By B. Root
This week, RT Book Reviews magazine will present the RT Readers and Writers Roundup: The Business of Self-Publishing. The conference will take place at the South Shore Harbor Resort in League City, Texas, on October 9–11. RT Readers and Writers Roundup will host more than 80 authors across many different genres. These authors will be giving various seminars and panels, and attendees will have opportunities to meet and mingle with the authors throughout the conference.
I had the opportunity to speak with one author who will be attending the conference, Kindle Alexander, one of the top authors in the M/M (male-on-male) romance genre.
Root: How did you begin your career as a writer?
Kindle Alexander: Well, I would like to say it was a lifelong dream come true, but that’s not the case at all. I got started writing doing a favor to a friend, which sounds odd. Long story short, I lost a child a few years ago. I had a friend that stood by me during that time. She was always there for me.
When Facebook went from being college kids to being open to the world, we got involved. We [created accounts] on Facebook and [found that] there’s this whole world of fictional characters on Facebook. Just about any character you read in a book, you can find them on Facebook, and they’re living a day in the life of that character. And my friend did that.
One day, she got a friend request from a character from the J.R. Ward series. And one thing led to another, and all of a sudden she is in this group of people playing Blalock Rock on Facebook. Blalock Rock happens to be a gay vampire. She started doing this, and her husband hated it. She’s been such a good friend to me that I told her I would help her. And I thought she was absolutely crazy, but I told her I would help her. And while she was showing me what she was doing, I was thinking she was insane and wondering how to get out of this. [But] I did help her, and we fell in love with it.
“Kindle Alexander” is actually two people. I have a writing partner. We started writing, and from that point forward, it just developed into this huge thing. But it [all stemmed from] writing fan fiction on Facebook. Thank goodness her husband hated it, because otherwise we wouldn’t be here right now.
How many novels has Kindle Alexander published so far?
We have 11.
Is Kindle Alexander working on anything currently?
How did you begin writing M/M romance novels?
Well, we didn’t know anything about that world. The only place we had to go get books was off the grocery store shelf or Barnes & Noble, and Barnes & Noble is not good at stocking gay fiction at all. We didn’t know where else to go find it. We searched. Out of nothing more than needing more to read, we started writing. As a lifelong romance reader and as a straight woman, the male-female thing had always been in my head. But all of a sudden, the characters in my head started to turn into men. In order to find that, we had to start writing it. That’s what it was. We wrote about 300,000 words online about two gay men. We moved out of fan fiction and just started writing contemporary. And we just wrote and wrote and wrote. We developed an online reader base from that. [Then] we found that there was a whole world of gay fiction, [which] was after the eReader came out and Amazon let that genre explode.
Who is the audience for these novels?
Women. Straight women. Probably 90 percent of the readership is straight women.
Why do you think that there is mostly a straight women readership?
I have asked that question many times. The best answer I can come up with is the reason why I got into it—romance reading is nothing but escapism. You want something outside of your normal life to read. And, for a straight woman, there is nothing more different than two men [being together]. You’re escaping right then into that world of romance and love and fiction through that. I think that’s the answer. It’s just very intriguing.
What do you expect from the RT Readers and Writers Roundup?
I don’t know what to expect. What I love about this particular conference, and what I love about RT—which I understand is Romantic Times—is that they’re starting to open their door to this kind of reading. And, you know, there have been struggles to get the word out there because there are these preconceived notions—especially in the older audience. Kathryn Falk with Romantic Times is one of the first big ones to breach this. Kathryn and RT not only opened [the conference] up to us, they invited us to come and invited us to do a panel. That’s just huge for [what might be considered a] taboo writing. That’s what has me the most excited about it—that we are starting to break down some of those walls to get into the mainstream readership. Kathryn, RT, and this Roundup are allowing [M/M romance] to be [circulated] because there is nobody bigger in romance than Romantic Times.
Do you have any advise for new authors who are seeking publication?
We’re doing a panel on that very subject at the conference on Friday. The one thing that I always say is it’s more intimidating than anything else, and just write your story and get it out there. Any self-published author is willing to help anybody. So if you have questions, you can come to me, [and] you can email me. I’ll help all I can to get your message and your word out. But just do it. Find an editor, write your book, and get it out there.
For more information and to register for the RT Readers and Writers Roundup, visit rtroundup.com. Kindle Alexander can be reached at [email protected], and Kindle’s books can be purchased through kindlealexander.com.