Interview and Giveaway with Damon Suede!
How did the idea of Bad Idea come to you?
Bad Idea started out because a pair of fans came to NYC to have dinner with me and casually mentioned they were doing a zombie run. They had to explain to me that they would be running a course while pursued by actors made-up as zombies. Immediately I could see the rom-com potential for a perfect meet-cute: nervous runner pursued by hunky monster.
From there the idea exploded: the runner had to love pop culture so he became a successful comic book artist. The charming zombie turned out to be a lead makeup artist who’d designed the FX for the entire event. I’ve written for movies and comics, so I had all kinds of wacky behind the scenes details and showbiz anecdotes to draw upon. Little by little the book became this homage to passionate fandoms and the ways superheroes and villains get created for mass media.
Can you give us detail about your plans for the series? How many books do you have planned?
At the moment I’m planning three books for the “Itch” series. Each of them will center on a different creative couple developing a mass media project about a heroic sex demon named Scratch and his mortal lover. The next book will focus on Scratch’s adaptation for videogames, and the sequel after that will tackle Scratch’s appearance as a primetime cable series.
Of course, showbiz being what it is, Scratch will have to evolve as he conquers new kinds of media and as new heroes take control of his story…and (since he is a sex demon) those changes reflect the issues and kinks of each novel’s main couple. Again, I just think it’s cool to see how creative people translate their lives and loves into mass-produced art.
I just love the chemistry between Trip and Silas. They are so very different but also so compatible and similar in other ways. What was your inspiration for those characters?
Truly, these two loveable dorks came entirely from that original zombie run idea. I could just see the romantic comedy gold in having total opposites careen into each other with a lot of pop culture spectacle. If Trip as the runner was going to be anxious, Silas as the zombie had to be bold. Trip had allergies and mild agoraphobia because his fame as a comic book pro made him so anxious. Silas was a reckless flirt because being around film folks had given him a lot of easy sex and flimsy relationships. I always swatch characters: faces, body parts, clothing, furniture, music, you name it. So of course I had hundreds of references for both of them that helped me focus tighter and tighter on each man.
Their particulars didn’t have a direct inspiration, but I quickly got a sense of who they were because they made it adamantly clear as scenes got written. Gradually, Silas and Trip sort of pushed themselves further and further into their corners, like boxers…and as the story grew and the world expanded around them, I could see the parallels in their lives but also the awful chasm that separated them. I think love is always most dramatic when it overcomes terrible odds and impossible circumstances. You have to have the potential for disaster and that means dramatic differences.
For readers who don’t know, can you tell us how Horn Gate fits in with Bad Idea and the “Itch” series?
Early on when I was writing Bad Idea, I realized that Trip’s creative blocks mirrored his emotional blocks. I knew he was going to create a “very graphic novel” that explored all his raunchy, crazy impulses. Even if Trip couldn’t face them directly, Silas made him brave enough to face his demons…and those demons sort of melded to become Scratch in all his horny glory.
To write Trip properly, I needed to get inside his skin, and that meant I needed to know the story-within the story, which required writing it! I decided to write Scratch: Issue 1 as a novella. I started writing the “Scratch” series in character as Trip and Silas, so that folks can read the story-within-the-story. Horn Gate (Scratch: Issue 1) came out in May rendering their comic as a homoerotic paranormal romance. I have four books planned about Scratch’s adventures, each one adapting a single “comic” within the “Itch” series as a novella length urban fantasy.
At face value, Horn Gate is an erotic urban fantasy which explores demon pimps and inhuman trafficking in the occult underbelly of New York. But for readers of Bad Idea, the novella gives us a very personal view of Trip’s fears, lusts, and hopes about Silas as their relationship develops. It is literally their brainchild, and reveals a ton of juicy insights about their internal landscapes.
What further plans do you have for Horn Gate and the “Scratch” series? Will readers get to see it come to life as an actual graphic novel?
Fingers crossed, yes! We’ve already had artists come forward wanting to adapt the novella as the comic in Bad Idea it was originally intended to mimic. I think the odds are pretty good that we’re going to sit down and do the deal so we can get Scratch drawn properly. My boyfriend and I have so many friends in the comic industry and all of them have talked about how fresh and sexy Scratch is as a graphic novel concept. Though it’s homoerotic, it isn’t flat-out porn. Plus it’s got this wild occult overlay based on hardcore research that’s nothing like the retreads that appear so often in urban fantasy or paranormal romance.
Rey Arzeno who painted the Horn Gate cover is already going to be doing trading cards, and the other covers for the series, but there are several artists who’ve asked if we’d accept proposals for a full graphic novel adaptation of the series. Again, I think it’s too early to count chickens, but I’m happy to sit on that egg a while.
Are you currently working on the sequel to Bad Idea? Any idea of a release date?
Yes, ma’am! Though to be truthful, I’ve only started doodling. I have two other projects I need to put to bed first: Scratch: Issue 2 which is called Skin Bridge and then a shorter contemporary category romance with a rugged blue-collar pairing. But starting in January I’ll get cracking on the Bad Idea sequel in earnest. So… all that being said, I imagine the release date will be nine months to a year from now.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Deep gratitude. I feel so blessed to be a part of the romance community, and I wrote Bad Idea as a paean to the power of fans to save the world. My fans kick my ass and keep me writing even when I feel like my head is filled with razors and leeches. The media pays a lot of lip service to the power of audiences and the “crazy Trekkie” phenomenon, but I believe that imagination and devotion deserve intense respect and support.
And that is the reason the cast of characters in this book is packed with cameos by beloved friends who inspire my work and keep me sane. I wrote Bad Idea (and by extension Horn Gate) to honor the kinds of passionate attention and enthusiasm bring imaginary heroes to life. That is a kind of creative miracle I can get behind in a big way.
Some mistakes are worth making.
Reclusive comic book artist Trip Spector spends his life doodling super-square, straitlaced superheroes, hiding from his fans, and crushing on his unattainable boss until he meets the dork of his dreams. Silas Goolsby is a rowdy FX makeup creator with a loveless love life and a secret streak of geek who yearns for unlikely rescues and a truly creative partnership.
Against their better judgment, they fall victim to chemistry, and what starts as infatuation quickly grows tender and terrifying. With Silas’s help, Trip gambles his heart and his art on a rotten plan: sketching out Scratch, a “very graphic novel” that will either make his name or wreck his career. But even a smash can’t save their world if Trip retreats into his mild-mannered rut, leaving Silas to grapple with betrayal and emotions he can’t escape.
What will it take for this dynamic duo to discover that heroes never play it safe?
About the Author:
Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com.