An Interview with Jeff Erno—Speedy Rewards Blog Tour and Giveaway
Today I get to interview someone whose work I’ve admired for some time, but never met. Jeff Erno has a new release with Wayward Ink Publishing—Speedy Rewards—and he’s agreed to stop by and talk about himself and his work. And at the end, he’s giving away stuff so read on to find out more.
Welcome Jeff, let’s start with you telling readers a little about yourself.
First of all, thank you for hosting me on your blog and for participating in the Speedy Rewards Blog Tour and Giveaway Contest. I really appreciate your hospitality and the promotional opportunity you’ve provided.
I’m a forty-eight year old (openly) gay man who lives in southern Michigan. I’ve lived in the state my entire life though I was raised in the northern, rural part of Michigan. I grew up during a time when it wasn’t as easy to come out, and the small town in which I lived wasn’t exactly welcoming. A lot has changed in the past thirty years, so much so that we now actually have a genre of literature about gay men that’s read and written primarily by heterosexual women.
I view that as a positive thing, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the m/m community. It’s afforded me a platform through which I can share my gay-themed fictional stories.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What was the first story you wrote?
In my mid-twenties I knew I wanted to write a novel. I first started writing erotic fictional stories in the late 90s and sharing them on an amateur website. I received a lot of feedback from readers which encouraged me to continue writing. The first book I completed was Dumb Jock. I printed it out on copy paper and shared it with friends and coworkers. Almost a decade later, I published it as a print edition novel. Later I sold the story to Dreamspinner Press and it became a series.
Describe how it felt when you saw your first book published?
I won’t lie. I was emotional. My partner of five years was with me at the time, and he hugged me as I cried.
Let’s talk Speedy Rewards. Tell us a bit about the book.
Speedy Rewards is book one of a new series I’ve named The Working Class. For most of my adult life I’ve worked in retail, and I don’t know of a lot of fictional stories that feature main characters who are ordinary, working people. I wanted to write about people who probably will never be rich or famous, who might never get a college degree, who sometimes live paycheck to paycheck.
Tell us about your main characters.
Speedy Rewards has a vast and eclectic cast of characters. Several interconnected story lines weave together, and each one of these narratives is in some way connected to the local Speedy Mart convenience store and its employees. The manager, Phil, is a thirty-something openly gay man who falls in love with one of his customers, Humberto. Ezra is a third-shift employee who comes across as a bit of a rebel. One of the prominent characters in the story, Brandon, works as a police officer who visits the store frequently during his night shift beat.
Tell us something not in the blurb.
The blurb doesn’t say much about secondary characters, but there are some flavorful personalities featured, like Wayne, the flamboyant service representative who’s a tad slutty and Doreen, a long-time cashier who sneaks one or three snifters of vodka into her cold beverage refill mug every morning and who maintains a basement dungeon where she practices BDSM as a dominatrix.
Speedy Rewards is Book One in the Working Class series. What’s Book 2, when is it coming out? And how many books do you envision in the series?
I haven’t begun writing book two, but it will be set in a supermarket. Book three will be centered around a fast food joint. I don’t have plans beyond that at this point.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
Complete surrender to the characters. When I feel inspired and really get into a story, it seems almost like words flow and the characters take over.
What’s your least favorite?
When I have deadlines and I’m not feeling that inspiration. It’s an impossible situation.
Since there is always another story to tell, what are you working on now?
I’ve nearly completed an interracial love story, and I’m in the middle of an erotic anthology called Bad Boys.
What have you read lately that most people haven’t read but should?
Just finished reading your book, A Closed door. Enjoyed it very much.
If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
J.K. Rowling or Anne Rice. Two of my heroes.
Besides reading and writing, what else do you enjoy?
Cake decorating was a long time hobby of mine. Love movies, bicycling, and watching hot guys dance (especially if they take off their clothes).
Thanks so much, Jeff for stopping by!
Phil Mitchell pours his heart and soul into his job as manager of Speedy Mart, a local convenience store. He loves his work and he loves his fellow employees, but when it comes to his personal life, Phil is lonely and depressed and still pining for his long-departed ex.
He embarks upon the week from hell where anything that can go wrong does. It begins with a truck crashing into his outdoor sign and only goes downhill from there.
Add an asshole homophobic boss hell bent on seeing him fired and Phil realizes he needs to put into place a plan to save himself and his job.
First step in his plan… do something about his love life.
Meanwhile, Ezra, one of Phil’s team members, is dealing with his own roller coaster ride of a week.
As is Brandon, the local cop…
And Mark, the homophobic boss…
Perhaps, with a little… luck, the next week will be better.
Don’t miss the 1 Year Anniversary 40% off Sale on Wayward Ink’s Publishing’s site!
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XV8O7G6/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00XV8O7G6/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00XV8O7G6/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00XV8O7G6/
Prizes: $20 WIP Gift Card, $10 WIP Gift Card, ebook copy of Speedy Rewards
About the author
JEFF ERNO began writing LGBT fiction in the late 1990s. Although an avid reader and amateur writer from a very young age, Jeff pursued a career as a retail store manager in Northern Michigan. When his first gay-themed novel was published, he was shocked that anyone would even want to read it. So far, he’s published over thirty novels. Jeff lives in Southern Michigan, where he works part time at a convenience store.
Jeff’s writing credits include a variety of themes and sub-genres including male romance, Young Adult, Science Fiction, erotica, and BDSM. He is the winner of a 2012 Rainbow Award and an Honorable Mention in 2011. His style is unpretentious and focused upon emotionally-driven, character-based stories that touch the heart. Jeff is especially passionate about young adult literature and combating teen bullying and youth suicide.