’m hoping to get more of my stories and books across the finish line and into publication.
NB: I await them with anticipation. If you could wave your magic wand and make an anthology call with any theme appear, what would you like to take a crack at? Is there a theme that you’re itching to write?
CA: Surprise! As with my story in Men in Love, I like elements of surprise in fiction. I’m not keen on stories or books in which the reader knows from the first word how the story ends, and the only mystery, how the characters get there, is predictable. Will Bob and Joe get together? Of course they will, it’s a HEA romance… I’d like my readers to think, “Wow, what an awesome plot twist; I didn’t see that coming!”
NB: Well, here’s to more happy surprises! Thank you.
If you want to nab 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.
Colton lives in a century-old brick warehouse in Denver with his husband and two spoiled cats. After collecting college degrees for a decade and a brief criminal justice career, Colton left the east coast for the sun and ski slopes of Colorado. He practices law, except on powder days.