Anne Tenino : Q&A
Today we have Anne Tenino with us here at Live Your Life, Buy The Book. I recently reviewed and loved her newest release, “Sweet Young Thang”. Thanks so much for agreeing to answer our questions, Anne!
You’re welcome! I’m happy to be here. 🙂
I think, obviously, the most pressing question is whether or not the TAG guys will keep their Kegerator. Do the terrorists win and does it get discussed in Jock and Toby’s book?
That particular issue with the Alumni Association is pretty much over, because they were thwarted. The guys in the frat blocked them, and now the alumni have two choices—they can give in and get their Alumni Weekend re-established or they can try to find other ways to mess with the frat. For now, they’re giving in . . .
Other than that, all I’ll say is that in the next book, the big bad is the unknown from Toby’s life.
Sebastian had a very dramatic and unplanned moment in Sweet Young Thang. How frequently do your characters hijack your stories? Are you at all in control of them and their stories?
My characters are constantly haring off in some unplanned direction. All. The freaking. Time. It’s actually much better when they do, because it makes it more interesting to write. I’m sort of in control . . . sometimes. Or maybe they just let me think that?
Really, I’m not sure I’m prepared to plumb the depths of this answer. It might be too depressing for me.
Paul has a very abrasive personality, did you always plan on writing his book, and was it difficult to maintain his abrasiveness during the writing?
I never planned on writing about Paul. I didn’t plan on redeeming him at all. I figured I’d explain why he was such a jerk in Collin’s book, but I’d let him leave Calapooya, bitter and unhappy, never to be heard from again (unless I needed a bad guy?). But people kept asking for it, and eventually this whole plot (and Trevor) appeared in my head, fully formed, so I wrote it really fast to get it out of there.
I liked Paul the way he was, because let’s face it, not everyone in the world is nice or redeemable and not every couple is understandable. Sometimes I look at partners and think, “WTF is she doing with him?” Paul is one of those guys who you can’t believe someone loves. In the end, it was impossible for me not to write him that way (see the above answer about whether I’m in control *snort*).
Paul changed inside, yes, but he made very few exterior changes, and he never will. It’s part of the reason Trevor is so sweet—to balance their coupledom out.
You’ve written some very hilarious things, do you laugh out loud while writing?
I do laugh out loud, but rarely can I accurately predict what people will find the funniest in a book. Part of what I find funny is the unexpected, when a scene suddenly becomes ridiculous or has a twist that highlights how everyone is over-reacting.
Take the beer terrorist scene in Sweet Young Thang—I knew that scene needed to be funny, but the way I was writing it wasn’t particularly amusing to me. I had a list of things I needed to get into it, and a bunch of plans for how to make it come out right, but I went into it in a semi-controlled panic, because I wasn’t quite sure how I would make it funny, and most of the scene was torture. I wrestled with characters, trying to get them not to run off into odd directions, but I let them also, because they sometimes have a way of looping back around to where I want them to go. It’s chaos, honestly.
At any rate, all the sudden Ricky starts spouting off about beer terrorists, and saving the scene plus making it funny. I didn’t laugh as I was writing it, because I was too abjectly grateful it was working out. I didn’t laugh later because I already knew what happened.
The scene that’s made me laugh the hardest is one I haven’t published yet, in an unfinished work that will see the light of day sometime, I’m certain. The published scene that’s made me laugh the most as I wrote it is from Turning Tricks, when the Special Operations Unified Force springs “PlainSpeak” on the Task Force Iota guys, and Anais, Lance and General Selkirk freak out in the middle of their meeting (ending with Anais smashing her com unit and stomping out). Very few people have told me that scene made them laugh.
As a child did you have aspirations to become the Queen of Crocheted Peen? How did this hobby start?
I’m sure I was a weird child, but with no more than the normal girls’ fascination for the male penis. Although I didn’t have any brothers, I have a lot of male cousins, and a dad, so it wasn’t like I’d never seen one.
As for crochet, one of my cousins (girl cousin, for the record) taught me when I was in about seventh grade, but then I didn’t do it again until my thirties. In art school I did weave a silk jockstrap with a diagram of the male reproductive system on it, but other than that, there were no indications that I was about to spring yarn phalli on the world. And yet somehow it happened . . . Actually, I blame Taylor V. Donovan, L.C. Chase and Damon Suede. We cohosted an event at GRL last year, and somehow I ended up crocheting a bunch of penises for it. I’m still not clear how that actually came about, though.
Your Task Force Iota series, set in the not too distant future, deals with political polarization and human modification. Do you find your readers prefer your more humorous series, or are there readers of one and not the other?
Most of the people (that I hear from) who read the TFI series also read the contemporary series, but that’s not true in the reverse. Some people refuse to touch scifi with a ten-foot pole. I would say the scifi fans are more ardent, but nowhere near as numerous. The people who do read both (again, who contact me) seem to be the most passionate about the Task Force.
In the TFI series you have a character with a broken neck trapped in Idaho. When can we read about his rescue?
I hope next year. I know, I’m sorry, but it’s been crazy. For various reasons, I’ve decided not to publish the next book with Dreamspinner, and that put a serious crimp in the schedule. Believe it or not, Laslo and Logan are on my mind a lot, and I have a fair amount written, but I also have contracts looming that I’m obligated to fulfill first. So, yeah . . . I’m lame.
I love romance tropes. If they were molecules, they’d all be neurotransmitters—special chemical “keys” that are designed to fit into receptors in our brains and elicit specific emotional responses. Our brains are wired to recognize tropes and deliver the appropriate reactions, and some readers are so devoted to them that they complain if some tropes are deviated from too much. Which brings me to the flip side: it’s easy to get in trouble in genre fiction (like romance) by either ignoring tropes, or messing with them a lot. As much as we rely on tropes, we’re chained to them also.
The simplest example of this is the “Happily Ever After.” It used to be a necessity, but now we can have the “Happy for Now.” Books that don’t offer at least that generally come with warning labels—for example, Dreamspinner automatically puts a book without an HEA or HFN in their Bittersweet line. Some romance publishers state in their submission guidelines that they won’t accept manuscripts without at least an HFN. Romance authors have to use tropes, or it’s not romance. And yet we’re creative types, who are trying to “do it our own way,” which leads us to pushing the boundaries of these tropes.
Ultimately, over time, just as our neurotransmitters have evolved, changing one atom here and another there, we change our tropes. Messing with tropes in TSTL was my (conscious) way of doing that, but it’s also an opportunity to poke fun at the things I work with all the time. I sort of have to, or I’d grow to hate them. However, I can’t stop writing romance, because just like the publishers, an HFN (or better, an HEA) is a requirement for me.
Oh, and I assumed some people wouldn’t get it, but that’s true for everything I write. Not everyone can understand any author’s POV.
What are you currently working on?
The second Romancelandia book, Billionaire with Benefits. It’s the story of Tierney and Dalton, and it’s giving me fits, just like always. Dalton is not exactly how I originally pictured him, but that’s par for the course.
What story do you most want to write but haven’t yet for whatever reason?
That changes, actually. Often it’s One Queer Iota (the next Task Force Iota book), but I have a sort of political thriller (okay, it’s comedy, too) in my head that I’m calling Tiny Bubbles which I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I have a couple of others, of course, including the story of how Lance and Sid (from the TFI series) got together while the US fell apart. Oh, and I have one about a pot farmer I’m interested in writing . . .
To help readers learn more about you, can you give us two true facts about yourself and one false one?
- I’m the child of liberal hicks.
- I’m my ideal weight for my height.
- I love pickles
Lastly, I have some quick single word answer questions for Eric Dixon, if he’s willing to answer them.
Tea or Coffee? Coffee
Beer or Wine? Beer
Which style of underwear looks best on Collin? Jock *drool*
Do you prefer the term househusband or housespouse? Househusband
Will you build romantic fires in the summer? Yes!
Thanks so much Anne (and Eric) for taking the time to answer our questions! We appreciate the time you spent with us.
Thank you for having me! 🙂
When Plan A fails, turn to Man A.
Thanks to Collin Montes, Theta Alpha Gamma now welcomes gay and bisexual students. Persuading his Uncle Monty, president of the TAG Alumni Association, that the open approach won’t adversely affect TAG’s reputation is Collin’s own first step toward coming out. As long as there are no repercussions, he’ll escape the closet by graduation.
Enter repercussions, stage left: someone rigs the TAG House water heater to launch through the ceiling, then plants a bomb—thankfully unsuccessful—in the fraternity’s basement. Now Collin has his hands full not only trying to convince his uncle that this might not be the work of homophobes, but also dealing with a fratful of brothers worried about their kegger fridge.
Paramedic Eric Dixon can’t stop thinking about the kid he met during a call at his former college fraternity house. The age gap between them is trumped by sexy eyes, so when Eric sees Collin again at the bomb scene, he pursues him. Soon, Eric is dreaming of being a househusband, fighting to keep Collin safe from whoever’s trying to destroy the fraternity, and helping his sweet young thang realize that repercussions sometimes have silver linings.
Raised on a steady media diet of Monty Python, classical music and the visual arts, Anne Tenino rocked the mental health world when she was the first patient diagnosed with Compulsive Romantic Disorder. Since that day, with her trusty psychiatrist by her side, she’s taken on conquering the M/M world through therapeutic writing. Finding out who those guys having sex in her head are and what to do with them has been extremely liberating.
Anne’s husband finds it liberating as well, although in a somewhat different way. He has accepted her need for “research”, and looks forward to the benefits said research affords him. He thinks it’s kind of cool she manages to write, as well. Her two daughters are mildly confused by her need to twist Ken dolls into odd positions. They were raised to be open-minded children, however, and other than occasionally stealing Ken1′s strap-on, they let Mom do her thing without interference.
Anne’s thing is writing gay romance and erotica.
Wondering what she does in her spare time? Mostly she lies on the couch, eats bonbons and shirks housework.
You can reach her by emailing her at anne AT annetenino DOT com.
Thanks so much for stopping by Anne, hope the new release was a massive success, and I cannot wait for the next book! To everyone reading this – be sure to comment, two lucky posters will win a copy of either “Sweet Young Thang” or a pre-order of “Good Boy”! Their choice! Good luck !! ~ Faye
Entries close on August 24th 2013. (Normal T’s & C’s apply)