The story is about a bounty hunter who falls in love with his mark and that has been the plot line for over ten years. That’s really the only thing that hasn’t changed since 2003 when I started writing it.
When I was in high school, I was a campy fool. The biggest proof of this is a novel I wrote called “American Dreams.” This was maybe my third or fourth novel and since I was under 18 and writing about sex it was complete shit. Some bits were salvageable (there’s a particularly nice scene in a basement/volex engine room which made it into Evasive), but some were laughable.
For example, Elliot, the criminal, was actually innocent in the original. He was an English teacher who had fled Victorian England and it’s anti-gay laws to live in pre-colonial America ( the education system isn’t that bad, I’ll explain in a moment). Before he managed to flee, he married a lesbian who left him in America to adventure. She missed him before long, though, and hired a bounty hunter to get him. The hunter thought Elliot was a con artist and Elliot had no idea what was going on; he was just a horny kid. I mean, I was- I mean… He was conflicted! Yeah. That was my plot.
As it turned out, that story was incredibly important to my career as a writer. The fledgling world Elliot and Alik (the original bounty hunter) inhabited had debuted in a different mess of a novel, but their literal journey that these two took as they walked and fucked all the way up the east coast got me planing and thinking. This story was my first trek into world building and one of the things I hear most often praised in my workshops is my ability to build a world.
The World of the Sectors
For example, I “discovered” Alik was not Alex because the midwife was illiterate. Elliot sees a broken and decayed statue of liberty (I know it’s a cliche, but I couldn’t resist in the new novel, either). There’s even a museum in homage to the fall of America. It was not a mistake that had someone running away from the Victorian ages and into a land inhabited by Native Americans and 1930’s gangsters.
In the ten years after this first adventure in camp, I would build and mold the world of the sectors into the complex future society that you’ll find in Evasive Love and in the other stories that inhabit that same world. Some of my favorite sectors include, Albion, which is a society that combines American materialize and media obsession with Steampunk/Victorian sensibilities, Cirque, which is an anarchy of castes and clowns, and Dockside, which is a mobile fishing community with an accent that is a mix of Louisiana’s Cajun and Northeastern Maine.
First Draft Hunted
I always meant to return to American Dreams and make Elliot into a serious character, a real criminal. I thought it would be fun to explore the moral dilemmas of falling in love with someone you are sending to prison.
Apparently, so did the people at Ellora’s Cave. One day back in 2012, I’m thinking sometime in October, I was scanning contests and content calls when I saw Ellora’s Cave asking for a story of any heat level, any pairing, about bounty hunters. I was intrigued because I remembered the campy old thing I had written in high school. With no serious thoughts of being published, I started to write it.
With in two weeks I had a first draft. I edited, pared down, read and reread until the deadline for submissions came. I spent the week before the submission deadline, checking and double-checking the guidelines, my query letter, my blurb. I submitted it and moved on. I’ve been submitting and moving on for a while now. I wasn’t expecting much.
Then in January, I found out I wasn’t rejected.
Once I got over the dancing and shouting at Skype (Sweetness was across the ocean when I received the joyful news), I puzzled over the draft I had sent. The one complaint I was given was that the language and sex scenes were too mild.
I was floored by this. I’ve been publishing pornography since I was in college and I always thought the difference between a romance novel and pornography was the language. I had no trouble fixing that; now it’s got reviews about how hot it is.
For the next eight months, my editor and I struggled through the monster that became Evasive Love. I was stunned by the sheer amount of errors that I hadn’t caught, little things I never thought about, and how incredibly inflexible the human body actually is during sex (oh yeah I guess that does kinda sound like he’s wrapping his spine around Kavan… hum, better fix that).
Coming Out as Gay Erotica Writer
By far the hardest thing that came out of this novel (besides your dicks, you sick freaks ) is explaining to my friends and family what all my work has been for. The inevitable question that comes after the statement, ‘I have a book coming out’ is ‘congratulations. What’s it about?’
I don’t think any other genre writer faces the potential embarrassment and judgment from that answer. Every writer faces criticism whether constructive of not, but few of us are actually risking revulsion with the answer. More than once I’ve muttered, “It’s a romantic sci-fi about a bounty hunter who falls in love with his mark” and quickly changed the subject to the writing process or anything else. I’ve never been so closeted. Yet, I can’t stand having something I’ve worked so hard for met with a sneer and a “Why would you want to write that?”
I have a lot more to write on the topic of shame and sex in America, the inequality given to romance and speculative fiction, and closets in general, but for now I’ll leave off with a very enthusiastic:
It’s a very explicit erotic science fiction romance about a bounty hunter who falls in love with the male criminal he’s after!