Stephen del Mar is a fresh voice in Southern Gay Fiction. His Bennett Bay collection of books and stories explore life in that unique corner of the American South known as Florida. He also writes fantasy and science-fiction. Del Mar lives in the Tampa Bay region of Florida and enjoys Key Lime Pie and mango margaritas, but not at the same time. He also finds constantly barking Chihuahuas nearly as distracting to the writing process as Facebook and Twitter, but don’t tell his housemate.
When did you first start writing?
I've been a story teller for as long as I can remember. However, I had a hard time writing. I have dyslexia, which for me, made the physical act of writing torturous and spelling is a real challenge. Everyday I thank the gods for the invention of the wordprocessor!
I started writing seriously about a year ago. Somehow the only thing I got out of the creative writing classes I kept signing up for was my first drafts weren't good enough and you HAVE TO write from an outline. Well it took me forty years to learn that was bunk. No sane person should expect a first draft to be great and there are people out there to help you smooth things out. Editors and beta readers are wonderful people! And there is nothing wrong with writing by the seat of your pants!
The best writing advice I ever got, and I wish I would have heard it forty years ago, is: Find what works for you and just do it. Writers write. Get your butt in the chair and start writing!
What's the story behind your latest book?
My current WIP (September, 2013), "Return to Cooter Crossing," is a Southern family drama. Cooter Crossing is a small town, village really, in the backwaters of Big Cypress County along the west central coast of Florida. The story centers around the various extended members of the Quinn family returning for Thanksgiving and trying to figure out how they fit in the family and the wider community.
The central character is Aidan Quinn. He's been studying in Ireland and just had a bad breakup with his lover. He returns home to find a lot has changed. His sister is pregnant, his nephew is coming out, and someone is trying to kill him. So, he's having fun trying to stay alive, look for a job and go on a date.
Ever fall head over heels in love with a guy or feel like you’d jump off a bridge for him? Well that’s Sam’s problem. It’s the first week of college and he’s following his jock of a roommate around like a puppy dog. It’s pretty pathetic and he knows it. Then he sits down next to this little nerd in his English class and things change.
Includes bonus short story: The Broken Heart
A tropical storm is battering Bennett Bay, a small town on Florida’s Gulf coast. Tony’s trying to close a sale on a house. The commission on this property will be a life changer but it just isn’t going to happen. He fights his way home through the storm to find a mysterious envelope waiting for him. Will it add more misery to a bad day or will it be a ticket to move on?