Hello all! Thank you so much for joining me today as I interview fabulous debut author Richard Taylor Pearson who’s talking as little about himself, his craft, and his new release The Role!
What was the most challenging part of writing this story?
Aside from generally finishing it, I think the hardest part was making rehearsals interesting. When you rehearse a play, you are literally doing the same thing over and over again, so reading about that could be extremely boring. Finding ways to make each repetition of a scene engaging was a big challenge.
Do you have a designated writing area at home? What’s it like?
I tend to write in my office. I painted half of my walls with whiteboard paint so I can plot out stuff on the walls (Faulkner style). It’s nice because the office is not very big, and is far away from everything else in my home. So when I’m in my office, I’m pretty much able to isolate myself. The only downside is that my office is next to my daughter’s bedroom, which means that if I want to write at night, I have to be quiet. Writing isn’t a particularly loud thing to do, but I hit the keys on the keyboard pretty hard if I’m in the zone, so I have to be careful.
Do you have any pets? If not, and you were given the choice to have any pet (fictional or real), what type of pet would you choose and why?
We do not have any pets at the moment, but we really want one! My husband and I both love dogs, but didn’t have one growing up (both of our parents forbid it.) If I could just have any pet, I’d want something like a Dire wolf, solely because they are like a super dog! I mean it’d be fun to get something like a Dragon, but I’m afraid of heights!
Why did you decide to write Gay Romance?
Being gay, the LGBT aspect was a no brainer. As for romance, my novel straddles the line of a traditional romance, because it’s kind of the b-plot. The main focus of the story is Mason’s Broadway dreams, but the love interests in his life certainly complicate that to a big degree. No matter what I write, I always have a big romance element, and the main reason for that is that I think love stories are the best ones! At my wedding, my best friend said “No one loves “love” more than Richard,” and I think that’s really true. Ever since I was little, I focused on the love aspect of any story. Whether it was Disney cartoons or Opera, if people were overcoming adversity for the sake of love I was into it. If they happened to be singing while doing it, I was hooked.
What did you enjoy most about writing this story?
I really loved getting the chance to share what it’s like to rehearse a play, and all the crazy things that go on backstage during a performance. Whenever I’m in a show I have to tell someone, anyone, what happened in rehearsal that day. It’s the only way to get all the excitement out of my system. When I was in college I would burst into my dorm room and relay, in painstaking detail, everything that happened in rehearsal. My roommates were always nice, and listened to me, and that was really what I wanted to convey with “The Role.” I wanted the reader to come with me on that journey, because most of the time they only see the story we tell on stage.
What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter, a pantser, or both?
I’m a pantser. I wrote an outline for “The Role” and about 10% of it actually ended up in the book. I’ve done something similar for my Gaymer novel, and while I have hope I’ll stick to it, I’ve already accepted that I probably won’t. When I write, my actor training really kicks in. I really get into my characters heads, and they often take me to new and interesting places. I wish I was more of a plotter, because I think I’d be able to finish novels much faster, but I just can’t ever seem to make it happen. I tend to be very organized in a lot of elements of my life, so I think my brain uses writing and performing as a chance to be a little bit more wild.
What are you finding to be the most challenging part of being a published author?
As a debut author, I really have to fight the whole “imposter” vibe. I’ve got one book, so I feel like it is insane of me to walk up to another author and act like we are in the same club. For the most part, I’m an extrovert, and generally like talking to strangers, but in the writer scene I’m still finding me sea legs. I’m always worried I’ll overstep or say something wrong. I also am trying to tell myself it’s okay to be a bit more aggressive about promoting my book. I hate it when someone’s twitter account is nothing but “buy my book!” However, I have friends on twitter and facebook who only learned this week that I even wrote a book. I think I talk about it all the time, but apparently I need to do more.
How did it feel to sign that first contract?
It was really magical, the second I signed my name, the world seemed different to me. It was like I leveled up in a video game or something. I finished my original draft of “The Role” in 2010, and signed my contract in the middle of 2015. That’s a very long time to wait. A lot of my identity as an author is tied up in “The Role.” I wrote it, because I was tired of waiting for someone else to write it. It was a real passion project, and I kept thinking that if no one wanted to read it, then why would they want to read anything else I write? When Lethe signed me as an author, it was this great achievement. It told me I hadn’t wasted my time writing it. I’m really excited (and also nervous) to see how the world reacts to it.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author looking to get published?
They say you have to write every day, and, if you can, I recommend it. However, the real thing you need to do is read. Read your genre and beyond, and if you see something you like in a book make sure you notate it somehow. Someday you’ll be looking for a way to phrase something, and if you can look at other examples, it’ll save you a ton of time. I also encourage you to reach out to other others. If you really love something about their work, tell them. Don’t assume they’ve heard it a million times.
What are you working on now? What can we expect next?
I’m working on a novel about Gaymers. Video games are my guilty pleasure, and there are a lot of gay guys who love to play video games. However, it’s not something you see depicted a lot in movies/TV/or books. The Gaymer community has made a lot of strides lately in being more visible, and, as a gaymer myself, I want to do my part.
Author Name: Richard Taylor Pearson
Genre: LGBT Fiction
Book Title: “The Role”
Is it Part of a Series: No
Publication Date: May 4, 2016
Length of book: 296 Pages
Mason Burroughs is an actor on the verge of giving up after being turned away at audition after audition. But his life changes when he bumps into Kevin Caldwell, an old crush from acting school. Kevin helps Mason land a role that could make him the next Broadway star. However, as rehearsals begin, Mason learns that there’s a lot more drama than just what’s on stage. With a personal trainer claiming he can mold his body to resemble a Greek statue, an underhanded understudy waiting in the wings to replace him, a megalomaniacal director, and Kevin hellbent on breaking up Mason and his boyfriend, Mason must choose how much he is willing to sacrifice to make his Broadway dream a reality.
Richard Taylor Pearson is a triple threat: author, actor, and attorney. He grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he appeared in many plays and musicals. After graduating from Rhodes College, Richard went on to obtain a law degree from Rutgers School of Law. While he works as an attorney by day, his nights and weekends are spent writing novels and performing in theatrical events all over New York City. Richard lives in Jersey City with his brilliant husband, Brian, and their amazing daughter, Natalie.