Author Interview: Alex A. Akira. Dojo Boys: Dragon and Crow Blog Tour and Giveaway
Today please welcome Alex Akira. As part of the Dragon and Crow blog tour, Alex agreed to let me interview him. He’s definitely not your cookie cutter MM Romance novelist, so take a moment to read the interview and then be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of three (3) $25.00 gift cards and seven (7) copies of the series.
Author Interview: Alex A. Akira, Author of Dojo Boys.
Welcome Alex, please tell everyone a bit about yourself.
Hi Andrew, thank you for this opportunity. Um, I’m not used to talking about myself, but I’ll give it a shot. I’m Native American. I’m an artist, and have drawn and written pretty much all of my life, but never wrote to publish until my Dojo Boys series. I’m an orphan, no living family, but I am lucky to have a tight group of intimate friends who lend me support when I need it. I’m passionate about anything creative and love learning and as a result I am a jack-of-all-trades creative-wise. For most of my life I’ve worked in the creative design industry. Let’s move to the next question because I am starting to bore myself.
You like martial arts. What discipline do you practice and how long have you been doing them?
Shotokan karate is my central martial art, but I’ve been in the game a while, so have picked up some other disciplines as well; some judo and jujitsu. For me the metaphysics behind martial practice, the discipline of strengthening ones emotions and chi though meditation and observation, are the most applicable part of martial study. As a rule, no one gets in a physical fight every day, but you do face conflict and choices daily. The practice of observing and confronting mental and emotional conflict truthfully, coupled with the physical movement of the sport is the discipline needed to win a fight without ever throwing a punch. If a physical fight becomes unavoidable, the fight is very short. That said I have physical practice daily, I am in fact married to my sensei.
Before we discuss Dojo Boys, let’s start with what is yaoi and what drew you to it?
Yaoi is a sexually explicit form of Japanese manga (comic book) or anime, (animated film) which focuses upon beautiful, troubled young men who are attracted to other beautiful men. You’ll notice I’m not using the words “gay” here, and that is because the characters in yaoi are not necessarily gay. In fact the idea of homosexuality was foreign to Japan until its interaction with Western concepts in in the mid 1800’s. The principal figure in yaoi is the bishōunen (beautiful boy), who has long represented the epitome of male beauty in Japanese culture.
Yaoi stories generally feature a “seme”, a pursuer or top and a “uke”, a shy or reluctant bottom who is the object of the chase. The narratives of yaoi stories can vary from contemporary to the fantastic, including the paranormal. Its characters can be schoolboys, salarymen, crimefighters, actors, dancers, spies, demon hunters, well pretty much anyone. While yaoi may appear to be simply raunchy stories with erotic images, the history behind its central figure, the bishōunen and the practice of romanticized male/male sex has a long history in Japan. I’ve written a series of posts on the subject for the Dragon & Crow blog hop and invite anyone whose interest is sparked by this topic to follow those posts.
I became interested in the yaoi genre when I stumbled across the anime “My Sexual Harassment” which relays the sexual relationship between a male boss and his young male employee. I loved with this stylish anime and afterwards discovered yaoi manga, then slash and yaoi fan fiction. From there it was a short jump from reading yaoi to writing it.
Talk about Dojo Boys. How many books are in the series and are there more planned?
Dojo Boys is a yaoi romance action-adventure series. The books relay the story of a vigilante-founded espionage agency and the love lives of its agents. In writing the series I strived to capture the simple/complex nuances that appear in Japanese yaoi, but also maintain the parameters of the American male/male romance fiction genre.
Currently there are five books, 3 of which are published and 2 volumes, which will be released in September. I’m also working on an anthology of short Dojo Boys stories, which I’ve temporarily named Dojo Boys: The Lost Chapters. That book will includes stories inspired by my fans questions. In fact the 2 volumes to be released in September were written in response to readers wanting to know more about one of the supporting characters in Dragon and Crow. After the anthology there will be another full 2-volume story that will escalate the action seen in the previous books; a “big mission” which will involve all the players from the previous books.
I understand Dragon and the Crow is newly revised and re-released as a 2-volume box set with your illustrations included. Tell us about the story and your main characters Michael Black and Kiyoshi Kimura.
Yes, the initial 2–volumes in the series, Dragon and Crow and its prequel, The First Misunderstanding, have both been rewritten from my original manuscript of several years ago. I’ve grown as a writer and wanted the books to reflect that growth, but also there are entire new parts included in the current books.
Ah, Michael and Kiyoshi are the main love interests in Dragon and Crow. It’s two Volumes relay Michael Black’s story; how in doing a favor for his sensei his life gets turned on its end. He’s just turned twenty-three and falls in love with a mysterious stranger, Kiyoshi Kimura, who he met because they had a fight in Michael’s dojo one night. Kiyoshi is a beautiful, gifted, nineteen-year-old of Japanese and Korean descent, but it soon becomes apparent that he’s got some major mental and emotional baggage. In trying to help both his sensei and Kiyoshi, Michael ends up involved in a war between the Japanese Yakuza, the Kimura family and a vigilante organization known as the Tanaka Group.
There is also a second couple in this story, Michael’s sensei, Ichiro Kimura and his ex lover, Detective Masato Takahashi struggle to overcome their past as they work together with Michael to bring down the Yakuza crime lord who is semi-responsible for Kiyoshi’s problems. The ten-chapter prequel, The First Misunderstanding, reveals how Sensei Kimura and Detective Takahashi first met while attending high school, in Japan.
What inspired you to write this book?
At its core, Dragon and Crow is a “jock falls in love” story. Kyudo (archery), judo and karate are Japan’s traditional sports not, say … golf and baseball which were imported to Japan’s culture. In yaoi schoolboy tales you find the underclassmen eyeing the practitioners of Kyudo (archery) and judo much like the American high school nerd gazes at the quarterback of the school’s football team. I wanted to explore this type of relationship… what is the life of a student of martial arts like. How do they approach love and the lovestruck?
I was also I was inspired by yaoi manga like Asami Tohjoh’s ‘Only You’, where a high school judo captain must recruit new members or his judo club will be shut down. He tries to recruit another top judo player and sex becomes the only bribe that entices the other player to join the club. Plus, I’m a martial artist with a dojo of karate players, we share stories and so the imagination runs and I write.
Tell us something not in the blurb.
The story is situated in America, Connecticut actually, but the action, especially in Volume two, covers a lot of locations, the dojo, theaters, nightclubs, casinos, New York, Japan and Argentina and more.
Since there is always another story to tell, what are you working on now?
Besides the Dojo Boys series, I’m writing a yaoi android book, Doll Drone, a drug dealer-college student action-romance called Sweet and I’ve got a department store-company VP romance on my back burner. Oh I almost forgot Smithy, my webepisode series about a yahoo from the Midwest who gets scouted by a modeling agency. He discovers his mother, who raised him, is in a witness protection program. Smithy’s modeling job unintentially exposes his mother and soon he is using his international modeling gigs to track down her killers. This series of short stories will be appearing monthly on my website starting in September.
What do you like to read?
I’ll try pretty much anything that is fiction; I like to go where an author takes me. But I love the mythical heroic fantasy of David Gemmell and vigilante/assassin crime thrillers like Andrew Vachss’ Burke series and even Barry Eisler’s “Rain” series.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
The initial pouring out of the story and the deep editing of word choice … you know, finding the exact word to capture what you are trying to convey.
What’s your least favorite?
Outlining, because it is still difficult for me to place the story in this form and resist writing the scene… I try to write a sentence and my fingers just keep tapping the keyboard…
What have you read lately that most people haven’t read but should?
I just reread Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings for like the tenth time, and recommend it highly, even if a reader isn’t into martial arts.
If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
David Gemmell or Andrew Vachss, they are wonderful at capturing atmosphere and character. I love their style and would love to meet them. Sadly David has passed.
Besides reading and writing, what else do you enjoy?
Drawing and painting, running, martial arts, rock climbing and sex… once in a while I cook.
Last question is all yours – feel free to talk about anything you want your readers to know about you, your book, anything at all.
I hope you read and enjoy my books and thank you for reading this interview.
Thanks for hosting me Andrew it’s been a pleasure.
Title: Dragon and Crow – Deluxe 2 Volume Set
Series: Dojo Boys
Author: Alex A Akira
Publisher: Triple A Press
Cover Artist: Alex A Akira
Length: Volume 1 – 275 Pages; Volume 2 – 390 Pages
Release Date: 25th May, 2015
Blurb: Twenty-three-year-old, Native American, Michael Black’s well-ordered life is disrupted one evening when he is ambushed at the dojo he frequents by a mysterious Japanese youth who goes by the name of Kiyoshi.
Soon circumstances have the gorgeous teen staying with Michael at his apartment. The gifted nineteen-year-old is an intriguing mix of angst, innocence and crafty intelligence, but Michael is honor bound by a promise to his sensei to keep his distance. Michael tries to keep his desire in check, but what can he do if the exquisite teen keeps kissing him?
Volume two finds Michael in deep water when, in trying to help Kiyoshi, he is persuaded by his sensei to participate in a joint government undercover operation to bring down a Yakuza lord.
Before long Michael is immersed in beautiful men, martial arts and espionage all to gain the trust and love of Kiyoshi. Secrets, lies, sex and action combine in this racy, romantic, adventure of two men, Michael Black and his sensei, Ichiro Kimura, navigating a dangerous path for true love.
Michael groped for the light switch, a smile of triumph playing at his lips. Damn, I did it! I beat him! Flicking the switch, he turned, eager to view his skilled opponent and to bask in the accolades that he was sure to receive from Sensei Kimura.
His triumph descended to dismay in a flash. Who the hell is this?
A slight figure lay crumpled at the center of the practice room. Cautiously approaching the limp form, Michael’s heart sank even further. Lying unconscious on the gleaming bamboo floor was a Japanese boy. He looked to be about five-foot-seven, was very pale, and quite young.
“A kid? I beat up a kid?” Quickening his pace, Michael knelt beside the slim figure. Jesus, he’s like fourteen, fifteen? Beautiful. He looks like Ichiro. Better, actually, Michael admitted, surprised at his internal betrayal of his long-held crush on his sensei. He continued to stare down at the slight, fragile boy, eyeing the long blue-black hair that trailed sensuously around the figure’s unfamiliar gray karategi.
Who the hell is he? Why would they have me beat up a kid for my test? Puzzled, he glanced around the room, noting that he and the boy were alone. Ignoring his impending alarm, he gazed back to the unconscious figure.
The youth’s face was truly beautiful. Michael’s inner artist drank in the smooth, pearly skin, the long, sooty lashes, and the pale apricot color blushed across the boy’s delicate cheekbones. God… An aching hunger preceded the lurch of Michael’s cock, which nudged his lower abdomen telegraphing its interest. Get it together. He’s like … twelve! Suddenly realizing that the boy showed no sign of regaining consciousness, Michael snapped from his trance and shook his opponent’s shoulder.
“Hey!” He leaned over the placid body, hand stretching toward the longish neck for a pulse. The telltale thump throbbed beneath his fingers, but his proximity to the boy’s face had him pausing to stare at the youth’s sculpted lips. Christ, get away from him before you do something you’ll regret. Frowning, he started to shift upright when a relentless grip clutched his hair.
Caught off guard, Michael fumbled helplessly as his head was tugged abruptly toward the face beneath him. The beautiful mouth claimed his lips, stealing his breath and muffling his gasp as a hot tongue invaded his mouth. The agile member eagerly caressed its counterpart, igniting Michael’s senses. The tantalizing scent of ripe apricots surrounded him, dizzying him with sensual promises, and urging him to surrender.
Alex A. Akira is the author of the yaoi romance series Dojo Boys, racy tales of young, male martial artists navigating some unorthodox and adventurous paths to find love. The prequel of the e-book series, The First Misunderstanding and the first two-volume box set of Dragon and Crow are available at Amazon:
Find Alex A. Akira here:
FACEBOOK: DOJO BOYS: DRAGON & CROW
TWITTER: ALEX A. AKIRA TWITTER
G+: ALEX A. AKIRA G+
Click the Rafflecopter Link below for a chance to win one of three $25 Amazon Gift Card and seven e-copies of the prequel to this series – DOJO BOYS: The First Misunderstanding.
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