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GRNW Author Interviews > GRNW Interview - Ginn Hale

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message 1: by ttg (last edited Jul 21, 2013 10:00AM) (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
We’ll be interviewing GRNW Attending Authors all summer as we prepare for the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up on September 14 in Seattle.

Please feel free to join in and ask your own questions for the authors!

GRNW interviews Ginn Hale - Part 1!

GRNW: Your first novel Wicked Gentlemen is a wonderful genre mix of fantasy, steampunk, and mystery. Where did the inspiration come from for Belimai and Captain Harper’s story?

Ginn: Hmm… Inspiration is so hard to pin down. I’m sure that Sherlock Holmes very much informed the opening of the book. Certain hard qualities of both Harper and Belimai came from friends of mine. But beyond that I think most of the story just grew up from its own world.

I tend to write specifically for friends and often they, more than anything else, become the inspirations for my books—or at least the inspiration for me to keep working on the books!

The novel is broken up into two novellas with two different (but connected) mysteries. When you started Wicked Gentlemen, did you already have that kind of structure in mind for the story? And how long did it take you to write?

I always start writing with the end of the book already nailed down, so I knew what was going to happen and how I wanted it to happen, but after I completed the first mystery I realized that Harper would be a better narrator for the second half of the story. He could be more directly involved with the action and he had more at stake.

I think it took me a good year and a half to write Wicked Gentlemen. I’m not the kind of author who has the words just pouring out of her. I often delete more than I write.

Wicked Gentlemen was a finalist for the Lambda Literary award and won the Gaylactic Spectrum Award for Best Novel. What was that like to have your first novel garner so much (well-deserved IMO) attention?

I was stunned and utterly unprepared. I still tend to feel a bit shy about it.

I’m a big fan of your two-part novel series Lord of the White Hell. The books tell an enthralling story that mixes school intrigue, culture clashes, fantastical machines, and a very gripping and meaningful romance. Where did the ideas for this series stem from?

I’d just spent five years writing The Rifter and I really wanted to write something that wasn’t quite so dark. One of my friends asked me to set a story in a boy’s school and another wanted something with horses… (You can probably guess that Astrid made the horse request. :D)

I’d also been reading a fair amount about Moorish Spain as well as the Jewish Diaspora and it all sort of came together into Lord of the White Hell.

Lord of the White Hell is really one story that is broken into two volumes (that were released very close together.) What went into the decision to publish as two volumes? And how long did it take to write the full story?

It took me two years to write Lord of the White Hell. The decision to publish it as two volumes was pretty much a matter of necessity. The story was simply too large to fit in one print volume economically.

At the time I thought that maybe it wouldn’t see publication at all, but then Nicole Kimberling suggested releasing it as two volumes. I was delighted.

I won’t spoil, but I will give a heads-up to new readers that Lord of the White Hell vol.1 had a bit of a cliffhanger ending. The two books were published one month apart from each other. In that one month, did you get any angry, shaking fist fan letters from readers?

I specially requested the very short time between the release of volume one and two, for just the reason you mentioned. I hadn’t built a cliffhanger into the book when I wrote it and I have a great deal of sympathy for readers who become frustrated when a book just stop at a critical point.

Even with only a month lag between the two volumes I still had a reviewer who complained, but I found that most readers were quite generous and accepting. I only recall having to reassure a few people that everything would work out by the end of the second book.

Check out the next post for MORE interview with Ginn Hall, but before that, some beautiful art from the Japanese version of Lord of the White Hell!

Lord of the White Hell 1

Lord of the White Hell 2

More pics behind the spoiler tag! (view spoiler)


message 2: by ttg (last edited Jul 21, 2013 09:54AM) (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
GRNW interviews Ginn Hale - Part 2!

Speaking of series, let’s talk about The Rifter! This is your 10-part serial fantasy novel that started publication in March 2011 and finished with part 10 in December of that year. I think it’s somewhere around a 1,000 pages of awesomeness, but I might be off by a few pages. How long is it? And was it difficult to keep track of all the details in such an involved story?

Yeah, you’re right on the money. The Rifter weighs in at 1,200 print pages, (longer if you include the all the supplementary dictionaries, character lists and maps).

It took me a solid five years to write and I had to put together a little ‘travel guide’ as well as character lists, and time lines to keep everything straight. The outline for the book took up most of a 24x36 page of newsprint.

I love the book but sometimes I have nightmares about having to write it again.

Where did the ideas for The Rifter come from? (And I heard that you wrote this before Lord of the White Hell? Is that true?)

Your source is correct. I wrote The Rifter first but couldn’t find a publisher for it so I moved on to Lord of the White Hell. At one point I threw the entire Rifter manuscript away because it took up too much memory on my rickety old computer. (Fortunately a few copies were still drifting around in my writers group.)

Then Nicole Kimberling, (editor at Blind Eye Books), and Gavin Grant, (owner of Weightlessbooks.com) started kicking around the idea of publishing a digital serial. Nicole remembered my giant manuscript and realized that it was long enough to run for nearly a year; the massive behemoth was reborn as ten slim volumes.

The core ideas for The Rifter were floating around in my head for decades—a hidden destroyer god and two characters who cross timelines and end up ruining and saving one another’s lives. I toyed with outlines for the book for a while, trying to build up the courage to commit myself to a story that I knew would take years and years to write. (When your outline is the size of a throw rug it can be a little intimidating. :D)

But I kept stalling when it came to the character of John. He’s the core of the book and the embodiment of key contradictions—an atheist god, a humanitarian responsible for countless deaths, invincible and at the same time deeply vulnerable. And as a point of view character he needed to possess an almost innate ability to go unnoticed, observe everything around him and at the same time win friends and inspire devotion. I just didn’t know if a character could do all that and still seem believable.

Then one evening I was hanging out with my friend Jeff at an old school punk coffee shop. A fairly large and diverse group of acquaintances joined us and, as the evening went on, I witnessed Jeff effortlessly evade personal inquiries—he wasn’t out at the time—while inspiring an easy rapport in others. He caught cups before they could topple over and provided cream and sugar before they were requested. He knew what everyone was drinking, who claimed not to smoke but carried a lighter and who still wore a trace of the stamp from gay club across the street on the back of his hand.

Jeff was always observing, I realized. Always anticipating the needs and desires of others, both for their sakes and also to protect himself from them. That’s when I knew exactly who John was and how to write him.

And thankfully Jeff was generous enough to allow me to use him as a model.

Releasing the Rifter as a serial must have been very fascinating, because you knew where the story was going, but the readers didn’t. What was it like to watch readers discuss the developing saga?

It was wonderful and humbling all at once. The readers were so quick and in some cases came up with much better ideas than I’d had. I loved chatting with them about each volume and I was incredibly touched when they threw a party for the release of the final book.

Any future plans for another serial?

No plans, but I do tend to produce large stories that lend themselves to serial publication, so it could easily happen again.

You’ve contributed to the excellent shared-world urban fantasy anthologies Hell Cop vol. 1 and 2 and Irregulars. What was it like for you as a writer to play in a shared world that included overlapping characters from other stories?

Going into these projects I’m always a little intimidated. I love working with writers who are better than me because I learn so much from them, but I always worry that I’ll “sink the ship”, as it were.

However, once we’re all writing the camaraderie is amazing and inspiring! I stop fretting and just have a great time.

I loved “Half dead” Henry, the main character in your Irregulars novella “Things Unseen and Deadly”. Talk to me about him, and what inspired you to write his story?

I’m really glad that you liked him! I wasn’t at all certain how he’d go over with readers when I started writing the novella.

This may sound strange, but Half-Dead is very strongly based on my own father. He was a rough, raggedy man who came from a very violent history. The past haunted him all his life but it also informed his intense tenderness and empathy towards outcasts and survivors of all kinds.

He would have gotten a kick out of being the romantic lead in a gay story; when he first met my wife he told her that every time lesbians kiss an angel gets its wings.

A lot of your work falls into the speculative fiction genre. Are there other genres that you’ve wanted to experiment with?

I really admire a number of other genres—mystery, humor, and historical, just to name a few—but I don’t know that I could write in any of them. I’m still very much working on my craft and exploring the possibilities of science fiction and fantasy.

How do you like to write? Do you focus on outlines first? Do you grab an image or scene and start from there?

I tend to start with a conflict and then build a world and characters around it. Every once in a while I’ll start with a character or a setting but there’s always some kind of conflict as the core of both.

I work from outlines and though I may deviate from them at certain points, the ending is always solid. I always know where I’m going and how the story will resolve. Often I outline from the ending backwards to the beginning of the story. Somehow reverse engineering seems easier to me. Maybe it allows me to trick myself into believing that the completed book is inevitable!

Can you talk to us about some of your upcoming works? What can readers look forward to?

Currently, I’m working on a book set in the world of Lord of the White Hell. This novel follows Elezar’s adventures in the north, where he not only encounters witches, trolls and shape-shifters but he’s reunited with Javier and Kiram. I’m have a good time building the more untamed magic of the Mirogothic forests as well as exploring the way the Hellions have grown up since they were youths together at the Sagrada Academy.

There are two rough draft chapters up on my blog (http://ginnhale.livejournal.com/13800...) if anyone cares for a sneak peek.

After that I’d very much like to tackle an aquatic world that I’ve been thinking about. And there are also two novellas I’ve been scribbling away at—one about the terraforming of a carbon dioxide based world and the other about the later lives of child-heroes—so one or both of them might show up sometime in the next year.

Last question (from me. GRNW followers can jump in after this.) We’ll have a lot of readers at the September GRNW Meet-Up in Seattle, and it’s always interesting to hear what authors like to read and would recommend. What gay romance titles are some of your favorites?

I tend to recommend authors rather than books because, as readers, all our tastes vary. (A weremoth story may be just what I’m looking for but a little too weird for someone else.) However, most authors have a variety of titles and if one doesn’t appeal another probably will.

Obviously, I’m incredibly biased towards the authors I’ve worked with on the shared world projects: Astrid Amara, Nicole Kimberling, and Josh Lanyon. I’ll buy anything they write. I have my favorites but I’ve never been disappointed by any of them.

Most recently I’ve enjoyed reads from Alex Beecroft, Harper Fox, Lou Harper, Megan Derr, and Jamie Sullivan. I’d particularly recommend them to M/M readers interested in more fantastical tales.

Thank you, Ginn, for sitting down with us! It was wonderful to talk with you!

July 25 - GRNW Reading Event - Seattle

And for those around Seattle, you can see more of Ginn on Thursday, July 25 at the University Book Store for our first GRNW reading event, "Zero Gravity's Rainbow: Four Writers who blend Science-Fiction, Fantasy, and Gay Romance," which will feature Astrid Amara, Angela Benedetti, Ginn Hale, and Laylah Hunter. Learn more at our website: http://gayromancenorthwest.wordpress....


message 3: by ttg (last edited Jul 21, 2013 09:52AM) (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
Special thanks again to Ginn Hale for talking with us!

If you have questions for Ginn, please feel free to ask here. This thread is open to questions. :D


message 4: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Lou wrote: "I'm awed by you and Astrid writing such epic stories. Do you ever run out of steam in the middle of one? If so, what do you do to get back into the writing groove?..."


Yeah, epics can be kind of brutal on the brain. I tend to get really worn down in the last third of my projects. I tend to listen to the same song or songs over and over to keep my mindset in the novel... and I just make myself keep working.


message 5: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Lou wrote: "Those drawings are pretty, but I picture Javier more muscular and Nestor pudgier--kinda Nevil Longbottom in the HP earlier movies...."

Yes, everybody in the Japanese publication is a lot prettier and more delicate that I had expected. The elegant portrait of Elezar always makes me grin.
It's a little like seeing a football game re-enacted by ballet dancers, really graceful and beautiful but not exactly what I expected. :D


message 6: by Julio (new)

Julio Genao (genao) terrific interview, ttg—and thanks for answering so many great questions, ginn :-)


message 7: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Lou wrote: "Yup, that's a good way of putting it. :P I picture Elezar rough and burly. Btw, how's his book going? "

Rough and burly might describe the book as well as the man. :D (I'm in the last third and pretty much hammering my way into the big battle finale.)


message 8: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Julio-Alexi wrote: "terrific interview, ttg—and thanks for answering so many great questions, ginn :-)"

Thanks for reading the responses!
Tracy really did a great deal of research and had awesome questions!


message 9: by Nicole (last edited Jul 22, 2013 12:41AM) (new)

Nicole | 40 comments Hey Ginn, do you think the Japanese Elezar will be just as pretty as Javier?

Oh wait... I just realized there were more pictures...

Elezar IS classy lookin'. And that little picture of Fedeles holding a drawing of Lunaluz is SO CUTE!


message 10: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Nicole wrote: "Elezar IS classy lookin'. And that little picture of Fedeles holding a drawing of Lunaluz is SO CUTE! "

I like to imagine that Elezar resembled that portrait when he was 11 years old--already six feet tall and 160lbs :D
(Full grown he stands 6'5... and his beard alone can eat an entire flank steak.)

Chibi Fedeles is crazy cute!!!!


message 11: by Julio (new)

Julio Genao (genao) Ginn wrote: "Full grown he stands 6'5... and his beard alone can eat an entire flank steak.)"

I can feel my pupils dilating


message 12: by ttg (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
I'm not going to lie--I kind of had a small heart attack twice while doing this interview.

The first soul-clutching moment was the idea that Lord of the White Hell was too long to print and thus, may never have seen the light of day. SWEET JEEBUS. I'm so glad a solution was found. Just having the books makes that cliffhanger at the end of vol.1 worth it.

The second moment where I almost keeled over was the part about Ginn's old computer and tossing the Rifter to make room (and fortunately some copies were still floating around.) OMG.

Both those moments made me grateful for what things were done to ensure both works got to press, but it also made me so thankful that publishing is far more flexible now, so even a longer work can still be shared (and with the small and independent presses, as well as self-publishing, these larger works that have LGBT themes and romances can be released, as opposed to being deemed unsellable for being too big or too "non-traditional.")

Ginn, I can only imagine working on something for five years, and letting it go (because of thoughts of not publishing, etc.) must have been really difficult. How did you reconcile that initially?

And because publishing now seems more like "publish anything--no matter the length or subject", do you find that flexibility more "freeing"? Or does it not factor in?


message 13: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments ttg wrote: "Ginn, I can only imagine working on something for five years, and letting it go (because of thoughts of not publishing, etc.) must have been really difficult. How did you reconcile that initially?

And because publishing now seems more like "publish anything--no matter the length or subject", do you find that flexibility more "freeing"? Or does it not factor in?..."


I think that the developments in publishing--both print on demand and digital publication-- have done a great deal for the diversity of titles that are now reaching readers.

As for throwing away the Rifter or feeling that Lord of the White Hell couldn't be published, there were painful moments, but I took comfort in the idea that I had completed the works and that the people whom I'd written them for had enjoyed them.

In both cases I was very lucky that there are small presses out there willing to take the chances that the large publishers won't.


message 14: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Lou wrote: "Woot! It's gonna be out next year..."

That's the plan!


message 15: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Julio-Alexi wrote: "I can feel my pupils dilating"

I laughed out loud when I read that! Thank you!


message 16: by Julio (new)

Julio Genao (genao) ...i'm sorry, i—

this is—this is just an overwhelming fanboi moment for me

i just made ginn hale laugh by being a smut

someone, anyone, pinch me

(view spoiler)


message 17: by KC (new)

KC | 3 comments ttg wrote: "I'm not going to lie--I kind of had a small heart attack twice while doing this interview.

The first soul-clutching moment was the idea that Lord of the White Hell was too long to print and thus,..."


My heart had a squeezy moment when i read that too, and then my brain caught up with it and realized that the danger has passed and i have already read The Rifter so it's in my head now and all is well :-) I'm so happy solutions were found on time! Great interview btw! :-)


message 18: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments KC wrote: " i have already read The Rifter so it's in my head now and all is well :-)."

If I ever lose all my copies again I'll just have to down load it from you! :D


message 19: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Lou wrote: "Well, I'm sure glad The Rifter didn't get lost. That woulda sucked."

Yeah, there was that moment when Nicole approached me about the serial and my heart started pounding like crazy because how was I going to tell her that I didn't have a single word left of the Rifter anymore? And of course I had the insane thought, "Maybe I can just rewrite the whole thing this weekend"...


message 20: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Lou wrote: "Lol, right. In case there's any story out there that you have really deleted, please don't tell me. I might die of shock. .."

I promise that I will not tell anyone about any of them.


message 21: by KC (new)

KC | 3 comments Ginn wrote: "KC wrote: " i have already read The Rifter so it's in my head now and all is well :-)."

If I ever lose all my copies again I'll just have to down load it from you! :D"


Heh, sure :-) and really, please, do not delete or lose any writing ever!


message 22: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments KC wrote: "Heh, sure :-) and really, please, do not delete or lose any writing ever! ) ..."

Never fear, I now have a sticker on my computer that reads, "Ginn, What Are You Doing ?!" as a reminder to THINK before I delete anything!
; )


message 23: by ttg (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
Ginn wrote: "Never fear, I now have a sticker on my computer that reads, "Ginn, What Are You Doing ?!" as a reminder to THINK before I delete anything! "

Don't be surprised if your holiday stocking this year is stuffed with flash drives and backup hard drives from fans. :)


message 24: by Astrid (new)

Astrid | 11 comments Dear Ginn,
Will there be more horsies in Elezar's story?
Love, Astrid.


message 25: by Astrid (new)

Astrid | 11 comments P.S. I think the Japanese cover Javier is crazy hot, but I also always think, for some reason, when I first glimpse at it that he has a hook for a right hand. Then I think he's a hot, well-dressed pirate.


message 26: by Julio (new)

Julio Genao (genao) ...a hook?

*pupils dilated in desire*


message 27: by Tina (new)

Tina ttg wrote: "The second moment where I almost keeled over was the part about Ginn's old computer and tossing the Rifter to make room (and fortunately some copies were still floating around.) OMG,..."

Yes, This X 100.

Ginn, are you someone who's able to travel through life without many possessions? If you can throw out all that work, I imagine you don't have hoarding tendencies.

p.s. DON'T DO THAT AGAIN! Er, I mean, please share your writings with us instead of sending it to cyber heaven.
:-D


message 28: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments ttg wrote: "Ginn wrote: "Don't be surprised if your holiday stocking this year is stuffed with flash drives and backup hard drives from fans. :) ..."

Or maybe I should work it other way and just send out files to readers and fans in hopes that a few of them will keep them for me!


message 29: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Astrid wrote: "Dear Ginn,
Will there be more horsies in Elezar's story?
Love, Astrid."


There are some horses, also dogs... and deer and wolves, and bears and Elezar.


message 30: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Tina Kay wrote: "Ginn, are you someone who's able to travel through life without many possessions? If you can throw out all that work, I imagine you don't have hoarding tendencies.

p.s. DON'T DO THAT AGAIN! Er, I mean, please share your writings with us instead of sending it to cyber heaven.
:-D .."


I will NOT do it again! I have learned.

But yes you are correct that I tend to let go of possessions. Until I met my wife I basically lived out of a backpack... I have since learned to appreciate with more things and sleep on a bed! See I'm always learning! :D


message 31: by Julio (new)

Julio Genao (genao) i think sleeping on a bed was pretty much the first thing i learned to truly appreciate, after words, music, my genitals, and hummus.


message 32: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Julio-Alexi wrote: "i think sleeping on a bed was pretty much the first thing i learned to truly appreciate, after words, music, my genitals, and hummus."

Beds came rather late in life for me--way after my love of hummus which happened the moment I encountered it and remains to this day!


message 33: by ttg (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
I just wanted to say that now that I have paperbacks of Lord of the White Hell 1&2, I FULLY understand why they were too big to put into one book. They are very big on their own!

Still, soooooo glad that the story was split up so it could be published!


message 34: by ttg (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
Lou wrote: "You know, they could be published in one volume if printed on that fine and archival onion paper. ;P"

Noooooooo...I like the paper stock they use, and the print on those onion paper bibles is soooo tiny. :O


message 35: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Lou wrote: "You know, they could be published in one volume if printed on that fine and archival onion paper. ;P"

I tried to request they be printed on sheets of the finest silk but oddly I just got "ROFL" as a response! :D


message 36: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments ttg wrote: "Lou wrote: "You know, they could be published in one volume if printed on that fine and archival onion paper. ;P"

Noooooooo...I like the paper stock they use, and the print on those onion paper bi..."


I like the paper stock as well, actually.
Nicole told me that it contains a high precent of recycled pulp and that the printing house that makes the books is a worker-owned co-op that recycles nearly everything, (inks, papers and plates) back into the next printing project.

I can't help but get behind that!


message 37: by ttg (last edited Aug 01, 2013 01:52PM) (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
Lou wrote: "I don't know why, it sounds like a perfectly reasonable request to me. Ask for the next book to be printed on goat skin."

With the words etched in gold by child "interns". They have small hands so will be able to fit more text in per page.

This is the best business model ever! :D


message 38: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Lou wrote: "Ginn wrote: "I like the paper stock as well, actually.
Nicole told me that it contains a high precent of recycled pulp and that the printing house that makes the books is a worker-owned co-op that ..."


Maybe I should request a recycled toilet paper edition for the scratch-N-sniff version of the Rifter? :D


message 39: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments ttg wrote: "With the words etched in gold by child "interns". They have small hands so will be able to fit more text in per page.
This is the best business model ever! :D ."


Yeah, we could produce a limited run of publications catering to the tastes of decadent villains!


message 40: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments Lou wrote: "Ginn wrote: "Maybe I should request a recycled toilet paper edition for the scratch-N-sniff version of the Rifter? :D "

I have a feeling The Rifter would be a pretty smelly book."


Yeah, but at least I wouldn't feel bad if reviewers told me that it stunk!


message 41: by Ginn (new)

Ginn Hale (ginnhale) | 39 comments ; )


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

Are you going to have Rifter books for sale at the meet?


message 43: by ttg (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
Finn wrote: "Are you going to have Rifter books for sale at the meet?"

Yeah, the University Book Store will be selling vol. 1 and vol. 2. :)


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes!


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