As am I, Miss Rie McGaha, happy as all hell to be here.
Before we get to the questions, I want to thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Well, hey: your wish is always my command. Well, most of the time. Then, again, well, maybe, some of the time.
I am such a fan and admire all the things you've done in your life.
You just might want to re-think that one, Hon, because even I admit to having done some things in my life that, well…
It's amazing how much one can squeeze out of life when one puts his or her mind to it!
Squeeze what out of what, you say? Oh, right! Well, as a true believer that variety IS the spice of life, I’ve genuinely tried to do my share of squeezing, in my time, both of life and…
First of all, tell everyone a little about yourself…besides being an award-winning author, world traveler, wine connoisseur, man-about-town, artist, and chocolateer?
Hey, what else is there left to tell?
In that, yes…
I am an award-winning author (although I’m trying my best to remember just what awards those might be).
I have written at least enough books so that Wildside/Borgo Press just released its 303-page reference tome, DRAQUALIAN SILK: A COLLECTOR’S AND BIBLIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE BOOKS OF WILLIAM MALTESE 1969-2010, just so people can sort out the 180 books I’ve had published in the last four decades.
Certainly, I’ve literally (and literarily) circumnavigated the globe—on more than one occasion.
Since there is a whole WILLIAM MALTESE WINE TASTER’S GUIDE series being published by Wildside/Borgo Press, I’m definitely a wine connoisseur; if it says that on the cover of a book, it HAS to be Gospel, right?
A man-about-town? Well, it has been said that I’ve been known to get around, up and down (sometimes upside-down), in and out, high and wide.
As for my “being” an artist, I prefer to call myself “someone who appreciates art”, rather than someone who considers himself an artist, per se; although, I have done a few pieces (I refer to artwork, here) that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have hanging around the house. Of course, if we’re talking my literary artistry, that’s undeniable and undeniably something else again.
Definitely, as a chocolateer (not to confuse me with Ben Hur who was a charioteer), I can rave on to you, or to anyone, about the benefits of chowing down on “healthy” Xocai® chocolate (having included it in the recipes of my two published cookbooks [THE GLUTEN FREE WAY—MY WAY (with Adrienne Milligan), and BACK OF THE BOAT COOKING (with Bonnie Clark)], and will include it within the recipes of both additional cookbooks for which I’m presently officially contracted (THE GOURMET DIET and THE GOURMET HUCKLEBERRY). Not to mention my mentioning it in several of my novels, even going so far as to having the vampire Gregory, in my mainstream WILLIAM MALTESE’S FLICKER: #1 BOOK OF ANSWERS, turn to it while weaning himself off blood. My Xocai® advocacy, though, isn’t so much because I’m an admitted bona-fide distributor of that “healthy” chocolate (although I am), as much as it is because it’s a means for me to access the chocolate at wholesale prices for my own greedy consumption.
I have a degree in Marketing/Advertising, but my skills at selling are really piss-poor. That’s probably why I’ve spent my whole life writing—not selling…eating Xocai® chocolate—not doing all that well marketing it, either.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Well, certainly, I thought myself “a writer” from a very early age—possibly from as soon as I “could” write.
I think typewriter and paper might well have popped out of the womb with me. Although, the earliest recollection of a story I actually wrote is “The Spider with the Human Mind” when I was in grammar school.
Later, I was as member of my high-school writing club, and garnered notoriety by writing about baby sacrifices and cannibalism on the island of Martinique before that island’s Mt. Pele blew it’s top and killed a lot of people; not to mention my decidedly high-brow haiku, “Irenē, in a bikini, looks like a wienie. Hot dog!”
After a bit of treasure hunting in South America (no treasure found, just a bad case of crotch-rot), between my junior and senior years in university, I published my “Ransom of the Inca” in “Argosy” magazine.
While I was still serving my three-year enlistment in the U.S. Army, I got “National Geographic Magazine” interested in the possibility of my doing a piece and pictures for them on Korea-at-the-time (this AFTER the Korean War for those who keep insisting I look too young to have fought in that War-that-was-officially-a-Conflict).
But, all of that wasn’t really me out to establish my credentials as a writer; it was merely me fiddling around while always assuming I’d eventually take on something other than writing books as a way of earning my living.
Any suspicion that I might actually write full-time, and end up supporting myself that way, didn’t “hit” me until really very late in the game…after university, after the military, after the summer I decided to spend relaxing before embarking upon what I always assumed and planned would be my career in advertising. I needed, at the very least, the viable fact of my first two published books from Greenleaf, and that publisher’s follow-up requests for more…more…more…yes, please, more books, and thank-you-very-much…to have me finally thinking that writing, professionally, yes, just might be the life for me.
Do you remember your first published piece?
My first published piece was “Ransom of the Inca” for “Argosy” magazine. My first published book was ADONIS, for Greenleaf Press; although the first book I actually sold was FIVE ROADS TO TLEN, which Greenleaf published directly after ADONIS.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day is likely only typical until noon, beginning with my getting out of bed (yes, for all who want to know, I DO sleep in the nude, even in winter), shit, shower, shave (not necessarily in that order)…take my blood-glucose (not because I have diabetes, but because there’s a history of Type II in my family, and I want to make sure that Xocai® chocolate continues to keep me safe from sugar overdoses)…hang upside down for fifteen minutes to reverse at least some of the effects gravity has had on my spine, during the previous day (actually, I may just suffer vampire-syndrome)…take half an aspirin (have to keep the veins unclotted)…take a couple of salmon-oil pills (have to keep the cholesterol low)…eat a piece (or two, or three) of Xocai®…read my email and take care of answering that. After which, I tackle whomever…I mean “whatever” needs to be done on Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, or wherever.
After noon, anything can happen…including a drink (hey, I am a wine connoisseur, remember!)…heading on out for lunch (hey, I am a gourmand, remember!)…and, maybe, if I’m lucky, I may even get a bit of writing done (hey, I am a writer, remember!)…or, (zzzzzzzzz!) manage to plow through some proofing chores (God save me from proofing!).
At around five p.m., or later, depending upon if I’m on a roll, as far as my writing goes, I usually call it a day. Hey, “it”, you’re a “day”! After which, it’s either have a quiet meal and a glass (or two or three or…) of wine at home, or go out for some gourmet dining and glass (or two or three or…) of wine (I’m lucky to know several other gourmands and wine connoisseurs, other than just me).
If I’m back from the night out early enough, I’ll watch some television, during which I’ll likely drop off to sleep on the couch, waking up after midnight and dragging my sorry ass (after trying to remember to always brush my teeth), to bed.
I know you've posed for paintings.
Hmmmmm. I wonder how you know that.
How did that come about?
My wondering how you know I posed for paintings, or you knowing I posed for paintings, or my having posed for paintings?
More specifically, what made you decide to bare it all?
Way back when, at a time in my life when some people actually agreed that I didn’t look all that bad with my clothes dropped (you’ll find fewer and fewer of these people, if any, in this day and age, by the way), I was asked by a publisher if I would mind providing it with some nude shots of moi to use by way of promoting several of my published books of erotica, everyone in the publisher’s advertising department figuring that male nudity, especially the male nudity of an author who didn’t look all that bad with his pants dropped, might actually sell some of that author’s (aka “my”) books. Albeit reluctantly, I agreed to some tentative black-and-white preliminary “test” shots, with all claim to the product and negatives, with no obligation to proceed onward to color photos if I didn’t like what I saw.
To make a long story short, I got cold feet (maybe because I was stark naked, at the time, and a good many additional parts of my anatomy were, likewise, cold?), and I confiscated the initial B&W photos/negatives, and nixed any color shoot. So, the incriminatory B&W photos w/negatives ended up at the bottom of a very deep-dark trunk, tucked away in the far corner of a very dim and cluttered attic, never to see the light of day until years later when I came across them while searching out some old manuscripts a publisher was dying for me (suddenly famous) to dig out to be considered for publication.
I took a look at the disinterred pictures, and, in retrospect, decided they didn’t look nearly as bad as I remembered them. At which point, my rampant narcissism checked in, where it somehow hadn’t the first time around, and I was convinced that the only reason I’d never been the male Dora Mar of the artwork, inspiring the likes of Picasso to paint masterpieces, was because the real Dora got to Picasso before I did, and/or I’d never been enamored enough by any artist, man or woman (or vice versa) to play his or her muse.
Without any artist spontaneously volunteering to immortalize me on canvas, I set out to build my own collection of self-aggrandizing artwork, ARTISTS “DO” author WILLIAM MALTESE, based entirely upon personal interpretations of various artists as regarded one picture from that original grouping of B&W prints resurrected from their attic burial. That why, today, you can ferret out, if you dig deep enough…
…the naked me in two Diego Tolomelli stained-glass panels (as St. Bartholomew being flayed alive, and as The Vampyre Draqual “Becoming”).
…a painting by Rick Chris with me as “St. Sebastian of the West”, tied to a stake and shot full of arrows.
… two works by “mikesbliss” (a portrait of me against a strikingly blood-red backdrop, and me, as vampire.
… two pieces (as angel; as devil) by Ismael Álvarez Vélez.
… a tattooed punk me, with hard-on, and dangling tennis shoes tied to my balls, by “the artist Drub”.
…and a whole lot more.
What genre(s) do you write? Did you pick them or did they pick you?
There isn’t a genre I probably don’t write, or haven’t written…
… gay, straight, bi.
… mystery (my Stud Draqual mystery — A SLIP TO DIE FOR and THAI DIED—series).
…romance (three Harlequin SuperRomances and my DARE TO LOVE IN OZ, all by Willa Lambert).
…men’s adventures (THE GOMORRAH CONJURATIONS).
...bondage and discipline (LOVE HURTS).
…crime and punishment (THE FAG IS NOT FOR BURNING).
…historical (ARDENNIAN BOY, with Wayne Gunn; GRIT with Jardonn Smith).
…horror (SUCKS! FIRST OF THE DRAQUAL VAMPYRE CHRONICLES).
…fantasy (WILLIAM MALTESE’S FLICKER: #1 BOOK OF ANSWERS).
…saga (Seven-Continent series for MLR Press).
…satire (CATALYTIC QUOTES: SOME HEARD THROUGH A TIME WARP).
…thriller (BLOOD-RED RESOLUTION).
… play (MURDER BY METEORITE).
… movie script (THE MOONSTONE MURDERS).
…even a children’s book (DOG ON A SURFBOARD AND THE REST OF THE ADVENTURE).
Most recently, as you very well know, you having teamed up with me to do WILLIAM MALTESE’S WINE TASTER’S GUIDE: OKLAHOMA, I’ve ventured into a series of wine books, beginning with the Spokane/Pullman WA wine region, and soon, written along with AB Gayle, one on the Pinot G wines of Australia’s Mornington Peninsula).
As well, I’ve launched those previously mentioned cookbooks.
As for whom picked what, or vice versa, it has always been my desire to write all different genres, if just because continually writing just one can, and eventually does, every time, bore me to tears; so, I guess, I’ve just always been on the outlook for anything (or anyone) new to take on. So, whenever something (a genre, for instance) makes itself available, I jump at the chance.
What do your family and friends think about your career?
I always had super support from my parents (now, dead) who merely wanted to provide me with whatever the tools and wherewithal I needed to do whatever I wanted to do with my life. The only complaint I really ever heard from either of them was from my mother who, before I started writing Harlequin SuperRomances, and my children’s book, complained that she just wished I’d oblige her by writing at least one book she could, one day, pull out and show to her friends who would, after all, have been more than a little shocked by the story lines of my earliest efforts, like DOG-COLLAR BOYS and POP ‘N’ SWAP.
As for friends, gay, straight, and bi, they’ve all been accepting.
You and I often have some pretty interesting conversations, and the other day we got to talking about what is and isn't accepted material. We began talking about M/M vs. F/F genre, M/M/M vs. F/F/F and M/F/F stories. You had some very interesting insights. Could you tell everyone your thoughts on writing the GLBT genre?
Hmmmm. I probably should have jotted down those insights of mine, at the time I had them (my memory not what it used to be; not that it was ever the best).
I do know that in my early days of writing all kinds of erotica, I had more than one publisher tell me that m/m sex was okay—for gay readers; f/f sex was okay—for straight male readers who always enjoyed a bit of gal-on-gal action, not threatened by it (women readers, by the way, weren’t even considered a viable demographic as far as being readers/buyers of erotica, at the time); even m/f/f was okay; BUT, please, please, please, NOT (they would say, every time I tried—and I DID try) any sex between two men and a woman. The ongoing belief (one, also, concurrently prevalent in the U.S. military at the time — as I can bear personal witness) was that there was no such “animal” as a bisexual; therefore, there was no one really interested in buying a book about any such weird and strange anomaly.
Thank God, publishers, in this day and age, have become a little more enlightened; even suddenly realizing women like man-on-man sex, just as much as men have always been turned on by woman-on-woman.
Then, again, I can’t tell you how many complaints I get from gay readers of my Stud Draqual Mystery Series who can’t entertain even the possibility that Stud is bisexual; they insist he’s a closeted gay who this author should, especially in this day and age, “out”, instead of continually letting him turn down, at least so far, every cock on the block, to climb into bed with…gasp!...pussy.
In fact, Lambda Literary Awards, this year, allow any bisexual book to be nominated in two categories, not just one, for the entry price, just because there has been such a dearth of bisexual literature published.
You are very candid about being bisexual. How much does this play into your writing, and do you think it has ever prevented you from accomplishing anything in your life because of other people's attitudes?
Knowing there were, indeed, men and women who went to bed not only the opposite sex, but with their same sex, even back when so few others seemed to believe it could, would, or did happen, I’ve tried to include bisexuality in my writing whenever I can. Sometimes, once I was “established”, bisexuality was allowed to sneak in through the cracks, since most of my early manuscripts often arrived at the publishers and, undergoing very little editing, if any, were soon off to the printer; shortly thereafter, on the book stands. Certainly, now that other people are catching up to me in realizing the existence of bisexuality, I’ve been more freely able to incorporate it in my books, like my THE GOMORRHA CONJURATIONS, BLOOD-RED RESOLUTION, THE FAG IS NOT FOR BURNING); mainly aimed at straight readers, since, for some reason, gay men readers still balk at the inclusion of cunt in their reading material.
You would think, what with the large and every-expanding women readership of m/m books, these days, not to mention all of the women now writing m/m fiction, that gay men would be more accepting of male-male-female sexual liaisons than they used to be; but, I don’t see it happening.
As far as my bisexuality having ever prevented me from accomplishing anything in my life, because of other people’s attitudes, I’ve actually found quite the opposite to be true. From the get-go, I found it genuinely advantageous for me to have had the experiences of my bisexuality that allowed me to write successful straight and gay erotica, not to mention straight mainstream, in that, having done so allows me entre and free movement within both straight and gay communities. Possibly because I know the difference between a toilet and finger bowl, between a regular knife and a fish knife, have a college degree, served honorably through my enlistment in the U.S. Army, and have never, I guess, really “looked” like a dirty old man (until recently), I’ve managed to fit into, and be accepted by, most of the straight world, without too much difficulty. What’s more, I feel that I would have missed out on a whole lot of enjoyable life experiences if I’d been excluded from it, or had excluded myself from intermingling with those members of that sexual orientation that’s still in the majority.
While we were chatting, you had an opinion about the difference between men and women when it comes to dating. Would you mind sharing that with us?
Well, while two guys, dating, can certainly enjoy the same things as a guy and a gal, dating (a good meal, a night out on the town, attending symphony, opera, theater, or movie), it has been my personal observation and experience that sex is more easily accomplished between two guys than between a guy and gal.
A woman seems to need a whole lot more lead-in just to get into bed for sex than does any gay or bi man. Females still seem to embrace the long held philosophy of, “Save yourself only for your husband.” Something about no guy ever wanting the “cow” if he has 24/7 free access to the “milk”.
Then, there’s this usual preference of women for long and lengthy foreplay, before (dinner, dates, candy, flowers), and once in bed (touchy-feely), even before sex. A guy is just more likely to begin any male-male relationship with fast-and-furious fucking (and prefer beginning any male-female relationship the same way), letting friendship and/or any deeper emotional bonding follow after.
Valentine's Day is coming up this month. You and I are dating, okay; we’re FWB and doing what on this day dedicated to lovers?
Since you’re female, and I’ve verified with you that our mutual definition of FWB (Friends with Benefits includes being “Fuck Buddies”), we’ve obviously already progressed through the initial phases of heterosexual courtship and screwed…
So, we preface our special Valentine’s Day by boarding a plane for an international first-class flight that has us in Rome on Valentine’s Day eve and checked into the Hassler Suite with its 1730 square feet of spectacular from-the-terrace views of the city. Our room is filled to overflowing with flowers, including orchids of which I’m particularly fond. We test out the bed with some heated sex, then freshen up for a dinner of pheasant ravioli with truffles in the Hassler’s chic rooftop Imàgo restaurant, where we receive a personal stop-by from the chef who wants to be sure we’re enjoying our meal and the service. Back in our room, we’ll enjoy chilled Veuve Clicquot champagne from Baccarat flutes. After which, we’ll strip down, go to bed, where I’ll provide you with whatever your desired quota of foreplay before we screw ourselves into blissful exhaustion.
We greet our official Valentine’s Day morning with vigorous Fuck-Buddy sex, with follow-up sex during our mutually shared shower. We have a breakfast of cappuccino and cornetto at Tazza d’Oro. Then, there’s a morning of sightseeing some of Rome’s most romantic spots: The Pincio Hill, The Aventine Hill, Villa Celimontana, Via Appia amid Roman ruins, Via Giulia, Piazza Navona.
At the Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, we lunch at Frontoni by indulging its do-it-yourself pizza sandwiches, choosing our favorite toppings from a selection of meats, vegetables, cheeses and sauces (my recommending to you the greasy coppa, smoked mozzarella and tomato), containing pizza breads folded and heated in the oven; all washed down with Trebbiana d’Abruzzo.
Then to Via Conciliazione, and into St. Peters, where, I’ve had a contact at the Vaticam Museum arrange for you and me to have private access…not to the Pope but…to the usually locked rooms, not accessed by the average tourist or layman, that houses the Vatican’s collection of still-frowned-upon superb antique Greek and Roman erotic statuary, depicting men and women, men and men, women and women, men and men and women, men and women and women, in one form of copulation or another.
Sexually aroused, we go back to our hotel suite for more sex, another shower w/sex, and some fine dining at Sapori del Lord Byron, including some of the finest Italian food Rome has to offer, while we’re surrounded by a décor that’s romantically white-lattice and bold Italian colors, accompanied by bushels of freshly cut flowers.
By moonlight, we toss our traditional coins into the Trevi Fountain, return to our hotel, our bed, and sex.
The day after, beginning with sex, showers and more sex, breakfast, and packing, we check out of the hotel to begin our extended road trip through all of Italy to research and write WILLIAM MALTESE’S WINE TASTER’S GUIDE: ITALY (with Rie McGaha), and WILLIAM MALTESE’S GOURMET ITALY (with Rie McGaha).
WOW! How long does it take to get a passport? Even for a cynic like me who thinks Valentine's Day is just a ploy by the greeting card company to make money off people who think they only have to show "love" once a year, that just made my day! (BTW--I'm not much on the foreplay, I'm more of a just-get-to-it-give-me-mine kinda gal). Where were we? Oh yeah, the interview is over, darn it! Thank you so much for chatting with me today, William, it's been a real pleasure. Is there anything else you'd like people to know?
Suddenly, as always, I’m hungry, horny, and hoping for…some fine wine.
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