Conversations & Guests

A conversation with Daniel de Lorne, m/m romance author

Please welcome Daniel de Lorne, author of M/M paranormal romance. His debut vampire tale BECKONING BLOOD comes out May 1, and it looks hot! What do you think?

BB-PUA gripping, blood‐drenched saga about twin brothers, the men they love, and the enduring truth that true love never dies – no matter how many times you kill it.

Thierry d’Arjou has but one escape from the daily misery of his work at a medieval abattoir – Etienne de Balthas. But keeping their love a secret triggers a bloody chain of events that condemns Thierry to a monstrous immortality. Thierry quickly learns that to survive his timeless exile, he must hide his sensitive heart from the man who both eases and ensures his loneliness…his twin brother.

Shaped by the fists of a brutal father, Olivier d’Arjou cares for only two things: his own pleasure and his twin. But their sadistic path through centuries is littered with old rivals and new foes, and Olivier must fight for what is rightfully his – Thierry, made immortal just for him.

Cool, eh? At the end, I’m giving away a Kindle copy of BECKONING BLOOD to one lucky commenter. Because hey, that’s the kind of generous soul I am. So without further ado, here’s Daniel!

Q: Here at Paranormal Unbound, our motto is threefold: “breaking rules, redefining genre, stuffed full of awesome”. Which of those best applies to your book, and why?

That’s a tough call. If I had to pick any, it would probably be redefining genre. To me, a lot of the m/m paranormal romance I’ve read has shied away from the really dark stuff. It’s probably got a lot to do with reader expectations but I’m more interested in grittier stories that have a gay romantic storyline. One comment that has come up a couple of times from reviewers is how bloody and gruesome the book is so that tells you it’s not really the norm for the m/m genre.

{ED: Well, I like gruesome! Sounds good to me.}

Q: Describe the vampires in Beckoning Blood. What flavour of paranormal world can we expect?

My vampires, Olivier and Thierry, are the old school style – violent and blood-thirsty. They drink blood, they’re super-strong, and near invincible. A stake through the heart or sunlight isn’t going to kill these guys off. They’re also a little like Anne Rice’s vampires in that they have a few moral qualms (though not many). Witches also play a part in this book and the sequel I’m writing so there’s a big confluence of paranormal stuff going alongside the urban settings.

Q: Do you think old-school vampire mythology needs updating to remain interesting? Or have we still got more to say?

It really depends how old-school we’re talking about. Before Dracula, Lord Ruthven was quite the charmer but then Stoker got his hands on the story and we got lumbered with a grotesque monster. But in so far as vampires being immortal creatures who drink blood, I think that is robust enough that it can be used for anything and still remain interesting.

The rest of the mythology that surrounds the vampires’ construction is always going to change and that will no doubt affect the rest of the story. Going from there, the symbol of the vampire is so strong that it can stand in for any fear, any issue, and any outsider that’s currently threatening “normal” society.

Dracula could easily be read to represent English society’s fear of the foreign (particularly eastern Europeans) or homosexuality (as a stand in for Oscar Wilde). Anne Rice’s vampires take a more humanist viewpoint and delve into our own uncertainties about life and its meaning. And then there’s the spate of stories where vampires are created by some kind of medical experiment gone bad, which are really representative of our fear of science. Not all vampire stories have to have some deeper meaning but I think there’ll always be a place for the vampire and endless ways of making it fresh.

{ED: I agree. Vamps are a basic horror/darkness archetype – as Stephen King describes in Danse Macabre: your basic horror story is either the Vampire (evil without), the Werewolf (evil within), or Frankenstein’s Monster (the Thing With No Name). As long as people still feel fear, there’ll always be more to say!}

Daniel-de-Lorne1Q: Tell us about your path to publication. As a man who writes romance, what special challenges—if any—do you think you’ve faced?

My major in university was in creative writing and I wrote a bit after that but it wasn’t until 2009 when I took part in NaNoWriMo that I actually wrote a full length novel. Encouraged by author Nikki Logan to join Romance Writers of Australia, I went to the conference in Sydney and was the only man out of about 350 women in attendance. {ED: I was there. Trust me: Dan got mobbed by adoring romance-writing ladies…} As a result I was featured in Sydney Morning Herald and soon after received a request from a publisher to send in a manuscript. I’d love to say that I was offered a contract then but alas, no.

While I received interest over the next couple of years for Beckoning Blood, it wasn’t until I sent it to Kate at Escape Publishing {ED: that’s a digital imprint of Harlequin Australia} in 2013 that it was picked up. I wouldn’t say I’d given up hope of it being published, but I did wonder if anyone would want to buy a bloody, violent book about twin vampire brothers (even saying that makes me giggle a bit). But Kate loved it and so here I am.

I haven’t noticed any real challenges being a man writing in this genre (m/m romance is dominated by female writers) but it’s early days so maybe they’ll crop up. I hope not though. I am conscious though that I’m in a female space for the most part and notice that I have a different view on a topic from time to time. But whether that’s a “male” perspective or just my own, I’m not really sure.

Q: M/M romance, too, is a genre that’s written largely by women, for mostly (as I understand) female readers. Do you find that you have to change the way you write—or the things you write about—in order to meet the likes and expectations of a female readership? Is ‘keeping it real’ potentially dangerous, in a sub-genre that’s possibly becoming more idealised as it moves into the mainstream?

I was lucky enough that I didn’t have to make any major changes to my book. Whether that’s because I’ve targeted the market correctly or Kate was happy with the more aggressive/bloody approach, I’m not sure. So I haven’t really changed the way I write to fit into the genre. I think m/m is broad enough now to accommodate it.

Some of the m/m books I’ve read deal with the relationship between the two men in a way that, as a gay man, I find a bit frustrating, but then again, I’m not the target audience. There are plenty of m/m books that have an idealized view of gay relationships but that works for the majority of who they’re selling to. As for me, I want my men to be men of action and not dwell too much on “does he think this” or “does he think that”.

I’m sure there will be readers who don’t like the more aggressive approach I take, but equally I’m sure there are plenty who will. No doubt time will tell.

{ED: that’s really interesting. I find that m/f romance often idealises straight relationships, too, especially in paranormal, where the ickier aspects are often glossed over. I guess escapism of this sort—avoiding the gritty, banal, real-life stuff—is one of the reasons some readers read romance?}

Q: Who are your paranormal writing heroes? If you had to pick one author to emulate, who would it be?

Anne Rice for sheer longevity and skill. The amount of historical research she puts into her books astounds me. As for other heroes, they’re more in the fantasy realm and include Robert Jordan and Katharine Kerr. Epic, epic series that make my brain melt with contemplating how they created such worlds.

Thanks, Daniel! Can’t wait to get stuck into your bloodthirsty vampire twins… And guess what? You can get a free taste of these hot bloodsucking boys at Daniel’s website: www.danieldelorne.com/the-boys. Or follow Daniel for updates: Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Google+

Done that? Cool. Now get to it, you lot: Leave a question or comment for Daniel, and I’ll pick a winner – the prize is a Kindle copy of BECKONING BLOOD, which comes out 1 May. Giveaway closes Monday afternoon.

EDIT: giveaway is now closed, and the winner is… Stephanie Fredrick! Thanks to everyone for playing.

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19 thoughts on “A conversation with Daniel de Lorne, m/m romance author

  1. I think it sounds wonderfully interesting. I write and read paranormal romance because I find the hugs&kisses romance a little too boring for my taste. And when it comes to movies, I always go for the action or horror over anything sweet and sappy. This will definitely go on my TBR list.

  2. I love that yours is a edgier and action filled. I’m like you I like my men real men especially in this genre. Love the sound of the book, definitely going on my TBR.

    fsteph55(at)yahoo(dot)com

    • Thanks for coming by, Stephanie. Edgy is definitely good. I’m all for a nice clean paranormal romance every now and then, but my favourites are always the grittier ones.

  3. Hi Daniel, great interview. I’m really looking forward to picking up a copy of Beckoning Blood – it sounds fascinating and I do love gritty paranormal and fantasy novels. I love Anne Rice and Katherine Kerr too. Her Devery series just blows my mind every time I read it. Good luck with it all.

  4. Hi Daniel. Your book is so on my wishlist. M/M, bloody and aggressive, vampires. Its the trifecta. for me. fingers crossed for me and good luck for you with the release.

  5. I’m so happy for your release, being another male in the romance writing fields
    it is a challenge to be part of the romance writing empire.
    Hopingly I will be a success like your self, it’s not an easy
    assignment.
    Again thanks for the great interview

  6. Thanks for the interview, guys! The book looks great and I’m looking forward to reading it. I don’t know if I agree with the assessment that female writers of gay romance write only for other women. I think some books just aren’t well written and those authors possibly wouldn’t have written a good book in any genre. I’ve also read a variety of great work by both male and female authors – as you say, m/m is a broad genre and allows for everything from angry werewolves to YA to inspirational romance these days – but of course I say this without the requisite on-board man-parts to make a thorough appraisal, I suppose. 😉

    • Thanks for the comment, Elisabeth, and I hope you like the book. I’m sure writers hope as many people as possible will read their books, regardless of gender. I think with the m/m genre the readers are mostly female so over time it’s developed into this pattern that appeals to the average reader of the genre (which is mostly women). But that looks like it’s changing and generalisations are always problematic.

  7. Pingback: Cruisin’ with RWA | Romance Writers of Australia

  8. Pingback: What We’re Reading: Beckoning Blood | Paranormal Unbound

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