Jeff kicks off the week with news that the Hat Trick Box Set has gone into wide release. The guys also announced that the podcast has been selected to be a GRL Featured Blogger ahead of the GayRomLit event in October. Authors attending GRL will start appearing on the podcast in June.
Will talks about the Hot Dudes Reading book, while Jeff reviews two books he recently finished: Joe Okonkwo’s Jazz Moon and Scott Pomfret’s The Second Half: A Gay American Football Story. They guys also talk about an essay Brandon Witt posted on Love Bytes detailing where he’s at in his efforts to be a full time author.
Dreamspinner’s marketing director Poppy Dennison stops by to talk about Book Expo America/Book Con before Jeff and Will welcome author/actor/storyteller Charlie David to talk about the re-release of his book Mulligans along with some other projects he’s working on.
Remember, you can listen and subscribe to the podcast anytime on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, PlayerFM, YouTube and audio file download.
Here are the things we talk about in this episode:
- Hat Trick Box Set by Jeff Adams on JeffAdamsWrites.com
- GayRomLit retreat website
- GayRomLit 2016 Featured Bloggers
- Hot Dudes Reading on Amazon
- @HotDudesReading on Instagram
- Jazz Moon by Joe Okonkwo for pre-order on Amazon
- Jeff’s review of Jazz Moon on JeffandWill.com
- The Second Half: A Gay American Football Story by Scott Pomfret for pre-order on Amazon
- Brandon Witt’s Essay “Dear Fellow Authors” on Love Bytes
- Charlie David Interview
- Mulligans novel on Amazon
- Mulligans film on Amazon
- Boy Midflight on Amazon
- Shadowlands on Amazon
- Border2Border Entertainment website
- Anne Rice on Amazon
- Eric Larson on Amazon
- Ella Frank on Amazon
- L.A. Witt on Amazon
- Charlie David audiobook narration on Audible
- Winter of the World by Ken Follett on Amazon
- Charlie David on YouTube | Vimeo | Twitter | Facebook
This transcript was made possible by our community on Patreon. You can get information on how to join them at patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Will: Coming up on today’s show, we talk to Charlie David about the rerelease of his novel, “Mulligans.”
Announcer: Welcome to the “Big Gay Fiction Podcast,” the show for readers and writers of gay romance fiction. If you can read it, write it, watch it, or listen to it, these two guys are going to talk about it. Now, here are your hosts, Jeff Adams and Will Knauss.
Jeff: Welcome to Episode number 33 of Jeff and Will’s “Big Gay Fiction Podcast.” I’m Jeff from JeffAdamsWrites.com.
Will: And I’m Will from WillKnauss.com.
Jeff: I should applaud after that fanfare. Very nice.
Will: Oh, since you’re on the list, I start the banter. So…
Jeff: I know, but you were so cute. I had to give you some applause.
Will: So in deference to bantering, how are you doing?
Jeff: I’m good. Thanks.
Will: Aw, that’s good.
Jeff: I’m good. It’s a decent week. Got some of the thing done.
Jeff: Yeah. How was your week?
Will: My week was fine. You were away on business, and I just sort of hung out. Didn’t do anything terribly interesting.
Jeff: I was away on business. I didn’t do much that was interesting either.
Will: And so go the days of our lives.
Jeff: Indeed. One bit of news in the book world, the “Hat Trick Box Set” that came out on Amazon a few weeks ago has gone wide. So it’s now available everywhere. Wherever you choose to buy your e-books, you can now pick up the “Hat Trick Box Set,” which has all 3 novels and all 3 short stories, for the one low price of $9.99. It’s a good deal.
Will: What a deal.
Jeff: It is a deal.
Jeff: Yeah. I’m very happy about that.
Will: That’s good to hear, good to hear.
Jeff: So we got big news this week.
Will: Big news.
Jeff: That did happen. Do you want to say it or shall I?
Will: Well, you were more of the architect behind the scenes and you probably have more details about the whole…
Jeff: Well, I may have been the architect that kept it going, but you were the one who suggested it first if I’m not mistaken.
Will: Was I?
Jeff: I think you were. So the podcast has been chosen as a GRL Featured Blogger. And you’re like, “How does a podcast become a blogger?” Well, the GRL Featured Blogger program has been going on for probably the last three or four GRLs. And what this is is that the organizers of GRL in conjunction with several of the major blogs that cover the gay romance genre get together and the blogs host GRL authors. And each year, there’s a process that goes on to choose the blogs that go on to it. And we decided to throw ourselves into the ring to see if we can host some of these authors because we’re a different way for authors to get out there and present themselves via audio and video. So I guess the organizers agreed that we were kind of a nice addition to the mix, and here we are. So starting in June, probably the first week of June, we will start hosting GRL authors on the podcast for some short interviews.
Will: That should be fun.
Jeff: Yeah. It will be, it will be. I’m looking forward to it.
Will: Yeah. I’m happy that we got a chance to do this, truthfully.
Jeff: Yes. We like this idea for the podcast because it will get us out in front of people we haven’t potentially been seen by before. As we talk to authors who have not been on the show, it’s gonna expose us to hopefully some new authors that we need to be aware of out there in the world.
Will: Yeah, yeah. Definitely.
Jeff: For the authors, hopefully, it’s a good way for them to get exposure in a new way, to let their fans hear them and potentially see them if they’ll let us do the video because we know some of the authors don’t want to be videoed and that’s 100% fine. I think it’s gonna be good for everybody, and I’m really looking forward to actually going to GRL with the podcast this year and doing what we’ve done at the Dreamspinner conference and at Rainbow Book Fair, and also talk to a lot of authors on scene as well.
Will: And when can we expect to getting some of these interviews? When will they start?
Jeff: Potentially as early as June 6th. So we got a cool book in the mail this week.
Will: Well, I guess we did. Last week or the week before, I jokingly posted about this on Facebook to our band of Facebook friends. And I joked that this particular little coffee-table book, if there was going to be an official book of the podcast, this one would be it. And I am talking about “Hot Dudes Reading.” This little book came out not too long ago, and basically it’s a collection of…
Jeff: Hot dudes reading.
Will: …hot dudes reading.
Jeff: Fancy that.
Will: It’s based on the “Instagram sensation,” so it says it right here on the cover, “@hotdudesreading.” And basically, it’s a really terrific collection of some of their greatest hits that have appeared on their Instagram account. They also did some special photoshoots in special locations all over New York City. All of these hot dudes reading are in New York, you know, at the subway…
Jeff: In Central Park, in Brooklyn, all over the place.
Will: Yeah. All over the place. The book is rather amusingly arranged by the color of subway lines. So whichever subway this, you know, particular gentleman’s picture has been taken on, it appears in that section, and if they are out and about in the big city, it’ll appear in the section where that subway line will take you.
Jeff: Yeah. There’s also some nice additional interviews in there, too, with some of the…I guess maybe the more popular guys have longer interviews, things like, you know, have they, you know, gotten dates because of their appearance on the Instagram account and what do their friends think of it. But also some really fun stuff like, you know, what’s their earliest childhood book that they read, and paperback versus hardback, and why they prefer physical books over Kindles, and some good stuff in there, stuff that we get on the show a lot. So yeah, we very much recommend picking this up.
Will: Wow, this guy at Woodhaven Boulevard is pretty adorable.
Jeff: Yeah. If you’re watching the video, you could check out Woodhaven Boulevard guy.
Will: Yeah. I’d read his book. So yeah, check it out if you have a chance. The book is available in classic hardback, and it’s also available in a Kindle edition.
Jeff: Yeah. We’ll link up to it on the show notes.
Will: Yeah, definitely.
Jeff: And Will is always on the lookout for hot guys reading books. So if you’re on our Facebook page, which you should all be, you know, going on to and like, periodically, as he finds them, he does post them up there for all of our podcast fans to listen to. And the Facebook page is facebook.com/biggayfictionpodcast. No surprise there. So while I was gone, I read this week. I had the time on planes, and I had, you know, chill out time periodically. So I finished “Jazz Moon” by Joe Okonkwo, which I had mentioned last week. It’s such a good book, it is such a good book. I have not read a book that had this kind of richness in character and place in a long time. I highly, highly recommend it. My entire review for it is on JeffandWill.com, and I’ll link to it in the show notes.
Will: Now, when you say richness in character and place, that’s a very artsy-fartsy literary kind of a term. Is this an enjoyable book to read, or is it a book that you’re supposed to like to read?
Jeff: I personally thoroughly enjoyed the read. There was nothing about it that was like…I was never feeling like I was trudging through it.
Will: That’s good. All right.
Jeff: It was a very enjoyable read. In my review, I actually likened it a little bit to “Ragtime,” in just how it makes the places that you’re at kind of a character and how deeply it dives into these characters’ lives.
Will: Remind me, again, what was this one about? I know you mentioned it last week, but…
Jeff: The young poet is married but is flirted with by the jazz trumpeter and goes off to Paris.
Will: Oh, yeah, yeah. The Golden Age historical… Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah. All right.
Jeff: So yeah, highly recommend that, and it’s linked up, too, in the show notes. It actually comes out this week.
Jeff: The other book I read is called “The Second Half: A Gay American Football Story” by Scott Pomfret. Some of you may remember Scott as half of Scott and Scott, who wrote the Romentics books a few years back.
Will: I remember that.
Jeff: Yeah. Those were delightful books. And Scott reached out because we’d reviewed the books on JeffandWill.com, I mean, back in the day with this book, and I loved it. It’s coach falling in love with quarterback, and I do love my athlete stories. But they’re close age, too. Means that it’s not a May-December romance because Peyton is just out of college and this is his first coaching job, and Brady deferred his college to go fight in Iraq. So they’re closer in age than they normally would be. And they’ve got so much working against them. But it’s such a good read. It comes out June 18th and is up for pre-order. So we’ll have that also linked up in the show notes for people to grab.
Will: Okay. That sounds good.
Jeff: And both Scott and Joe will be on the podcast in the coming weeks to talk about their books.
Will: Oh, fancy. Awesome. That sounds fun. Earlier this week, a friend of the podcast, Brandon Witt, wrote an opinion piece at Love Bytes Reviews. Is that the name of the site?
Will: Love Bytes. Okay. And basically he talked about the…essentially, it was about the harsh realities of being a full-time writer. Now, you read this and you were depressed about it.
Jeff: I don’t know that I was so much depressed by Brandon’s piece as the comments that came after it.
Will: Oh, okay.
Jeff: And I think it was very courageous for Brandon to put it out there, for one thing. So kudos, Brandon, for letting your heart out like that. I don’t know. The comments, to me, were, like, there’s a lot of people out there struggling to do their thing. And I think we all know that that’s the case, especially if you’re trying to make that leap into full-time this. And we hear a lot about it on the writing-related podcast that we listen to, too, you know, you just got to keep plugging away on it. And certainly, you know, what I took away from Brandon’s piece is, like, you know, “Here’s where I am, and I’m still plugging away. And I’m gonna keep going for it.” What was your take on it?
Will: I just thought it was important that he said what he said. I think the truthfulness. He wasn’t bitching and moaning about, “Oh, it’s hard. I’m a writer, it’s so hard.” Because he made it abundantly clear that’s not what this piece was about and he didn’t want anyone to think that’s what he was doing. He’s just, you know, trying to be upfront and truthful about how difficult it can sometimes be despite how it might look otherwise. Because on the outside, most people view Brandon as a success because, well, there are several different factors.
One is he’s had, you know, several…seven, actually, seven books published, and that’s pretty amazing. Most people would, you know, think that’s pretty badass. And so, you know, there’s a win right there. He’s just, you know, a success for being able to do that. And plus, you know, it’s, you know, Brandon being Brandon. He’s kind of, you know, shiny, and he’s happy, and he’s out there on social media a lot. And he puts forth not a fake or a false, like, mask of, you know, the happy author. But he’s, you know, out there making sure that, you know, people are aware that he exists, you know. You got to work to get your name out there and keep it out there, and make sure people are aware of your books.
So despite what…he’s out there, and he’s in social media, and he’s doing pieces on blogs, and he’s got seven books under his belt. Despite those maybe outward markers of success, he was pretty honest that he is having a pretty tough time right now because he mentioned in the interview a couple of months back that he went full-time. He’s trying to make a living by his writing all alone, and that’s difficult for anybody, let alone someone in our genre. And I think that’s what the piece was mainly about. It was just being honest about the realities of what can happen and what’s going on in the genre at the moment.
Jeff: I think it helped drive home, too…and I don’t think he put it in so many words. But I mean, it’s like running any small business.
Will: That’s true.
Jeff: Any small business is difficult. And it can look like your favorite restaurant is doing great on the outside, and then you discover one day that it’s not there anymore.
Will: Yeah, true. Exactly. Right.
Jeff: I mean, the perfect analogy, I think, that we found a couple weeks ago, we went to one of our favorite spots for lunch and they’re not open for lunch anymore because they’re not able to stay open for lunch. And so now it’s only dinner.
Will: Yeah. It’s too expensive to stay open that many hours.
Jeff: And everybody who’s trying to write for a living is a small business that will have its ups and downs.
Will: Yeah, yeah. So hang in there, Brandon. We all love you, and you’re doing great work. We know it’s tough now, but keep plugging away. I’m sure it’s gonna happen.
Poppy Dennison Talks About BookExpo America and BookCon
Jeff: Yup, absolutely. So we have a special contributor on deck this week. We reached out to Poppy Dennison a few days ago, hot after her getting back from BookExpo America and BookCon.
Jeff: And those two events took place last weekend, May 11th through the 14th, in Chicago. And we caught up with her to find out what that event was…well, what it was like for Dreamspinner to be there.
Jeff: We have Poppy Dennison with us today to talk about BEA and BookCon. Welcome, Poppy.
Poppy: Hi. Good morning.
Jeff: So of course, you were at BEA and BookCon with Dreamspinner as, you know, marketing director and also with your own books. For those who don’t know, tell us what BEA is.
Poppy: BEA is the BookExpo of America, and it’s one of the largest book events of the year, particularly in the United States. There’s some larger book fairs in Europe and places, but this is really the big one in the United States. And what the BookExpo is is a place where all of the book industry comes together. So this is really a big business event. So you’ll have publishers there, you’ll have printers there, you’ll have marketing folks there. Anybody who’s actually involved in the behind-the-scenes of the book industry, they’re there kind of selling their wares and letting other publishers and people in the business know who you are.
So BookCon, on the other hand, is sort of attached to the BookExpo, but it’s a one-day event where the same folks kind of hang around for an extra day, and we invite readers and fans in, and there’s a lot of big events there. And so the readers get to come in and explore and introduce themselves to new publishers and new books. So it’s kind of a crazy, impressive, humongous event.
Jeff: What was Dreamspinner’s involvement there? People may have seen on Facebook the huge table, all the books, the big book signing that happened.
Poppy: So what we do is we’re there as part of the BookExpo to introduce other business folks to Dreamspinner and let people know who we are and what we do. For the BookExpo for the main part, for my role, as folks are kind of walking and exploring the event, I get to stop and talk to those folks, and let them know who we are and what we do, and tell them a little bit about our books. There’s a lot of librarians at the BookExpo. So it’s a great opportunity for us to, like, let other librarians even know that we exist. It’s particularly true for our young adult line and for our DSP Publications line, which is our genre fiction. Those are newer imprints, and a lot of folks still don’t know that they exist. So we’re really just trying to spread the word about not only Dreamspinner but Harmony Ink and DSP Publications, kinda let folks know that we exist and get our books into those library catalogs.
Jeff: And how was the book signing? I saw online that, like, all the Harmony authors, basically all their books were gone in the in the early part of the day.
Poppy: Yeah, yeah. We had… Let’s see. I think we did three Harmony authors and four Dreamspinner authors came in and did a signing. It was really amazing because the lines, like, they just form and folks get so excited. We do the book signings for Dreamspinner. Our kind of signings are held on the BookCon day and not during the BookExpo. Some of the publishers actually do signings during the BookExpo. We do ours during BookCon. And it was amazing. I mean, just the lines that just form, and people get so excited to meet authors. And it’s a really cool experience because they can see that author face to face and get to have that experience. And so it’s really…it’s a lot of fun, and, you know, basically, we just kinda are like, “Hey, we’ve got a book signing,” and they’re like, “What?” And they line up and get all excited. So it’s really, really fun just to kind of watch it happening.
Jeff: What was the general overall kind of feeling about gay romance being there? Does it fit right in?
Poppy: You know, everybody is so open to us being there. I mean, I have not had a negative experience at this event. Especially the librarians are just so happy to know that we exist if they don’t know. If they do, they come looking to us and say, “What’s new? What’s exciting?” You know, “What can I add to my collection at my library?” They’re just so open to us being there, and they’re happy that we’re there. And I got so many responses that were, like, “I’m so glad you guys do what you do. I’m so thankful that you’re here. Keep doing what you’re doing.” They’re just so incredibly supportive. It’s really an empowering event, as both an author and a supporter, and an advocate, just to be there and to see the just open arms and acceptance that we receive. It’s really just not an issue at all. We’re another publisher, you know. So it’s kind of special in a way to not be singled out. We’re just…we’re part of it. We do what we do. So it’s really cool.
Jeff: That’s awesome. Well, thanks so much for stopping by and talking to us about it.
Poppy: No problem. Happy to. Anytime.
Will: Thank you, Poppy, for taking a few minutes to talk to us about the shindig and goings-on down in Chicago. That was interesting.
Charlie David Interview
Jeff: Yeah. I enjoyed getting that little bit of talking with her. So we have Charlie David up next, who’s here to talk about his release of the book for the movie “Mulligans,” which is out this Wednesday, May 25th, from Dreamspinner Press. He’s also the voice of the audiobook. So he has really done “Mulligans” in every possible format, from the movie, which he acts in and which he wrote, to the book, to the audiobook. And we actually talk about what the differences were in working across all those different artistic formats in the interview.
Jeff: Yeah. So let’s go talk to Charlie.
So it’s our pleasure to welcome Charlie David to the podcast. Charlie calls himself a storyteller. He’s been on TV in the travel series “Bump!” as well as the paranormal, “Dante’s Cove.” His films include “Mulligans,” “A Four Letter Word,” “Judas Kiss,” and most recently, “Paternity Leave,” some of which have been produced through his production company, Border2Border Entertainment. He’s also an author and voiceover artist for several titles available from Dreamspinner Press. His novelization of the 2008 film “Mulligans” is being rereleased by Dreamspinner on May 25th. Thanks for being here, Charlie.
Charlie: Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to do this.
Jeff: So if our research is right, “Mulligans” marked a few first for you, first full-length movie to write and produce, first novelization. But tell us about the story for those who may not be familiar.
Charlie: Well, first off, for those that don’t know, a mulligan is a term from golf, and it’s essentially used in a more casual game when one player takes a shot and is allowed to take a second stroke, and it doesn’t count against that player’s score. So it’s a do-over. And writing the screenplay and the book from “Mulligans” really came about after I had done this gothic, supernatural, soapy show called “Dante’s Cove,” which was a lot of fun. It was very kind of gay-in-your-face in a way.
Jeff: That’s a good way to put it. Yeah.
Charlie: Best watched drunk is the other way that I, you know, generally caution people if they haven’t seen the show. I mean, you know, it’s throwing fireballs at witches and warlocks, and, you know, people were half-dressed most of the time. But it wasn’t necessarily the type of programming that I felt comfortable, like, sharing with my grandparents, or even family, or people who…you know, I was also recently coming out. So I wanted to start writing and producing content that I felt could further the conversation around what it means to be LGBTQ that was more accessible to a mainstream audience. And that’s why I wrote “Mulligans.”
And I think in many ways on the film front, we did succeed in that, you know. We had networks like HBO, and Sundance, and another mainstream networks in Canada pick it up. So that broadest kind of beyond the niche of just gay TV. And, of course, the gay networks have been extremely supportive as well, which has been good. But, you know, it was a show where, you know, my grandmother invested and watched, and, you know.
Jeff: Invested even. That’s awesome.
Charlie: Well, you know, it was one of these things where I was a first-time producer, you know. I was 27 years old and had done a little bit of TV and film but had never produced a film before, you know. And nobody likes to bet on a horse that they haven’t seen run, right?
Charlie: So I didn’t have broadcast support, or distributor support, or any kind of presale money. So it was one of these things that you now see a lot of them, like Indiegogo and things like this, where, like, “Please help me fund my film.” Except at that point, I wasn’t looking for donations. It was, “Be a part of this. Come on board and be an investor, and let’s take this journey together.” And so I flew around Canada and the U.S., giving little dinner parties and pitches about what this story was and why I believed in it. And thankfully, enough people came on board to make it happen. And, you know, everybody got paid back and shared in profits. So that felt even better.
Jeff: Nice. Well done. Congratulations for a first film. That’s awesome. What’s it like revisiting the story eight years on as you get ready for the Dreamspinner rerelease?
Charlie: It’s really interesting. I mean, the story, for me, of “Mulligans,” it touches a lot of points. A lot of the characters were inspired from friends or family in my own life, which is, you know, I think, something that a lot of writers, of course, do. Somebody inspires you in a little thing that they say or the way they hold a teacup, or whatever it is, and you kind of, you know, rolled from there. So there was a lot of, you know, chuckles, and comfort, and fond memories of both the filming and the original writing. And the Dreamspinner team, for me, the editing team there, just really helped elevate the level of the book and, I think, took my writing and pushed me, encouraged me to make it better than it was. So I think with this second edition, it’s something that I’m proud of, and I’m excited for the story to go back out into the world.
Jeff: Awesome. So you mentioned that, you know, obviously, they did their editing work with you. Was there anything that you went into the revisions knowing you wanted to change, or adjust, or update?
Charlie: Yeah, absolutely. I think in the film…I mean, you know, film is an interesting beast where generally a screenplay is only 80 to maybe 100 pages, right? And on those pages, you have a little bit of description, but it’s mostly dialog and a lot of white space left for the imagination of the director and everybody involved. And while I’m certainly happy with the film, I think that there were some things that for me, as the storyteller, the creator, you know, were left on the editing room floor or weren’t explored in the way that, you know, I thought they maybe could be. So some of those things are certainly drawn out more in the novel.
So side relationships as well as chapter by chapter, we switch perspective from one character to the next. So we’re going through each of, you know, the members of the family and then the character of Chase, who is the character who kind of disrupts the family unit, and we see what’s going on, their motivations, what they’re thinking. And I think that really is helpful. I mean, it’s been great, both the film and the book, the amount of interaction with people who have watched or read after who have said, “Oh, I love the story. I really like the family. And can we do a sequel?”
And so, I mean, that’s something that I certainly consider although it was probably one of the hardest endings I’ve ever had to write or come up with. And I think part of that..I should backtrack a little bit. So I mentioned what a mulligans is in golf and the term…like, in our story, what happens is two college-aged best friends go home for the summer holidays, and the friend has an affair with his best friend’s father. And so then it’s the repercussions of that affair, that kind of falling out. And, you know, and certainly kind of a coming-out-later-in-life story, which is, I think, the trigger that most resonated with a lot of people.
Jeff: In terms of the ending, do you think you accomplished it, for lack of a better word, better, I guess, in the book than the film because of, I guess, what the novel page gives you to, like, spread things out more?
Charlie: Yeah. I think that’s it. Like, in the film, I probably had originally written at least three or four scenes between the parents, you know, discussing, “Where is our relationship now? What does this mean? Are you gay? Am I supposed to have boyfriends? Are you supposed to have boyfriends? Are we still gonna live together? Am I taking this house and you’re taking the cottage? How do we tell our 10-year-old daughter about this?”
Like, all this shtuff that a normal relationship would go through, obviously, the fireworks, the highs, the lows, the crying, you know, to get to a place of reconciliation that really…I mean, everybody is different. But that could take years, you know, could never happen, a reconciliation, or, you know, in the case of our story, we tried to build it so that the mother knew. She knew, but she wasn’t…you know, she didn’t want to admit it to herself. It certainly wasn’t something that she was putting out there. It was kind of like, “I maybe have a husband who’s interested in the same sex, but it’s not something that, you know, he’s dealing…” Like, “He’s not out there chasing anything. And so everything’s kind of as good as it gets, and let’s just keep the car on the rails,” as it were.
Yeah. So I think in the novel, I was certainly able to expound on all of that in what was going on internally for those characters and how they got to a place of being okay in their own way. And it’s not a happily ever after at least yet. I think, you know, everybody is left with hope and an open road. But I think just by its essence, the story is a very difficult one, for me at least, to realistically tie up and put a bow on.
Jeff: Right, right. I think the bow would make it feel forced. So as an author, do you have a preference…or actually better as not just an author, but as a creator, do you have a preference of, like, writing screenplay versus novel, or do they just both bring you something different?
Charlie: Yeah. I think they really bring something different. I love both story forms, you know. I think they’re so fun to explore. When I’m writing a screenplay, I’m imagining it as a director, right? Or as a producer. And in some ways, that becomes more limiting because I’m also quite aware of what budgets are in gay film, and I tend to make things kind of in the queer space. So sometimes that’s a little bit limiting because then I start going, “Oh, that’d be fun, but that’s gonna cost this much. And then if we do that or if I want…” You know, and so I have to really try and break out of that box because my brain is built as a producer as well, and to turn that off takes some real effort. Whereas in a more creative story form, like a novel or short story, or whatever, those limitations are gone. So that’s definitely more exciting.
Jeff: And with “Mulligans,” we should mention, too, that you also did the audiobook, you voiced the audiobook. So you’ve really, like, done every performance method available. You were Chase in the film. What was it like to take this that you’ve done this Chase only and then voice and essentially performed the entire work?
Charlie: Yeah. It was very interesting because I think as a novelist or any storyteller, you would, like…I’m sure this resonates with you, too, that a little bit of your heart goes into each of the characters, even the ones that you maybe dislike, you know, but, you know, there’s parts of you in every page. And so it was rewarding. It was really fun. It was emotional to go through scenes like the most explosive one between the parents, to reimagine Thea Gill playing the role of Stacey, the mother, in that kitchen, talking to her husband for the first time saying, “I saw you. I saw you kiss him.” And, like, my body gets shivers just as I think of, “Oh, my God. What would that be like to just feel your world start to crumble?” You know, and knowing that in that moment, you probably have a choice, to continue to avert your gaze and go about life or to confront this head-on.
So yeah, it was really, really fun to do that, and I generally get a lot of joy in, you know, voicing the work of authors and doing these audiobooks. It’s a really fun experience to go along that ride with them to find the voice of the different characters. And I mean, I’m not, like, a voice artist in terms of, you know, big cartoon stuff or how some voice artists are really fantastic at putting a bunch of different voices for everybody. I tend to do a little bit of nuanced work, occasional accents, especially if it’s obviously written in, and I’ll do my best.
But I mean, yeah, not every book makes a good audiobook either, and that’s something that I think generally as authors, when we’re writing, we’re not imagining what it’s gonna sound like as an audiobook, right? And sometimes it becomes very challenging when I look at a page and if it’s just dialog, dialog, dialog, and it’s six people at a dinner party, okay, like, you know, to switch back and forth, even with simple nuances between those people, if they don’t have kind of a tag at the end, “she said,” “he,” whatever, “gestured.” And so yeah, I mean, I’m learning a lot as a writer just by, you know, being able to read other people’s work, which is pretty fun.
Jeff: You’ve got two other books with Dreamspinner, “Boy Midflight,” which is an audio, and “Shadowlands,” an e-book and audio. Tell us a little bit about those.
Charlie: “Boy Midflight” is also receiving a rerelease with Dreamspinner on July 4th, which I’m excited about. It has a great new cover and, you know, was also broomed, and swept, and dusted through. So I think, again, it’s also a better book than the first edition. “Boy Midflight” is very much my story as a teenager, I would say. It’s a coming-out story and then with some kind of creative, imaginative flourishes moving on from there. But it’s about a young guy who’s going to a performing arts college in Victoria on Canada’s west coast, moves down to the States, and it’s kind of following his search for love along the way.
And then “Shadowlands” is a book of short stories. So it’s an anthology of kind of paranormal queer short stories. So that was really fun and definitely much darker than anything else that I’ve done. And I think that was maybe the most startling feedback that I’ve received, is people going like, “You wrote that?” Like, “Where did that come from?” You know, because they either know me as the bubbly host of the travel show “Bump!” constantly smiling, and joking, and having fun or, you know, from other acting work. But they’ve never kind of seen this, you know, kind of dark emo side, which, like, also exists, you know.
So in ways, that was maybe one of my favorite books to write just because it was so freeing that it’s short form. It could be kind of anything. There’s prose in there, there’s poetry. So yeah, and that one’s out on e-book, paperback, and audiobook as well.
Jeff: That must have been a fun audio to record, going between the prose and the poetry, and some of that darker stuff.
Charlie: It was really fun, although I would say it was…I think it was one of the first audiobooks I ever recorded. And I was in Seattle, filming “Judas Kiss,” this movie that we did a few years ago. And it was on a day between filming and we just…we booked us, like, an audio studio, went in. And so the pressure was on to do, like, you know, almost 200 pages in a day and…
Jeff: Wow. That’s ambitious.
Charlie: That was ambitious. That was very ambitious and not the way that I like to work. I mean, often when I’m doing an audiobook for somebody, I’ll take a month, you know, because I’m reading, I’m planning, and then I lay chapters down. I go away, I edit that work, you output, like, you know, and then there’s back and forth with the author or with the publishing house as well in terms of little tweaks or fixes here and there. So it’s a bigger process than a day.
Jeff: And I would imagine just giving voice to 200 pages in a day, having talked to some voiceover artists, it’s like, there’s a point where they need to stop so their voice isn’t just drained.
Charlie: Yeah, yeah. No, I think it was one of the…yeah, one of the most difficult and, again, a learning experience, you know, where I would go, “That’s not happening again. I don’t care how tight my schedule is, we are not doing that.”
Jeff: Smart. So what kind of stories attract you as an author and creator to, you know, lend your voice and talent to?
Charlie: I guess, yeah, it kind of depends on the genre in which I’m working. Like, for the past three or four years, I’ve really been exploring documentary and loving that. And so all my doc films are up on my website, border2border.ca. And we’ve just released one called “Balls” that’s all about men’s testicular health. So looking at guys who have gone through testicular torsion, which is when they twist and there’s a loss of blood flow, testicular cancer, varicocele vein within the trans community, either M2F or F2M. So that choice to keep the balls or, I mean, right now we don’t really have a way to build them for F2M. So how do you have kind of psychic balls? This whole idea of, like, what does this weird body part mean in terms of masculinity, virility, why do we imbue it with so much shtuff, you know. So that’s one.
We’re doing one on polyamory, which is called “Us Bus.” So the idea of, you know, living non-monogamous lives and finding new forms of love. We’ve done mini-series on strippers called “I’m A Stripper.” We’ve done, yeah, lots of different things. And that, working as a director in documentary, has taught me story in a very different way because documentary is a live animal that has no leash. And you try, and, you know, plan as much as possible, but you are following real people and you’re trying to anticipate how they will react in any given situation, how they may answer a question, and then following the lead from there.
So it’s very…I found that form very exciting. And in the scripted world, we’re turning “Shadowlands” into an episodic miniseries. So we’re gonna take some of those paranormal queer short stories and shoot it as, like, probably five or six episodes in about a half an hour, kind of a throwback to, like, “The Twilight Zone,” that type of a feel.
Jeff: Nice. Are we gonna see you all dressed up in a suit introducing each Rod Serlingesque?
Charlie: That was the thought originally, and we even did, like, a little teaser in that way, with me as, like, a ringmaster, but then we’ve decided since to cut that. And so, you know, it’s still a homage to that kind of era of that kind of television. But we’re gonna lose the host and just go directly into the stories, which I think will be stronger.
Jeff: So as an author, who are your inspirations when you’re writing?
Charlie: Growing up, I guess I read a lot of Anne Rice. I devoured her work, and I think that…you know, I could definitely draw a line from her to “Shadowlands” and the inspiration there. I mean, she’s just so descriptive and verbose, and, like, in the best way, you know. Right now, I’m reading a lot of historical fiction. I love Erik Larson. I think he’s, like, such an amazing talent to take, you know, people’s journals, and news reports, and all these things from over 100 years ago, and weave a yarn that is gripping to me today. In the kind of MM space, I’ve been enjoying Ella Frank and L.A. Witt. I’ve been doing some of their audiobooks recently, and yeah, they’ve been…you know, I’ve certainly enjoyed their work as well. But I almost always have a pile of, like, four or five books on my nightstand and I’m the type of person who will be interswitching.
Jeff: Oh, wow.
Charlie: And reading different ones and, you know, depending on kind of my mood for that evening, whether I need to get to bed quickly so something needs to put me to sleep or it’s a multichapter night. Yeah.
Jeff: So what’s the most recent than you read off that stack if only for like, one bedtime?
Charlie: Right now I’m actually reading “Winter of the World,” which is I would run to get the author’s name. Gosh. I can’t remember his name.
Jeff: I could look that up off Amazon. That’s in the internet.
Charlie: I mean, it’s one of these like, he writes these, like, 900 or 1000-page kind of epic stories. “Winter of the World” follows probably 10 families kind of leading up to the Second World War and so we’re in Germany, we’re in the UK, we’re in Ireland, we’re in Spain, we’re in the U.S., and again it’s… I guess more it’s in that historical fiction land and World War I, World War II, I’m really enjoying right now which is maybe a little bit off-topic for romance, but…
Jeff: I don’t think… Not necessarily everybody reads all romance all the time.
Charlie: Yeah. No, true.
Jeff: When do we get to see more of you as an author with another book at Dreamspinner perhaps? Anything in the works?
Charlie: Yeah. You know, I’ve had a couple that are just… Yeah. My latest one working title, “Boys of Montgomery” is a… It’s kind of like a queer Hardy Boys and I guess that was something that I desire to fantasized about when I was reading those guys growing up. I was like, “Oh, what if these guys were, like, you know, not brothers, but boyfriends? And what if they went around, you know, solving mysteries all over the place?” And so I’m about, I would say probably three quarters of the way for that. So hopefully in the next six months.
Jeff: Definitely. I’ll definitely push the buy button for that because that sounds great. I mean, I had the Hardy Boys books growing up and there was the, you know, the 70s TV show.
Charlie: Yeah. This is more… I mean, it’s probably for their Harmony Ink press, you know, like, it’s more YA. Yeah. But something that I wanted to explore. You know, I’ve just couldn’t been reflecting recently again on like, what is my life mission? What the heck am I doing here? And like, does any of this matter? And, you know, those esoteric weird questions that we sometimes go through. But I keep coming back and always have to this idea that, you know, I grew up in small town Saskatchewan, had no gay mentors, there wasn’t, you know, accessible gay media at that time, and I think that’s what has always pushed me to create, and will continue to push me to create in this space, whether it’s film, TV, or books is telling our stories and, you know, hopefully telling stories that feel authentic and reflective of who we are.
Jeff: And I certainly felt that with “Mulligans.” I mean, there’s so much there, I mean, even though it was made, you know, almost a decade ago now. It works as a story of now too I think.
Charlie: Yeah. It’s interesting. I think that was the most rewarding thing when we released the film on the festival circuit at first because I mean, you make something you have no idea, right? Like, whether it’s a book or a film, or whatever, how people are gonna react. Is anybody gonna read it? Will your mom read it? Will she tell you what’s good? I mean, that’s her job, right? But we opened in in Toronto with “Mulligans,” and I remember walking up with my business partner, Linda. And there is this line up down the sidewalk out, you know, out of the theater. And I was like, “Oh, my God. I wonder what this is for.” Like, “Can you imagine? Could you imagine if our film got, you know, people lining up like this?” And sure enough it was. It was our screening and that was incredible. And then to sit in that audience, and hear people laugh when you hoped they would laugh, cry when you hope they would cry, and applaud, you know. Like, and then after for so many… Especially I would say, you know, men that were kind of in their 40s, 50s, 60s coming up after and saying, “That was my story,” you know, like, or, “There were certainly elements of my life’s journey in there. I was married. I had kids. I had to come to terms with the fact that that wasn’t, you know, that’s not who I was. That’s not how it was built.” And the amazing beautiful stories. I mean, I told one as best as I could imagine it, right? But the truth is so many men and women have gone through this journey and their stories are incredible with did they find reconciliation? Did they not? How did they talk to their children? How did they, you know, then approach life in the workplace? I mean, you know, it’s coming on as tough. It doesn’t matter what age it is and how you’re doing it, or, you know, whether it’s, you know, any of the letters and the acronym of our community.
Jeff: That’s a great way to put it. So what’s the best way for people to keep up with your work?
Charlie: I guess, I mean, visiting my website if you want to see the work that’s available now which is border2border.ca. So border2border.ca and then I mean, since I’m a video guy, either YouTube or Vimeo. And if you just search for Charlie David, you can, you know, find me there. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook, and other social things. But probably YouTube and Vimeo are the ones that I’m most active.
Jeff: Awesome, awesome. Is there anything else you’d like to throw out to our listeners and watchers before we wrap up?
Charlie: No. Just, I mean, thank you so much for having me on. Thank you for what you do and for your, you know, support, and encouragement for all of us in the creative community. I really appreciate it and especially that you get up at, you know, 4:30 in the morning to do it.
Jeff: We’re certainly very happy to have you here and wish you all the success with the rerelease and the other projects you’ve got cooking out there.
Charlie: Thank you so much.
Jeff: So thanks to Charlie for coming on to talk to us about “Mulligans.” That was awesome. Can’t believe it’s been 10 years since “Dante’s Cove.”
Will: It’s been a while.
Jeff: Poor Kevin, he’s still stuck in that mirror. I so badly want to ask about that and I just left it alone because that’s in the past now. Yeah.
Will: So that’s about does it for this week’s episode. Before we leave, I wanna thank Anne for the most recent five-star review on iTunes.
Jeff: Yay. Thanks, Anne.
Will: And she also left some book recommendations in the comments of Episode 31 if anyone wants to take a look at that.
Jeff: Absolutely. Katie left us some recommendations on 31 also.
Will: Yeah. So if anyone would like to leave a review, we certainly wouldn’t mind it, and if you wanna leave comments like Christina did, we would appreciate it.
Jeff: Absolutely. We love to hear from you guys.
Will: So we love hearing from you all. Drop us a line, say hi, and that’ll do it for this week.
Jeff: Absolutely. Bye, guys.
Announcer: Thank you for listening to Jeff and Will’s “Big Gay Fiction Podcast.” For detailed show notes, go to BigGayFictionPodcast.com.
Another great episode this week. Thanks to both of you for your hard work.
Also, the Brandon Witt essay was eye-opening, sobering, and frankly depressing. I didn’t fully appreciate the kinds of struggles an author (m/m or otherwise) faces trying to earn a living doing something they love.
It’s tough for any author. From the figures we’ve seen, reported in many places, on average authors earn between $5k and $8k per year so it takes a lot of perseverance to keep at it, especially when doing it full time.
Brandon’s post went right to the heart. I’ve been doing this since the late 90’s and finally quit my day job went “full-time writer” two years ago. Perhaps I cheated a bit. I waited until I was older. We have no real debt. Everything’s paid off. The kid is out of the house and out of college. And when all that happens, it’s shocking how little you can live on.
We have no safety net for people in the arts. You either succeed or you don’t and it hurts to see so many people struggling just to be able to go after their hearts’ desire.
Couldn’t agree more with you, Angel. So many leave their pursuit of the arts in order to pay the bills and it’s sad to see it happen. Kudos to everyone who keeps going to make their art!
Another great episode! Can’t believe you didnt ask Charlie David about Dante’s Cove.
In keeping with the Hot Men Reading pics thought you guys might appreciate this – Men with Cats:
It’s based on a French Tumblr Des Hommes et des Chatons, created by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud Men & Cats which pairs pics of sexy men and adorable cats:
P.S Just finished the Hat Trick boxset – loved it! Review on Goodreads and Facebook shortly. (I go by Jess A Jaye on both)
I think we could’ve done 30 minutes exploring “Dante’s Cove” alone…and then I bungled the end of the episode with getting the wrong character in the mirror. Oops! So glad you enjoyed the box set too! And for the lovely review. So much appreciated!