6 Questions for Author Sandra de Helen

Author Sandra de Helen

Author Sandra de Helen

By Mark McNease

Sandra de Helen is the author of the lesbian thriller Till Darkness Comes. She also pens the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson series. A writer in many mediums, Sandra is a poet, journalist, and playwright. Her plays have been produced in the Philippines, Ireland, Canada, Chicago, New York City, and in thirteen states. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Dramatists Guild. Her books are available online, at Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. Samples of her work are available on her website.

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6 Questions for Author Michael Nava

Author Michael Nava

Author Michael Nava

By Mark McNease

As a mystery writer myself, it shouldn’t be surprising I jumped at the chance to interview Michael Nava, an icon in the genre. His seminal Henry Rios series was heralded as the gold standard when the books came out, beginning with The Little Death in 1986.

In communicating with Michael for this interview, I discovered we were both in Los Angeles during the same time period, and both considered queer bookstore A Different Light (Silver Lake location) central to our writing and reading lives. This December we’ll see the release of Lay Your Sleeping Head, from Kórima Press (now available for pre-order), a reimagined and substantially rewritten version of that first book. I had the great pleasure of reading an advance copy, and was struck on the first page by its literary strength, its meticulous, rich detail and the aching humanity of its characters, as well as its finely crafted plot. Nava, as was declared of him in the New York Times, was, and is, “one of the best.” I’m delighted to share his answers to ‘6 Questions’. (And for all you audiobook fans, check out his Henry Rios series on Audible.)

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6 Questions for Audiobook Narrator Daniela Acitelli

Daniella Acitelli

Daniella Acitelli

By Mark McNease

I recently had the pleasure of working with audiobook narrator and voiceover artist Daniela Acitelli on my book Death in the Headlights. Daniela was my first and immediate choice, with a voice as rich and clear as her personality is engaging. We’ve since become friends, and she’s been kind enough to give me a glimpse into the life of a professional book narrator. A Californian now living in London, Daniela follows her passions and inspires others to do the same. Enjoy her answers to ‘6 Questions’ below.

You can see Daniela’s website here, and find her many audiobooks here.

MM: You’re an expat living in London, originally from California. Why London, and how did that come about?

DA: I moved for love… well almost. I grew up with a father from Italy and a mother from America travelling back and forth so as a little girl I always assumed I’d move to some exotic country. London had everything and appealed to the ‘city girl’ in me. I’m married to a Glaswegian. I’m working on convincing him to move to Glasgow someday.

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6 Questions for Author Ann Aptaker

Author Ann Aptaker

Author Ann Aptaker

By Mark McNease

Whether you’re new to LGBT mysteries or a longtime fan, the name Ann Aptaker should by now be a familiar one. Author of the Cantor Gold series, Ann recently had the distinction of being the first author to with both the Lambda Literary Award (tied with Victoria Brownworth) and the Golden Crown Society Award for best mystery for the same book.

Considering that winning book, Tarnished Gold, was only the second in the series, you can plan on seeing many more featuring the irrepressible Cantor Gold. Thanks to Ann for taking the time to answer ‘6 Questions,’ offering an inside look at her life and writing.

Read more about Ann below, following the interview.

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6 Questions for Author Michael Craft

Author Michael Craft

Author Michael Craft

By Mark McNease

I had the pleasure of reading a short story author Michael Craft submitted for an anthology I was co-editing a couple years ago. The story, “Frog Legs”, was an immediate yes, and among the best stories in that collection. As it turns out, it was also the first story in his new book, Inside Dumont, a novel-in-stories that centers on characters in Dumont, Wisconsin, and begins with architect Marson Miles falling in love with his nephew over a dinner that includes frog legs.

With advance praise from Patricia Nell Warren and Michael Nava, Inside Dumont presents the story of Marson Miles in his later life from a variety of viewpoints. Each story connects to the others to make a striking, organic whole. It’s a great pleasure to finally have a chance to ask Michael ‘6 Questions,’ and share his wonderfully detailed answers. Read more about Michael after the interview.

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6 Questions for Author and Artist Paul Plumadore

Paul Plumadore

Paul Plumadore

By Mark McNease

Now and then I’m fortunate to share a new Featured Book and immediately want to interview the author. Paul Plumadore’s recent Archive 1957-1974 was one of those times. The book is his memoir of a life in dance that began at age 7 and carried him through an extraordinary series of achievements, including a stint in the internationally renowned Paul Taylor Dance Company in his 20’s. Utilizing photographs from the period, the book “chronicles the joy as well as the agony of the life of a dancer coming-out during the sexual revolution in 1970’s New York City.”

Following are Paul’s answers to ‘6 Questions’, each revealing a remarkable life of accomplishment, setback, grief and renewal. – Mark McNease/Editor

MM: You’ve recently published a book, Archive 1957 – 1974, about your life in dance. Can you tell us about the book and what readers can expect to find in it?

51efG13p1pL._SX490_BO1,204,203,200_PP: Archive is a memoir that begins at age 7 when I took my first tap lesson and told my mother that same day that I would become a dancer, and ends in the year 1974 after my time with the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Those 17 years were filled with determination, excitement and, ultimately, hardship. It is the journey of a wide-eyed country boy who struggled to prove himself and turn himself into an artist through dance.

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6 Questions for Author Joe Okonkwo

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Author Joe Okonkwo

By Mark McNease

I’ve had the great pleasure of getting to know author Joe Okonkwo this year, including the privilege of sharing his 2015 Puschart Prize-nominated short story Cleo here at lgbtSr. Joe’s debut novel Jazz Moon was recently released to deserved acclaim. He’s the Prose Editor for Newtown Literary, a journal featuring work by writers from Queens, New York, and in In 2017 he will take the reins as Editor of the annual Best Gay Stories anthology published by Lethe PressFollowing are Joe’s answers to a ‘6 Questions’ interview.

MM: Please tell us a little about yourself, your journey from there to here (you went to school in Houston so I’m guessing you’re not a native New Yorker, few of us are, but I could be wrong …)

JO: I am a native New Yorker—if you’re talking about New York state. I was born in Syracuse, then moved around a great deal: New Jersey, Michigan, Nigeria, Mississippi. I ended up in Houston at age 11 and lived there till I moved to NYC in 2000. Since I was born in Syracuse and have now lived in NYC for sixteen years, it’s fair to say that New York is my home state. Even so, because I grew up in so many places, it’s challenging to figure out if I’m actually from anywhere.

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6 Questions for Jesús Guillén, Artist, Activist and Shaman

Jesús Guillén

Jesús Guillén

By Mark McNease

I recently read a series of profiles in the San Francisco Chronicle based on their Last Men Standing Project, focusing on the lives of long term HIV survivors. Among those profiled in the piece and in the documentary is the extraordinary Jesús Guillén. Not only is he a long term survivor, but he also helps countless others on a dedicated Facebook page, through his art, music, shamanism, and in his indomitable spirit. I was delighted to have the chance to ask him ‘6 Questions.’ – Mark McNease/Editor

Note: This interview was edited with Jesús Guillén’s permission.

MM: How did you come to be involved with the ‘Last Men Standing’ project, and what was the process like for that as a written feature and a documentary?

JG: Ah, my point of view, my story, hopefully represented well. In the end all I can do is be myself and tell you how and what I’m going through or how I happen to be part of the LAST MEN STANDING project.

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