Sunday, November 22, 2015

SM Johnson ~ An Interview with Karl Five ~ Author of the Rick&Jerry series

Good afternoon Darklings, and welcome to winter (ugh). It did not creep up  quietly on me this year while I frantically wrote for NaNoWriMo, because I only managed to NaNo 6,000 words due to graduate school. Graduate school, it turns out, is A LOT OF WORK. And a TREMENDOUS TIME SUCK. In a good way. But still. Doesn't leave a lot of time for writing 50,000 words in the month of November. 50,000 words of research papers, perhaps. But novels? Not so much.

So that's what happened with me and National Novel Writer's Month. But have no fear. I have a month off from school from mid-December to mid-January, so it's very possibly that I will just do a delayed NaNo, because I started working on the next Dungeon novel, and I'm excited about it. But let's move on to today's little treat, shall we?

I have such a treat for you today....

An interview with a delightful writer who goes by the name Karl Five...

I have had the pleasure of reading Karl's Rick&Jerry series, and I'm quite looking forward to reading his Orgasm Incorporated series, too. I'm a girl who writes M/M erotic romance, but I was first introduced to M/M erotica years and years ago on something archaic known as ListServ and File Transfer Protocol (FTP), or, more simply. When you went into Alt.stories/gay, you got gay stories written by gay men. And they were different than than gay stories written by straight women. And you get that difference with Karl's stories. The men are gay, but the men are men. And the stories are a delight to read.

And now for that interview, shall we?

SM: Hi Karl! I had a great time reading about Rick and Jerry, and one of my favorite things to do on this blog is to share with my Darklings other writers that I really enjoy. So I'm tickled that you've answered some questions for me. Rick reminded me a little bit of one of my favorite modern literary characters, Lee Child's Jack Reacher - ex-military, very competent, traveling the states to see what he could see of his home country. Do you have any favorite literary characters or a particular author that you’d love to be compared to?

Karl Five: At the present time, no.  I used to write a lot of fanfiction, and whichever character I was writing about at the time was, of course, my favorite.  Other than that, there are just too many excellent authors out there, so I can’t choose just one.

SM: Tell me something about your writing process. For example, do you write at the same time every day, scheduled like Stephen King?

Karl Five: I write in bits and pieces when I have time, not by a strict schedule.

SM: Are you a 'plotter' or a 'pantser' - meaning do you write from a plot outline, or write by the seat of your pants without much of an outline? 

Karl Five: I’m a plotter as far as making a rough outline of what’s going to happen before I begin the actual writing, but that plot often changes dramatically by the time the story is finished.

SM: Do you write longhand or at a computer? 

Karl Five: Much of my writing is done with pen and paper, especially the new ideas that keep popping into my head.  Once I transcribe all of that into my computer, I use the computer to edit my deathless prose, fill in transitions between scenes when needed, go over the wording, rearrange things if necessary, add details when called for, and so on.

SM: Do you write in an office or somewhere else? 

Karl Five: I don’t have enough living space to have an office, so that’s out.  My computer is in my living room, where a lot of my work is done.

However, if I’m using pen and paper and searching for inspiration, I often sit out on my porch or in the yard.  I keep asking myself “What if ---?” and then jot down every possibility that comes into my mind.  Later on, I separate the wheat from the chaff.

I usually describe my method of writing as being like the creation of a patchwork quilt.  Once I have a rough pattern in mind, I write whichever scene that inspires me at any given time, then set it in place in my planned layout for the quilt.  I don’t sew them down yet, since they may need rearranging later on.  When all of the individual patches are complete, I look it over carefully to see if anything is out of place and should be moved, or even removed and kept for future use in another quilt, if it doesn’t seem to match well in this particular quilt pattern.

When I’m satisfied with the layout, I stitch them all together as seamlessly as possible.  Then I set my hypothetical quilt  aside for a few days, and go back later on to look for any loose threads or small corrections that need to be made.  Finally, I hang my quilt out where it will be visible to others and hope for the best.

SM: Do you NaNo? (participate in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writer's Month, where millions of writers attempt to write 50,000 words of an original draft during the month of November). If you don't, it's not too late to start!

Karl Five: Oh goodness no!  I can barely write one story in a month’s time, much less a full length novel.  To do an entire novel would take at least a year if not more for it to be completed to my satisfaction.
I find that I do best with long story arcs, so that I write stories that range from 1,500 words up to about 20,000 words, each one capable of standing on its own, but when they’re taken together the collected stories form a larger overarching plotline.

I’ve only written one actual novel, and it’s what I call Anthropological Science Fiction, since it deals with aliens on their own planet and in their own culture, with no humans involved. (Walls of Ancient Stone, written under my SF pen name of K. L. Schaefer.)

SM: Ah well. November's NaNo is almost over for this year anyway, lol. I'll put in a plug for next year though - those of us who get addicted to NaNoWriMo never get those 50,000 words completed to our satisfaction - we end up with very very rough drafts - usually the skeleton of a good story that we revise and work on and maybe get to a publishable state sometime in the next year (wink). It's a fun self-challenge. I failed miserably this year (see above) due to being a conscientious grad school student. Anywhoo. Next question....

SM: When was the most inconvenient moment that the Muse dropped a story idea on your head? (I think of my Muse in the guise of a seagull who laughs at me while she flies past, dropping ideas on me like poo – nice visual, hmm?)

Karl Five: I had been mulling over a crucial scene in one of my Rick&Jerry ebooks for several days without coming up with anything that I liked.  Then an idea hit me while I was sitting in the dentist’s chair having my teeth cleaned, trying to keep my mind off the pain by thinking of something else. Usually, when that happens, I grab a pen and scribble down the terrific idea I just came up with, but I wasn’t able to do that under the circumstances.  I had to wait until I was outside in my car, where I keep a notebook and writing implements just for this sort of thing.

SM: What is your favorite of the stories you have written, and why is it your favorite?

Karl Five: I don’t have a favorite.  Whichever story I’m working on at any given time is my favorite.

SMDo you write with a particular audience in mind?

Karl Five: Yes.  Other sex maniacs like me.  :-)

To be more specific, my Orgasm Incorporated Series is aimed at Kinky/BDSM folks, while the Rick&Jerry Series is meant for those readers, mostly female, who enjoy reading gay male erotic romance.  (Of course, I’d like to think that there are gay guys out there reading it also.)

SM: So... (blushes)... why do you write "dirty books" instead of more, uh, "respectable" sorts of stories?

Karl Five: I like to play around with sex, often turning it inside-out and upside-down, especially in my Org Inc books.

I want to explore the many meanings and feelings about sex.  There’s so much variety out there for something that seems to be so very basic and simple at first glance.  I want to create different and unusual ways to have my characters enjoy each other’s bodies, not just repeating lurid descriptions of ordinary intercourse, or even not-so-ordinary intercourse, over and over and over again.  If I can’t change the basic actions, I want to at least change the situations and circumstances, the emotions or the feelings, the meanings and reasons above and beyond just the physical actions and reactions.

SM: I am SO going to have to read the Orgasm Incorporated series. There were some really hot moments in the Rick&Jerry series, but I'm getting the feeling there might be some more of that in the Orgasm Incorporated, and that's just the kind of "naughty" that really winds my crank. 

Thanks so much for being a guest on my blog.

Darklings, you can follow Karl Five here on Facebook

Buy Karl Five's books at 

but I never have luck finding links

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