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16 July 2013 @ 02:36 pm
In the spotlight: D.W. Skinner  
From acclaimed m/m romance photographer, Dan Skinner, a coming of age tale unfolds against the colorful, stylish, and turbulent backdrop of free love, revolution, and The Beatles.

From amazon.com

I'm thrilled to have D.W. Skinner here on my journal. Please check out my little interview with him and an excerpt from his debut novel, Memorizing You.


1. Please tell us a little about your new release.

My new gay novel, Memorizing You, has been a few years in the making. The original plotwork was done right after I completed the novel, Coverboy for Dreamspinner Press in 2008, but I got caught up in so many cover shoots that it took a backburner for a while. This year I got some free time and actually dreamed about the darn thing, and so decided it was time to finally commit myself to telling a story that had so many bits of me in it. People ask how much is autobiographical, and all I can say, is enough to tell it with complete and utter conviction. The very beginning story about the hand... is true. 100%. It is exactly how I discovered my sexuality.

2. How much does your photography gig influence your writing?

I think my photography figures into almost everything I do, and particularly how I write because I am very intensely visual. I see things in light and shadow and how objects manifest themselves inside these contrasts. It makes me a sappy romanticist in the way I shoot, but it also makes me visualize every nuance of a scene... down to a butterfly flitting past in a conversation.

3. Which one do you like more, writing or taking pictures? Please tell us more about it.

I like both writing and photography equally, and hope to do a project soon that incorporates both of them like a graphic novel. I have a project on the boards for that, but it would be so costly and time consuming I have to figure out how to do it. But... it makes me think big!

4. Do you have future projects for your writing?

I've already completed two other novels. The Bible Boys and Vicarious which I am fine tooling before they go to the editor. Each project is completely different than the other. For instance, The Bible Boys is definitely erotica. Vicarious is like an updated version combination of Lolita and Death In Venice. I like to do things that are diverse and keep me raising the bar on myself.

5. If you had to interview yourself, what would your question be and what would you answer?

If I had to interview myself what question would I ask myself? Do I believe in love? I do very much, and for years no one ever showed gay love in art or photos. It's why I had to do it. I dropped everything else to do it, taking a huge chance, because I thought it was time to do it..and do it right. I wanted someone to look at my work and feel hope, and that their love had its rightful place. I hope I did that with Memorizing You. It was fully intended to be an old-style, old fashioned romance novel just like Harlequin's... but with men.

EXCERPT from my new m/m romance novel MEMORIZING YOU

“I’m right with you.” I heard him swimming close to my side. “You’re doing great. You’re swimming, pal!”

My movements became more frantic, wanting to bring the shore to me closer and faster. Soon my toes were touching the bottom again. The slick rocks. I planted my feet and began walking to shallower water. I could hear Ryan behind me.

“You did it!” he yelled. “You swam. You swam the very first time!” He wrapped his arm around my shoulder and patted my stomach like I’d just won a race. “First time, a winner!”

I laughed with my panicked breath, and sat down on the bank. He was next to me.

“Not that bad, was it?” his toothy grin was alive with enthusiasm.

“No,” I lied, water streaming down from my wet hair into my eyes. It was much worse, I thought to myself.

We had our sandwiches and Kool-Aid, spread our towels, and lay in the sun. There was no sound of the outside world, save the occasional plane that flew overhead. It was like our own private Eden. It wasn’t long after we lay down that I heard his light snoring. It was like a lullaby that called to me as well. I drifted away in the warm cocoon of our secret paradise.

When I opened my eyes, I could tell the sun had shifted. Late afternoon. We were in the shade of the elms. I was facing the lake. Ryan was behind me. I turned my head over to face him. He lay there staring at me. “Hi,” I said.

“Hi,” he said back.

I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. “Whatcha doing?”

He smiled and blinked. “Memorizing you,” his voice said, dreamily.

I was silent a moment. I wasn’t certain of what he said. I saw a butterfly flit past him. “What?”

“The real color of your eyes. They’re not just blue. There’s some green. Brown. Black.” He pushed my hair behind my ear. “How your ear is shaped like a perfect tulip petal.”

A fingertip outlined the dip beneath my nose and lip. It tickled. It made me scratch my nose.

“The way you sit close to the table when you eat. How you hold your fork upside down to pick up your food…”

He was telling me things I didn’t even know about myself. I’d never even been aware of him watching me that closely. His hand trailed down from my shoulders to the small of my back. “The hair that grows like golden feathers right in the bend of your back.” He rubbed the hair back and forth with the tips of two fingers. I felt it. I’d never known it was there.

“Why?” I asked. I didn’t understand the curiosity.

“Because it’s important.”


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