Though I’ve managed to share the table of contents with Hank Edwards quite often, I can only aspire to be as prolific. Hank is another of my Saints & Sinners group of authors, people I’ve met through that wonderful festival, and I’m always glad when I get to catch a moment to chat with him. Though, it being New Orleans, I might not always have a full recollection of what it was we talked about.
This conversation, though, happened digitally, so happily it’s all here for you. Hank’s story, “Furball,” opens The Biggest Lover. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
We have all heard the term Rubenesque as a compliment for plus-sized women. The baroque painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens was fond of painting women of the day that were curvaceous and full-figured. The men in his art were not. What is the comparable term for men? Because not every gay man is obsessed with twinks who list the number of visible rib bones on their Grindr profile. Or men who can remember the number of reps at the gym but not their phone number. Some of us appreciate buying in bulk and that includes looking for love. Or just plain sex. Thank goodness for Bear culture which embraces girth. During Bear Week in Provincetown the stores do not even bother to sell clothes smaller than an XL and a man’s virility is often like the potency of moonshine: the more Xs on the jug the better, so XXXL is a chub in high demand.
It has taken too long for an erotica anthology to feature such men. As Girth & Mirth founding father Reed Wilgoren stated, “Just as people are coming out every day—men and women realizing their sexuality—new Bears and new Chubbies and new chasers are also evolving in the world. There have to be people waiting to embrace them and show them the way, much as who helped me to become what I am and who I am today.” It is our hope that readers who felt denied of attention and affection will read these stories and realize that love has no weight limit, no threshold, and neither should self-esteem.
NB: Capers, vampires, fluffer erotica where you’re laughing as much as you’re engaging… You have so many different tones and voices. It’s a good thing you’re so nice, or there’d be a tonne of jealousy aimed your way, you know. Was it fun to play with such a rarely seen theme with The Biggest Lover?
HE: Thanks so much for the kudos! I’m a fan of bears, and many of the characters in my stories are hairy, so that part of the story was a fun and comfortable fit. I tend to write longer fiction, so the word count limit was really the biggest challenge for me. I had to balance characterization, dialogue, plot, and, of course, the sex. After a few books with darker themes, I was in the mind space of something lighter and sweet. Hopefully I pulled that off!
NB: You definitely did. Also, there’s a kitty-cat, so you know I’m on board. And speaking of longer fiction, you revisit characters quite a bit in short fiction (and in your novel series). Do you go into a story intending there to be more tales, or do you have no idea if the character will make a comeback?
HE: For some of my longer works, like my crazy vampire/zombie/witch/Old West gay cowboys mash-up Venom Valley series, I knew it was going to be a series. I had a lot I wanted to do, but no idea just how long it would be. Sometimes the characters drive the series, like my new Critter Catchers humorous paranormal series, with a straight-gay friendship-to-possible-relationship that kind of just dictated several books. Sometimes, though, I do come up with a standalone story idea, and once it’s done the characters fall silent, so I know it’s time to move along to the next project.
NB: Like Dale Chase and Jeff Mann and Jerry Rabushka, you have a great deal of range in your format, too: novels, novellas, and short fiction. Do you have a favourite format? What comes first: the story, or the format?
HE: The story most often comes first, unless I’m writing for an anthology such as with The Biggest Lover. Story ideas are kicked off by a number of things: a line of dialogue might come to me, or the title of a story, or a scene. Once that happens the story will spin itself into a ghost of what it will become, and I’ll try to fit in all the elements in my head.
NB: Well, it definitely works. I love your writing. Thank you so much for dropping by!
For those of you looking for a copy of The Biggest Lover of your own, you can buy it direct from Bear Bones Books (an imprint of Lethe Press) at the website, here. Or, check Indiebound for your local brick-and-mortar. Or, as always, ask wherever quality LGBT books are sold.
Hank Edwards has over a dozen books published in a host of genres, from humor to paranormal to suspense to time travel romance. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter (@hanksbooks) to become a true “Hankie.” You may also visit his website at www.hankedwardsbooks.com.
He also writes a young adult series beginning with The Midnight Gardner, The Town of Superstition: Book One under the name R.G. Thomas, which you can learn about on Facebook.
Folks, I also want to add that in putting together this post, I read the description for the Critter Catchers and now I need it. Here it is (with a link to Wilde City Press):
Cody Bower and Demetrius Singleton have been friends for over twenty years even though they are polar opposites. Cody is tall, handsome, athletic, and straight, and Demetrius is average height, more of a thinker, and gay. They have started an animal control business together and have to figure out how to be business partners without letting it affect their friendship, but that’s the least of their problems. When one of their first clients ends up brutally murdered in what appears to be an animal attack, the two realize something big and dangerous is stalking their tiny town of Parson’s Hollow, and it’s up to them to catch it before it kills again.