Jen: You write under two names: Mia Watts and Katie Blu... why?
Mia: Well, I started life as Katie Blu a long time ago and some unforeseen issues stopped me from writing for a while. When I was ready pick up my pen again, I thought a fresh start was in order, so I began writing male/male. I really love this genre. The topic is fun and exciting. The fans are incredibly supportive. But when I mixed the male/male with male/female, I started getting letters. Since I'd begun as a male/male author, and had the fan base behind it, changing up my pattern really upset people. That's when I decided to resurrect Katie. Now Mia can focus completely on male/male, while Katie takes on the male/female titles.
Jen: What attracted you to the m/m genre?
Mia: A challenge. I had an editor at Ellora's Cave (Helen Woodall) who constantly pushed my boundaries. If I wrote sweet, she wanted it steamy. If I wrote steamy, she wanted it naughty. It was a natural progression from her to wonder if I could pull off male/male too. All that was happening at the same time as my conversation with two friends of mine at the time. They amped up the dare and after a visit at Carol Lynne's house, I tremblingly began writing one. I was hooked.
Jen: I've always wanted to ask this question of a woman who writes m/m: What kind of research did you have to do for those (scorching hot) sex scenes?
Mia: Oh, my gosh! So much! When I began, I was still married. I asked him a lot of questions, but he's not a forthcoming kind of guy. Other than being told that orgasm "feels good" and getting a shrug when I asked "what is the progression of sensation", I knew I'd have to take some risks. My first one was to find a man who knew the kind of detail I'd need, without being wigged out from the question. I went to Rod Castille. He's a very nice guy, and an author, so when I asked him about sex, male orgasm, penis sensations etc, he didn't treat it as anything other than what it was. I'll always be grateful to him for that.
Then there was the research. I tried watching guy on guy clips, but I don't think I was ready for that. I talked to a couple of male friends who would talk about their boyfriends and the kinds of issues they came across in their community and in society generally. I read and read and read. I asked a very helpful gentleman about his experience with cross-dressing. More specifically, what happens when a man who tucks himself is wearing pantyhose and gets aroused. That, I used in She's Got Balls.
There's so much I don't know and can't possibly understand. But there's always a way to TRY to understand and treat each other with the respect they deserve. I hope I do that.
Jen: When I was going through your titles on Goodreads, I was very entertained. I think my favorite names were : She's Got Balls, Open Sesame, FU, and Eat Me. Fabulous! Tell me about the process of selecting the titles for your books --and which one is your favorite?
Mia: Ha! Well, firstly, thanks! I have a confession to make. I SUCK at titles. No, seriously. I suck. What used to happen was I come up with a title and it got shot down (rightly so because of the massive suckage). I'd submit three or more emails with more than ten title suggestions each and those got shot down too (I mentioned how hard I suck at this, right? I wasn't kidding.). Then I'd get a little slap-happy because I've exhausted all my other options and throw out ones that make me laugh. Of course, those are the ones the bosses liked. :) I'm getting better at suggesting titles. I mean I should be with over 40 titles (across multiple pen names), and I know what things the bosses will like. The process is getting easier.
My favorite? She's Got Balls. Really. I don't think I can beat that one. OMG, LOLing the unintentional pun. I will say that my Handcuffs and Lace series will all have "Balls" in the title and it should prove to be very entertaining over the next couple of years.
Jen: You do PNR, contemporary, m/m, menage... do you have a favorite genre to write?
Mia: Hm. Yes. Regency. I've got some titles coming out that are shape shifter Regency. Feral Lust is male/male (Mia Watts), and Prey Tell is male/female (Katie Blu). Both of those are at Resplendence Publishing. I'm even dabbling in sci-fi soon. However, I think the audience prefers my police and military stuff best.
Jen: Do you have a favorite genre to READ? Who are some of your favorite authors?
Mia: I like reading male/male a lot, but I do read other genres too. I think it's good to clear the brain sometimes. I adore Bronwyn Green's work. I sent her fan mail before we were ever friends. That's a story we still laugh about, because I'm a big dork. I love Jude Devereaux's older stuff (she changed voices, sadly), Julia Quinn is an autobuy. I have a lot of favorite stories and storylines that I could read and reread. Elisa Adams has a older woman, younger man story that I love love love. I don't see it on the Samhain site where I bought my copy, but I'm hoping she rereleases it.
Jen: It seems like the m/m genre is growing in popularity among conventional heterosexual romance readers. What are you thoughts on it becoming more mainstream?
Mia: I actually wouldn't mind that at all. I think there's a huge misconception that tends to get fostered in my genre, and that's that homosexual men are all about sex all the time. I know I write hot, but the emotional story is so important. That journey is more about the person than the package hanging between his legs. Mainstream would mean that instead of seeing male/male relationships as a hot, erotic taboo, they'd be seen as a loving couple walking through life together... with a lot of mutual chemistry.
Jen: What are you working on now?
Mia: This is a trick question!! I put out a lot of books. I write full time so a 7am-3pm writing schedule means I get a lot done. Add that to the speed in which I type and that I write my stories in a linear fashion (meaning I write from beginning to end) without skipping, and you can guess that I get through my projects fairly quickly. So, as of 10/17/11 when I'm doing this interview, I am working on an uncontracted "Ellora's Cave for Men" Quickie story. No title yet, but it will be a Katie Blu version.
Mia: When they see Katie Blu, I hope they're thinking "Quick, sexy, and fun." When they see Mia Watts? Wow, that's tough because I've been evolving lately from strictly humorous to an emotional counterpoint. Hm. A reviewer once said I was "poignantly humorous" I love that. My friends say I'm "irreverently funny" and often cross the line where others would stop. When readers see Mia Watts... "Poignantly funny, irreverent and hot." Sort of like a new tag line. LOL.
Jen: What are you looking forward to most at AAD in New Orleans?
Mia: Are you kidding? AAD is a blast! Stella does such an amazing job every year and I can't wait to see what she does with New Orleans. I don't think that town will be the same after we leave it. I can't wait to see all my writer friends and talk to the readers again. It's always like coming home.
Jen: Thanks so much for sharing your work with me. I really enjoyed it.
Mia: Thank you for having me, Jen! I look forward to meeting you at AAD next year.
Mia is giving away one of her books. The winner can choose any of her titles currently available under the name Mia Watts or Katie Blu. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. In the meantime, you can learn more about Mia on her website or chat with her on Twitter.