Whew, a long month and a long story! At least they went together, right? I hope you enjoyed the Electricity (and welcomed back football!) this month. Now how about my interview with MozLover21? My questions weren't so easy, so make sure you read the thoughtful answers before you comment with your thoughts on the story below!
What’s something personal about you people might be surprised to know?
I love horror movies. They’re my guilty pleasure. But somehow my fondness for this genre always becomes an issue in my friendships and relationships, because nobody that I know enjoys watching them. And their usual assertion that the movies are “too scary” is baffling to me, because I find reality far more terrifying than any horror.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
“Know Yourself”—I’ve recently become interested in ancient Greek mythology, where the principle of knowing yourself is an important theme, and one of the mottoes carved on the temple of Apollo. It sounds simple enough, but knowing yourself comes with a good dose of eating humble pie, because it requires examining your flaws and limitations. But if you continually go through that process, you can end up improving and refining yourself into the best version you can be. And that doesn’t mean a perfect human, but it does mean someone who is better equipped to deal with the suffering that living often entails.
What brought you to GayAuthors?
When I first published “Electricity” on another website, one of the readers recommended that I try publishing on GayAuthors for a more targeted audience that preferred a unique storyline over an entirely love/lust driven plot. It was a great suggestion as I find the readers on GayAuthors profoundly helpful in providing useful feedback. They also truly commit themselves and become emotionally invested in the stories they enjoy. It makes it a more rewarding experience for me to interact with an enthusiastic group of readers.
What’s the first thing you do before you start to write a story?
My writing process is something I’m always actively seeking to fine-tune. Ideally I would be the type of writer who could make a detailed outline and diligently work on it chapter by chapter. Unfortunately for me, that’s never how it happens. First of all, my ideas pop into my head during the most inopportune times, like when I’m driving on the freeway or heading into a meeting and unable to write them down. And typically, the scene I’ll have in my head isn’t the beginning of the story, but a fragment somewhere in the middle or towards the end. So then I have to work my way back and untangle what happened before, and slowly put the puzzle pieces together. My first draft is always a wreck, and it’s a painstaking process, but the moment when it all finally clicks into place and I can see the bigger picture, is a moment of great satisfaction.
Do you like other stimulus around when you write or do you need a quiet environment?
I’m not someone who can write in the middle of a crowded coffee shop. I typically need a peaceful environment. At times I can listen to specific music that contributes to the vibes of a particular chapter. For example, at the moment I’m working on a story where one of the characters is a famous rapper, and it’s been useful for me to blast some Drake, some J.Cole, or some Kendrick while I write those scenes. But for the most part, I need silence. I’m particular about my visual stimulus as well. I can’t write if there’s things scattered on my table. The only objects allowed are a cup of coffee, a notebook with a pen, and the current books I’m reading.
Sports and Journalism… Why those themes? Any personal experience with them?
I have some experience with both. I was a writer for my high school newspaper and I’ve published a few articles in the past six years. I also played basketball in school. Aside from simply admiring the commitment and determination it takes to be the best in either one of these areas, for me, the two are also greatly intertwined. I believe journalists are an integral part of what transforms an ordinary human being with great athletic ability, to an otherworldly entity. For example, respected sports journalists can make or break the public image of an athlete, and shape the way in which they’re viewed by the world. An athletic feat happens fast and then it’s gone, it can only be replayed on TV, it can’t ever be relived. But writing is frozen in time, and if your moments of glory and your character are written about with admiration, you’re immortalized.
When writing “Electricity” I knew right away that Andrew’s character would be a pro athlete. Then when I started brainstorming Aubrey, I wanted him to be the person capable of becoming Andrew’s biggest nemesis or his greatest strength, and I quickly realized that it couldn’t be a fan, or a fashion designer, or an Instagram model, but that it had to be a journalist. It had to be someone with the power to bring him down so that he could rise from his ashes and become a better man.
How did you come up with the title for “Electricity”?
It was inspired by a scene from the movie Billy Elliot—which, for those who don’t know, is about a working-class boy in England who uncovers his passion for ballet, and has to overcome his father’s objections as well as the stigma associated with male ballet dancers—where Billy explains what he feels when he’s dancing. He compares it to a feeling of electricity.
What’s funny is that I didn’t think anyone would ever make that association, but one of my readers actually emailed me asking whether that was the inspiration for the title. I have incredibly astute readers, nothing gets past them.
My idea behind the connection between Aubrey and Andrew was a natural electric current that charges both of them up, and helps transform them into better people. And that was also the danger factor in the story, because with electricity there needs to be a fine balance, otherwise you can get a short circuit and burn everything down. I’m intrigued by ideas that contain duality, and this was a major theme for me in “Electricity”. Andrew and Aubrey could work together and create this wonderful form of revolutionizing energy, or they could potentially destroy each other.
Do you have a favorite scene in the story?
The story has many scenes that are dear to me, but one that comes to mind in this particular moment takes place in chapter 16, when Andrew is reminiscing about his college football coach’s speech regarding failure, and how the worst failure is never trying at all. I think having a mentor is so crucial to our development as humans, and unfortunately many of us grew up without a good mentor. If we were lucky enough we encountered a “Coach Dean” in our lives to help guide us along the way and shield us from falling into dysfunctional patterns. This is another crucial theme for Andrew, who has a cordial, yet somewhat distant, relationship with his father, and who ends up falling into a very unhealthy mode of living. And it can be difficult to rewire yourself once you’re steeped in your ways. That’s also where the idea of “electricity” comes in—an electric bolt to jolt Andrew out of his toxic behavior.
This is why that scene holds weight with me, because I respect the idea of an individual being able to get their life together. In this case, Andrew rising out of his alcoholic stupor and deciding to actively pursue this slim chance at love, rather than giving into disenchantment and bitterness. At the end of the day I truly believe that if you’re committed to something, you’ll find a way.
If your story were made into a movie, who could you picture playing Andrew’s and Aubrey’s parts?
In my fantasy universe, I could see Tom Hardy as Andrew. As for Aubrey, I think Wentworth Miller during The Human Stain period would have made a good choice. As a side note, I was watching a lot of basketball in-between working on “Electricity”, and both Aaron Gordon and Klay Thompson influenced Aubrey’s looks.
Would you like to share anything about your current or upcoming work with readers?
I’m working on a couple different projects at the moment. I recently started a Patreon (www.patreon.com/mstories) and I have a new story on there titled “You Don’t See Me”, which has a darker theme than my previous work. I’m also working on my other story “Where Does Crimson Flow” here on GayAuthors. And I’m halfway through finishing my first book, a thriller about a father searching for his son’s killer. Last but not least, I’m toying with the idea of writing a horror screenplay that my friends and loved ones can finally enjoy