Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ten Questions from Tara: An Interview with Erik Schubach. Bullying, Dating, & Strong Women

I love meeting new authors. I especially love meeting authors whom I have something in common with. Every now and then I'll spot a book that grabs my attention...I'll email the author of the book. Sometimes I'm ignored. Sometimes the author replies, promises to get with  me again at such and such a time or send a post, and I never hear from them again. But sometimes, they turn out to be some real nice, down-to-earth, awesome people, and this leads to some great correspondence and new friendships. And this how I came to meet Erik. Please give Erik a warm welcome. He has some really important things to say from bullying to discrimination to one of his coolest-ever dates.

Tara: You came to my attention because you have a deaf heroine in your book, Music of the Soul. Tell me about the research you did on this, the things you learned from hard of hearing/deaf people.

Erik: Most of my experience was back in the mid to late 1980's. Being the curious person I am, back then I had asked my deaf friends how they experienced music. Also about and how they overcame bullying, which I witnessed frequently and was grouped into since I was bullied all through my young adult life. We all sort of stood up for each other. I think Amber, one of my hearing impaired friends, handled it better than I did. I seriously believe that young people can be much meaner than adults.

We had gone to movies at times and I was curious how much of the dialog she was able to pick up on by reading lips. She let me know that what she didn't get, she picked up on by the progression of the scenes.

I thank God that the hearing impaired people I had dealings with could read lips (Though there were some misunderstandings.) because I sucked at learning sign language, I tried and tried... I felt like a complete idiot since my other friends were learning it at a quick pace. Amber once said that teaching me was like like trying to teach a one-eyed raccoon how to sign.

I did try the sensory deprivation technique I describe in the book to experience some music and a sub-titled VHS movie at her house to try to gain some perspective after high school at Amber's house. It is a real eye-opener.

Tara: What do you feel hearing people could learn from your book?

Erik: That what they deem as different or as a handicap is really only a matter of perspective. Differences are what make us all amazing individuals and give us character. Nobody should be treated any differently or ostracized because they don't “hear” the world in the same way.

Tara: *nods head* Amen, Erick. Thanks for pointing that out. You bring up bullying. I understand what being on the receiving end of that is very well. I notice you also tackle the subject in book two. What message do you hope to get across to people by putting this topic in your novels?

Erik: Bullying is one of the worst things a person can subject another individual to. In many cases that bullying can damage someone almost beyond repair. More suicides are being attributed to bullying almost every day. People need to take a stand against it, and realize that “ignoring” bullying when they witness it is the same thing as saying that it is OK. It is very rare for a person to not be affected their entire lives by it, even if they don't show it externally.

I myself was bullied relentlessly in high school and beyond because I was a small gangly nerd (the term geek wasn't used widely back then yet). Always getting pressured into doing other people's homework just to be made fun of by those same people.

I think I turned out relatively OK, but to this day I hold a deep seated grudge against anyone I see bullying anyone and am the first to step in to diffuse it. I remember the names of each and every person that ever bullied me, even though I can't remember most of my other classmates from the time. That's my damage.

So I try to mention the subject in each and every book I write. I believe people need to be more educated about bullying, bigotry and discrimination.

Tara: A DEAFENING Whisper. I love that title. Does that feature a hard of hearing person too? If not, what significance does that choice of words have? 

Erik: It pertains to a poem one of my characters writes. A Deafening Whisper is something whispered between two people that is so profound that it alters their lives forever. Whether it is for the good or the bad. So regardless of how quietly it is whispered, the consequences boom louder than thunder. Like telling someone you love them for the first time.

None of the characters are deaf in that book, though one main character suffers from OCD and Tourette Syndrome and the other has a sickness she has not revealed to anyone. I like to write about strong characters that use their supposed weaknesses as their greatest strengths.

Tara:  That is truly beautiful. I like that. All your books are lesbian fiction, which is awesome, but as a man, how did you end writing that? Did someone suggest you write one? Did the characters just pop in your head and refuse to quit nagging you until you put them on the page?

Erik: Well, there are a few reasons. My nieces are both lesbian and I think it is awesome how strong they are. One has even asked me to base a character on her struggles in an upcoming book. Also, I have always enjoyed strong female characters in media. In the past, I don't think that they have had their fair share in the spotlight (though recently that has been turning around).

The ideas just come to me and I have to write them down. The first book, Music of the Soul, was written in one weekend because the idea popped into my head and I just had to write the story down. My style and grammar my not be the most professional (It sucks) but, it is the story I want to share.

I do want to point out that none of my books contain erotic material. A lot of people seem to jump to that conclusion. But I leave those moments to people's imaginations. I may lead up to it but never delve into details. My stories are about the love and romance two people share, not the sex.

Tara: I commend you for that. Sex is all over the place nowadays. It's nice to meet an author just giving a solid story. Do you think you’ll ever write m/m or m/f?

Erik: I'm open to writing about anything. It doesn't matter which two individuals fall in love... it is the love that matters, and romance is romance. The only reason my first four books are F/F is because they are in the same story arc world. Other romance books in different settings may be a different dynamic.

I am currently finishing the manuscript for the fifth book in the Music of the Soul arc and will be turning to science fiction for a book or two. There are two ideas just screaming at me to write down.

Tara: Your Amazon bio says you have always been drawn to strong female characters in books. That totally rocks. Can you tell me some of your favorite book heroines?

Erik: I could seriously go on forever with this list :) but the top three main ones are as follows...

On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington, #1)

Honor Harrington from the Honorverse books by David Weber (my personal favorite). Not only is she a kick butt admiral in the royal space navy, but she also has a husband AND a wife later on in the series. She is known by the enemy as the Salamander, she always shows up where impossible battles rage the hottest, and somehow always walks away victorious.

Killashandra Ree from the Crystal Singer books by Anne McCaffrey. She gave up her life to mine crystals and be with the man she loved even though she knew that same crystal mining would eventually strip her of her memory and curse her to an extraordinarily long life without those memories.

Killashandra (Crystal Singer, #2)

Magiere from the Nobel Dead books by Barb and J.C. Hendee. Not quite vampire and not quite human, she travels the continent hunting the vampires and other creatures that prey on the weak. She has to fight not just the undead, but her own rising blood-lust.

Tara: An Amazon reviewer recently reviewed book three of your series, The Dating Game. She says, “Enticing book with excellent dating tips ;)”. Okay. Now I must know more. Give us a dating tip, please.

Erik: Since my two previous books were so deeply emotional I attempted to lighten up the mood on this third book, Dating Game, before dipping back into the heavily emotional fourth book. To mixed reviews... apparently you either love the book or hate the book.

The dates are fun though. I would say that nothing beats a picnic if you share it in a location that means something personal in your life. Share that information and your impressions then and now. Nothing is more intimate than letting someone into your life like that. Communication is sexy.
Tara: Tell us about a date of your own. Did it make it in the book? Was it horrible, funny, boring?

Erik: I have lived in the Pacific Northwest most of my life. At one point I had asked a girl in Spokane, WA out for some “adventure”. I had brought her to a bridge where an Anubis hieroglyph graffiti was tagged with a triangle. We drove the direction of the point of the triangle. The next bridge had the same graffiti.

This continued through some scenic views of the city, I made sure to give her time to look at the city and mountains from these unique vantage points before moving on to the next. Soon we wound up at a plaque overlooking a portion of the Spokane River that described a whirlpool that used to exist at that point caused by the meeting of two forks of the river.

There just happened to be a picnic lunch set up there (what a coincidence). I shared with her the first time I had discovered that “secret” Anubis breadcrumb trail years ago and how I had never shared it with anyone. After letting me know I was a goofball, she admitted that she hadn't had that much fun in a long time.


Tara: Thank you for sharing that. Really. That's cool. This is always the tenth question...As a dog mom, I must know. Do you have pets? If so, what are they and their names?

Erik: I happen to share my home with three dogs. Tucker Magoo, who is the coolest, big black Flat Coat Retriever mix... ever... period. Digger Doo, who is a Basset Hound, Labrador Retriever mix (imagine a black lab cut off at the knees). Then there is Baby, a Papillon who thinks she owns the world.


Then there's the seven cats, three finches, two hamsters, three mini-goats and thirteen chickens. Help, I think I live in a zoo!

Tara: I want to thank Erik for taking the time to come on here. Erik, it's been a pleasure. I wish you all the best in your writing career and I hope to maintain our email correspondence. Those of you wanting to connect further with Erik, check out his blog and like him on his FB page

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