Interview with Josh Lanyon

Published 2018-11-16.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I wake up excited and eager to get to work. I'm always curious and interested about what the day is going to bring. Every day is different. My favorite thing is writing, which is probably not a surprise. But I also enjoy reading and researching the next project; I'm fascinated by art, archeology, history, name it. I enjoy interacting with readers. I even love the challenge and complications of trying to be a business entrepreneur in such a competitive industry.
How do you approach cover design?
One of the best parts of publishing my own work is getting to control things like cover art. I LOVE cover art. I think it is enormously important to the success of a book. Probably more important if the author is unknown, but even if the author is a known quantity, a good cover matters.

A bad cover — by which I mean a clumsy, inept effort -- sends the message that this is the work of an amateur. Probably not worth your time or .99 cents. It never ceases to amaze me how many authors think their first attempt at using photo shop will be good enough for their treasured novel. These are people who forget that so much of our response to art — including a book cover — is instinctive and unconscious.

Even a competent cover that just doesn’t work for reasons that are entirely subjective can actually delay our purchase of a book we plan on buying.

Most covers are generic. The ubiquitous two male torsos locked in embrace is so generic as to be invisible. They do no harm, but they do no good. They are simply code for the content within. They advertise that the publisher or author cared enough to purchase a real cover. And that’s about it. Still, that’s something.

But a great cover? A cover that catches your eye and makes you wonder about the story between the pages? A cover that piques your curiosity, starts your imagination? That’s what we all want and hope for when we open that first cover concept file. More than an actual illustration of a scene from the book, we’re usually looking for something that captures the spirit, the mood, the theme, the tone.
What do you read for pleasure?
I still love to read, but I have a lot less time to read strictly for pleasure. Around the holidays I'll read vintage mystery. I love mysteries from the 30s and 40s. Even the stuff that's not very good usually gives me lots of ideas and creative energy. Plus, it's just fun.

Before I start work on a new book, I'll usually read in whatever sub-genre I plan to write in next. If it's historical, I'll read genre fiction from the period.

When I'm writing I only read for research and trade periodicals. And most of the time I'm writing, so...
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle. I actually think one reading device is pretty much like another. Where Amazon excels is in the ease of purchase. That one-click ordering stuff is brilliant.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Different things have worked at different times. I do think giving away a lot of books can work if you are a very good writer -- and if there is a compelling reason for readers to put your work at the top of their queue. Otherwise, no. I don't think that's particularly helpful. Now days readers acquire stockpiles of books but feel no real urgency about reading them. Also everyone gives books away and most of them are pretty forgettable, so if anything you stand out by placing value on your work and not treating it as disposable.
Describe your desk
I would if I could find it! I know it's in there somewhere. I'm guessing it's in the general vicinity of the computer monitor.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'm just about to start a short story called SLAY RIDE. This one is set at Christmas in the 1940s, but it's not a holiday romance. In fact, it's based on a fairly grim true crime that took place in 1930s Montana. Of course I will try and make it entertaining and I will try to wring a romance out of it. I think it could be fairly gripping, but short form is always challenging.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Well, two things. I did the math. I quickly figured out that although I was doing pretty well with my publishers, I could do a LOT better on my own given that I already had an established readership and a fair bit of experience -- and I was willing to invest in things like editors, formatters, cover artists.

Secondly, I was tired of being treated like a necessary evil by some of my publishers. I wanted final say -- or at least a real vote -- on things like cover art, pricing, and editorial decisions regarding style and content. I wanted to be treated like a partner.

I'm a hybrid though. I still work with some of my publishers. Sometimes it's okay to sit back and just do the writing and let someone else worry about the rest of it. I'm still glad to work with companies that do treat me like a partner and not a nuisance.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love storytelling. And I am unendingly grateful that so many readers seem to enjoy my work so much -- given that essentially I'm writing for me. :-) I love creating new worlds and new characters -- and then painstakingly exploring these worlds and characters through plot. Why? I don't know why. I don't know why we tell ourselves stories -- or alternatively are riveted by the stories others tell us. I just know I have this driving need to write.

And being able to make a living at it is of course all the better. I write for myself, but I publish -- as we all do -- for others.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love interacting with readers. However, as the internet continues to morph and the social dynamics change, I think some of the lines have blurred. This isn't always the fault of readers. I see authors behaving inappropriately too. We're all kind of feeling our way through the fog.

I am not always a social animal. Sometimes I am an anti-social animal. I think that's true of a lot of writers. The way I see it is I am obliged to deliver to my readers the best book I am capable of writing at that moment. And that's the extent of my obligation. Everything else is optional. And subject to change without notice.

That said, I have been very, very lucky. My readers are so smart and so generous, and I have gone on to become good friends in real life with many of them.
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Latest books by This Author

Mummy Dearest
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 27,350. Language: English. Published: February 12, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth
Drew Lawson is racing against the clock. He's got a twenty-four-hour window to authenticate the mummy of Princess Merneith. If he's not at his boyfriend's garden party when that window closes, it'll be the final nail in their relationship coffin.
Stranger in the House
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 28,710. Language: English. Published: February 12, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
Miles Tuesday’s memories of Montreal are happy ones, but now that he has inherited the mansion at 13 Place Braeside, everything feels different. Was Madame Martel’s fatal fall really an accident?
Bell, Book and Scandal
Series: Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Pre-release—available October 28, 2020. Price: $4.99 USD. Language: English. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth
Antiques dealer and reluctant amateur sleuth Cosmo Saville loves that his new husband has finally accepted his witchy ways. And in return, his promise to stay out of police business guarantees them a happily ever after. At least, until he discovers he might be responsible for a dangerous game of blackmail…
I Buried a Witch
Series: Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 58,500. Language: English. Published: November 30, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Cosmo Saville adores his new husband, but his little white lies—and some very black magic—are about to bring his fairytale romance to an end. Someone is killing San Francisco's spellcasters—and the only person Cosmo can turn to—the man who so recently swore to love and cherish him—isn't taking his calls.
Footsteps in the Dark
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 256,370. Language: English. Published: May 31, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
The snick of a lock. The squeak of door hinges. The creak of a floorboard... Are those approaching steps that of a lover...or killer? Authors L.B. Gregg, Nicole Kimberling, Josh Lanyon, Dal MacLean, Z.A. Maxfield, Meg Perry, C.S. Poe and S.C. Wynne join forces for FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK, eight sexy and suspenseful novellas of Male/Male Mystery and Romance.
Mainly by Moonlight
Series: Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 61,080. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Cosmo Saville guiltily hides a paranormal secret from his soon-to-be husband. And if he can’t undo a powerful love spell, uncertainty threatens his nuptial magic. But when he’s arrested for allegedly killing a longtime rival, he could spend his honeymoon behind bars…
Seance on a Summer's Night
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 71,220. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth
Theater critic Artemus Bancroft isn’t sure what to expect when his aunt summons him home to California with vague but urgent pleas about being unable to cope with rumors she may have murdered her philandering husband.
Partners in Crime Box Set
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 196,290. Language: English. Published: January 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Three classic novels of murder and suspense from “the Agatha Christie of gay mystery.”
The Boy Next Door
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 9,740. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
For the last fourteen years, former celebrated Boy Detective Merle Madison has been trying to build a grown-up career for himself as a private investigator. There are just two problems: there’s not a lot of serious crime in the small town of Hayvenhurst—and Police Chief Isaac Ramsay keeps denying Merle’s application for a PI license.
The Haunted Heart: Spring
Pre-release—available July 31, 2020. Price: $4.99 USD. Language: English. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Antiques dealer Flynn Ambrose is invited to authenticate the mummy of an ancient Egyptian magician at the creepy house of the very odd Mr. Irving Annemann.
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